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Effective practice: Observation, Assessment and Planning

Key messages
Observation,assessmentandplanningallsupportchildrensdevelopmentandlearning.Planning startswithobservingchildreninordertounderstandandconsidertheircurrentinterests,development andlearning. Observation Observationdescribestheprocessofwatchingthechildreninourcare,listeningtothemandtaking noteofwhatweseeandhear. Assessment Weassesschildrensprogressbyanalysingourobservationsanddecidingwhattheytellus.Wealso needtofindoutaboutchildrenscareandlearningneedsfromtheirparentsandfromthesewecan identifythechildrensrequirements,interests,currentdevelopmentandlearning. Planning Weplanforthenextstepsinchildrensdevelopmentandlearning.Muchofthisneedstobedone onthebasisofwhatwehavefoundoutfromourownobservationsandassessmentsaswellas informationfromparents.

Observation

Observationistheformaltermforoneofthemostimportantaspectsofday-to-dayprofessional practicewhenworkingwithchildrenofallages. Itishowwefindoutthespecificneedsofindividualchildrenbycarefullylooking,listeningand notingtheactivitiesofachildorgroupofchildren. Observationallowsustoseeachildasanindividual;thisisimportantforeverychildinwhatever settingbutevenmoreimportantinlargegroupsettings. Observationshouldbebothformal(planned)butmuchofitwillbeinformal(spontaneous)carried outasyouworkwiththechildren. Withoutobservation,overallplanningwouldsimplybebasedonwhatwefeltwasimportant,funor interesting(orallthree)butitmightnotnecessarilymeettheneedsofthechildreninourcare. Carryingoutregularobservationsisvitalbecauseitensuresthatweputthechildatthecentreof ourpractice. Wecandiscoverwhatnewskillsandabilitiesemergeovertimethroughobservation.Forexample, whenababyisabletositupsteadily,orayoungchildcanpourtheirowndrink,thinkabout somebodyelsesfeelings,assignmeaningstothemarkstheyhavemadeonpaper,orridea bicyclewithoutstabilisers. Observationenablesustoidentifyeachchildslikesanddislikesandtheirresponsestodifferent situationssuchascareroutinesornewpeople.

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The Early Years Foundation Stage Effectivepractice:Observation,AssessmentandPlanning

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Wecanfindoutwhichexperiences,routinesoractivitiesachildseemstoenjoyortofinddifficult andanythatseemtomakethemanxious. Observationhelpsusassesschildrensprogress;wecanfindoutaboutthespecificcareand learningneedsofeachchild. Wecanthenplannextstepsinchildrensdevelopmentandlearning.

Observation skills Tofindoutaboutachildweneedtoobservetheminawaythatisvaluabletothechildandmakesbest useofourtime.Thisinvolvesanumberofskills:

Lookingweneedtounderstandwhatwearelookingfor.Thecard(s)andinformationonthisCDROMaboutchilddevelopmentwillhelpwiththis.Italsohelpsifyouhavesomeunderstandingof thechildscurrentdevelopmentandtheparticularwaythechildislearning,forexample,gathered throughinformationfromparents. Listeningwemustpayattentiontotheinteractionsoftheindividualchildwithdifferentadultsand betweendifferentchildren. Recordingwecannoteimportantfeaturesofthechildsresponses,behaviour,learningand developmentaccuratelyandassoonaspossibleafterobservingthem. Thinkingwethenthinkaboutwhatwehaveseenandthisleadsintoassessingandplanning.You canalsotalkwiththechildsparentsandotherpractitionerstohelpyouclarifyyourthoughts. Questioningwemaysometimesneedtoaskquestionsinordertoclarify,confirmorrejectideas aboutwhatwehaveobserved.Whereachildisabletorespond,ourquestionsmaybedirectedto them.Sometimesourquestionsmaybedirectedtotheirparents.

