3 Quote“Observation more than books, experience more than persons, are the prime educators.”– Amos Bronson AlcottWhat meaning does this quote have for you as you begin your study of the importance of observation in early childhood education?
4 AssessmentThe process of observing, recording, and documenting children’s growth and behavior.Comes from the Latin word meaning to sit beside and get to know.To be an authentic assessment, observations must be done over time in play-based situations.Most accurateAssessment is not evaluating. Evaluation is the process of reviewing the information and finding value in it.
5 Why Assess? Inform teachers about children’s developmental needs Used in planning developmentally appropriate curriculumProvides information on each child’s unique needs, strengths and interestsChart progress over timeIdentify classroom and individual problems
6 When to Assess Initial assessment – when the school year starts Ongoing assessments – individual children and group
7 Formal vs. Informal Observation Formal include standardized tests and research instrumentsDevelopmental milestones – characteristics and behaviors considered normal for children in specific age groupsAlso called emerging competenciesInformal observations most often used by preschool teachers.Samples of work, interviewing parents, talking with childrne
8 Choosing a Method What type of behavior do you want to assess? Are you needing to assess an individual or group?How much focused attention will the observer need?
9 Assessment Tools Anecdotal records Checklists Participation chart Rating scalesSample work
10 Anecdotal Records A brief narrative account of a specific incident Simplest form of direct observationOften used to develop an understanding of a child’s behaviorMust be objective!Describe only observable actions
11 Anecdotal Records Once you observe, then you can interpret (the whys) AdvantagesEasiest method of observationRunning record over timeDisadvantagesA complete picture may not be providedMay miss important information
12 Checklists Designed to record the presence or absence of behaviors AdvantagesNo time constraintsQuickly recordedEasy to useDisadvantagesLack of detailed informationOnly particular behaviors are noted
13 Participation ChartCan be developed to gain information on specific aspects of children’s behavior
14 Rating Scales Planned to record something specific Make a judgment Never, Sometimes, Usually, Always
15 Work Samples Artwork Stories Photographs Stored in a portfolio Tracks progress over time
16 Visual DocumentationCollecting or photographing samples of a child’s work that portrays learning and developmentProvides a record that can be studied
17 PortfoliosA collection of materials that show a person’s abilities, accomplishments and progress over timeInclude more than observationsArt projects, audiotapes of conversations, child- dictated stories
18 ConfidentialityDo not discuss a child in a setting outside the classroomAvoid using the child’s name (give a letter or #)Leave personal items out of observation area (kids are curious!)Engage in as little interaction as possible with staff, other observers and especially the children