Being objective Looking,listening,recordingandthinkingallrequiretheneedforobjectivity:notallowing preconceptionstoinfluencewhatyouhaveobserved.Forexample,youmayhaveconcernsthatachild doesnotcommunicateveryoften,butkeepinganopenmindaboutthiswillmeanyouaremorelikelyto gatherbetterevidencetoeithersupportorclearupyourconcerns.Youmayfindthatalthoughthechild isoftenveryquiet,sheisusingbodylanguagethatisbeingignored,thatshecommunicateswellwith peersbutnotwithadultsorthatcertainactivitiesorinteractionsseemtomakecommunicationeasier orharderforher.Yourobservationswillalsohelpyourecognisethechildsneedsmoreaccurately andtoidentifyifthereisanycauseforconcern.Eachchildsemotionalwell-beinghasaverystrong influenceonthewaythechilddevelops,includingtheirabilitytolearn,tocommunicate,theirbehaviour, theircuriosityandtheirabilitytocopewithnewexperiences. Types of observation Thereareseveraltypesofobservationandthemethodyouchoosewilldependonwhatelseyouare doingwhileobserving.Mostoftheobservationscarriedoutinearlychildhoodsettingsareobservations wecallparticipantobservationscarriedoutwhileyouareplayingandworkingwiththechildren. Otherswillbeincidentalandspontaneousthingsyounoticedhappeningwhichyoufeltwere significantandshouldbenoteddownandsomeofthemwillbeplanned,whereyoustandback towatchthechild.Theseplannedobservationsusuallylastforanythingfrombetweenthreeandten minutes.Veryoccasionallytheymaybelongerifresourcesallow.Aimtowritebriefnotesatthetime. Sometimesitisnecessaryorhelpfultofollowyourbriefnoteswithafullerdescriptionafterwardsso thatasmuchaspossibleiswrittendown,andaslittleaspossibleismissed.

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Recording observations Manypractitionersusestickynotestojotdownbriefobservationsandthisisapracticalwayof recordinginformation.Youwillneedtowriteenoughinformationsothatanyoneelsereadingitcan understand. Photographs,tapeandvideorecordingcanalsobehelpfulandareanaccessiblewayofsharing observationswithchildrenandtheirparents. Youmayberequiredtouseastandardforminyoursetting,whichidentifiestheEarlyYearsFoundation Stage(EYFS)PrinciplesandparticularcommitmentssuchasChildDevelopmentorseveraloftheareas ofLearningandDevelopment.Theseformscanorganiseyourthoughtsandhelpyoudecidehow besttoidentifyareasinwhichthechildsdevelopmentisasexpected,aswellasthosewherefurther encouragementormoresupportmayberequired. Participant observations or planned observations Participantobservationsareobservationsyounotedownwhileyouarefullyinvolvedwiththechildren, notingdownsignificantthingsyousee.Althoughthismightbemostofwhatyouobserve,itisimportant thatsomeobservationsareplanned,sothattimeissetasideforyoutowatchthechildrenatplay.You willneedtofocusonwhatonechildisdoing,includinginthistheinteractionsshe(he)haswithothers around.Thistypeofobservationoftenallowsyoutogatheradifferenttypeofinformationabouthow thechildisrespondingtoyoursettingthanwhenyouarecarryingoutaparticipantobservation,asyou willseewhatthechildchoosestodoindependently. Thekeyissueisthatyoushouldobservechildrenonaregularbasis,atdifferenttimesoftheday, andallstaffshouldbeinvolved.Decisionsaboutachildsneedsshouldnotbebasedonjustone observation.Thismeansensuringthateachchildisobservedsystematically,overtime,bystaffand thatregulardiscussionstakeplacetoconsiderwhathasbeenlearnedtohelpyouplanforthechilds developmentandlearning.Anyconcernsshouldalwaysbediscussedwithparentsandcolleaguesto identifywhetherinterventionmayberequired. Withbabiesitmightbedifficultsometimesforthekeyworkertobetheobserverinaplanned observation,whencloseandindividualattentionisrequired,whenchildrenrequireahighdegree ofinvolvementorifyouareachildminder,andsopractitionersusuallyobservethechildtheyare withasaparticipantintheactivity.Ofcoursethismeansyoucanteasilyassessthequalityofyour owninteractionswiththechildandthereforeobservationscarriedoutbyanotherpersondoremain importantfromtimetotime. Occasionallyaprofessionalwhoiscollatingparticularinformation,suchasaspeechtherapist,maybe invitedintoobserveachild.Inthiscasetheymaysystematicallyobservewhichsoundsachildmakes. Other types of evidence of childrens learning and development Wemayalsotakephotographsorvideoachildwhentheyareinvolvedinsplashinginpuddles,orwhen theyaremakingmarksonpaperwhichtheytellusistheirwriting.Sometimeswewillretainevidenceof achildslearningbymakingarecordingoftheirmusic,theirstoryortheirsongs.Onotheroccasions wemayretainphysicalevidencesuchasphotographsofamodeloraweavingtheyhavemade,or piecesoftheirwork,suchasapicture. Considerthedifferenttypesofevidenceyouwillusetohelpyoumakeassessmentsandlearnabout thechildren.Aswellasyourobservations,youmaybeusingphotographsortaperecordings,for example,ofchildrentellingastory.Whenyouhaveidentifiedyourevidenceyoumaywishtoaddittoa recordofthechildsachievements,whichwillhelpyouensureyoukeepuptodateinformationabout eachchildwhichwillprovideawonderfulresourceforparents.

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Involving children Fromtheearliestage,thechildrenshouldbeinvolvedandthisispartoftheassessmentforlearning process(seebelow).TheUnitedNationsConventionontheRightsoftheChildArticle12statesthe rightofthechildtoexpressanopinionandtohavethatopiniontakenintoaccount,inanymatteror procedureaffectingthechild.Sharingthechildsrecordtogetherprovidesanidealopportunityfor celebratingachievementsanddiscussingfutureplans.Evenwithbabiesitisavaluablechanceto delighttogetherintheirachievements. Involving parents Parentsknowtheirchildrenintimately.Forpractitioners,therefore,buildingaclose,trustingand reciprocalrelationshipwithparentsneedstobeginbeforeachildstartsinasetting.Parentsneedto beinvolvedaspartoftheongoingassessmentprocess,sharingtheirviewsandobservationsabout thechildsdevelopmentwithpractitionersandbeinginvolvedinplanningwhatopportunitiesand experiencestoofferthechildnext. Whereappropriate,bilingualsupportservicesshouldbeemployedtoensureeffectivetwo-way communicationbetweenparentsandthesettingaswellastosupportchildrenslearning.

Assessment
Assessment for learning Assessmentistheprocessofanalysingandreviewingwhatweknowaboutchildrensdevelopment andlearningforexample,whatweobserved. Weneedtoaskourselves:whatdoesourobservationandanyotherevidenceoflearningwehave collected(suchasexamplesofthechildsmark-making,informationfromparents,aphotographwe tookorvideorecordingswehavemade)tellusaboutthechildslearninganddevelopment?Whatwas newsomethingwehadnotobservedbefore? Whenwedothisregularlywehaveevidenceofchildrensprogressovertimeandwegaininsightsinto childrenslearning,developmentandtheirneeds. Effectiveassessmentinvolvesevaluationordecisionsaboutthechildsprogressandtheirlearning anddevelopmentneedsandgivesustheinformationweneedtoplanforthenextsteps.Thisiscalled assessmentforlearning:itistheformativeassessment,basedonobservations,whichinformsor guideseverydayplanning. Otherformsofassessmentare:

Summativeassessmentisasummaryofalltheformativeassessmentcarriedoutoveralong periodandmakesstatementsaboutthechildsprogress.TheEYFSProfileisthesummative assessmentcompletedbypractitionersattheendoftheEYFS.Itsummariseschildrensprogress towardstheearlylearninggoals.Itcanalsobeformativeinthatitinformsorguidesthelong-and medium-termplanningcarriedoutbyYear1teacherstosupportandextendchildrenslearningas theymoveintoKeyStage1. TheCommonAssessmentFramework(CAF)enableseffectivecommunicationbetweenthevarious agenciesinvolvedwithachildaboutwhomthereareconcerns.(SeePiPcard3.1.)

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Observation, Assessment and Planning cycle: assessment for learning in action

Effectivepractitionerspulltogethertheinformationtheygatherintheirobservationstoidentify aspectsofthechildslearninganddevelopment. Thispullingtogetherofinformationandthinkingaboutwhatittellsusformsthebasisofwhatis termedassessment. Whenweassesswearemakingajudgementordecisionaboutthechildsprogressandneedsin oneorseveralareasofLearningandDevelopment. Weusethisjudgementtoplanwhatwewillprovideforthechildinthefuture.

Itisimportanttomakethoroughobservations,takingtimetothinkaboutwhatyouhaveseenand heard,becausethedecisionsthatyouthenmakeaffecttheplanningtomeetindividualand/orgroup needsandhaveaveryrealimpactonthewell-beingofthechild.Observationsareperhapsthemost powerfulofallthemethodswehaveavailablewhenworkingwithchildren.Thediagrambelowshows howObservation,AssessmentandPlanningallfeedintooneanotherandcontributetoourknowledge aboutthechild.

Planning
What next? Experiences and opportunities, learning environment, resources, routines, practitioners role.

Start Here Observation The child


Look, listen and note. Describing

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Assessment
Analysing observations and deciding what they tell us about children.

KEEP: understanding the individual and diverse ways children develop and learn.

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The Early Years Foundation Stage Effectivepractice:Observation,AssessmentandPlanning

Inthisway,theobservationsyoumake,alongwithinformationfromparentsandotherevidenceyou maycollectthroughphotographsandrecordings,feedintotheday-to-dayprovision,experiences andinteractionsyouplanforthechildren.Therearealsootherimportantaspectstoplanning, describedbelow.

Planning
Therearethreetypesofplanning:

long-termplanning; medium-termplanning; short-termplanning.

Long-term planning ThisconcernstheoverallguidanceforthechildrencontainedintheEYFSFrameworkDocument. Long-termplanningprovidesastructurewhichhelpsyou:

EnsurethatyoucoveralltheareasofLearningandDevelopmentandthePrinciplesintheEYFS Framework. IdentifythelinksbetweenthedifferentareasofLearningandDevelopmentandthePrinciples. Thinkabouthowyoubalanceactivitiesbothindoorsandoutdoorswithquiettimesandquiet spacesthroughouttheday. Identifythekeyareasforsupportingbabiesandyoungchildren. Forolderchildren,thinkaboutthebalanceofopportunitiesforsupportingchildrentobenefitfroma widerangeoffreely-chosenplayopportunitiesandwell-plannedinterestingadult-ledactivities.

Long-termplanninginformsorhelpsyoufocusonyourmedium-termplanning. Medium-term planning Thisusuallyoutlinesinsomedetailtheoverallprogrammeforanythingfromtwotosixweeksatatime. Medium-termplanninggenerallyoutlines:

Typesofexperiencesandactivitiesappropriatetoyourgroupofchildrensupportingthedifferent EYFSPrinciples. Overalldailyroutineswhichwillinclude:babiesfeedingtimes,snackormealtimesforchildren, timeforunhurriedarrival,settlinginandleaving,provisionforoutdooractivitiesaswellas indoor,quiettimeortimesforrestorsleep,timeforstoriesandforindividualorverysmallgroup interactionwithstaff. Mainresourcessuchas:planningforroomareastoincludecomfortorquietareas,homecorners, messyplay,clearaccesstoequipmentforolderchildrentouseindependently(forexample,books atchildheight).Considerifthereisroomforbabiestomovearoundsafelyifthereislimitedphysical space,forexample,ifthesettingisinachurchhall. Planningforobservationandassessmenttofurtherevaluateindividualneedswithingroupsettings.

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Medium-termplanninginformsorhelpsyoufocusonshort-termplanning.Aboveallyouaremeeting theneedsofthechildreninyourgroupatthispointintime. Short-term planning Thisinvolvessettingoutwhatistobeincludedonaday-to-daybasis(dependingontheneedsofthe children)withinthebroadframeworkoutlinedabove,basedonyourobservationsfromtheprevious day.Thisenablesmuchmorefocusonwhatspecificneedsthechildrenhave,andhowthesewillbe met.Suchplanswillinclude:

Resourcesforexample,someofthechildrenmaywanttosetupasupermarketintherole-play areaandyouwillneedtoindicatethematerialsandequipmentthatwillbeneededforthechildren andyourself.Whatspaceorroomarrangementwillberequired,andwhathealthandsafety considerationswillbeappropriate?Howwillthisfitinwiththeneedsofyoungerchildrenwhomay notbedirectlyinvolved? PuttingthePrinciplesintopracticeyoumaydecidethatyouwouldliketointroducesomedifferent typesofmusicandsinging.Thiscanincludesingingtobabies,supportingtheminmovingtomusic orshakingrattlesalongsidetheotherchildren.YouwouldbefocusingonthePrincipleofLearning andDevelopmentandassesshowthiswouldmeetmanyofthesectionswithinthePrinciple,but alsohowthefunandenjoymentarisingwouldalsosupportAUniqueChildandengenderpositive interactions.Cookingactivitiesarisingoutofsomeonesbirthday,afestivalorothercelebrationis anothertypeofactivitywhichcouldbeincludedintheshort-termplanning,fittinginwithaparticular focusidentifiedbybothobservationsandknowledgeandunderstandingofthesocialandcultural environmentofthesetting.

Thefollowingtwocasestudiesillustratehowachildsdevelopmentandlearningcanbeobservedand howtheyhelptoguideplanningforfutureexperiences.

Observation, Planning and Assessment in action


Case study 1: Harry Atreasurebasketfilledwitharangeofnaturalmaterialsincludinglargepinecones,largeshells,soft brusheswithroundhandlesandothernaturalobjectshasbeenintroducedtoeleven-month-oldHarry whoisexploringitscontents. What to observe: HowHarrysitsandhowhereachesfortheobjects. Whathisfavouritethingsare. Howlonghespendsexploring. HowHarrypreferstoexplorewhetherheputsthingsinhismouth,orsimplyfeelsthem,orlooksat them. Whetherheusebothhands. Whetherhepickthingsupaseasilywithonehandastheother.WhetherHarryholdstheitemsout,as iftoshowthem. What,ifanysoundshemakesdoeshelaugh,coo,babble? What to note:

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KeythingsaboutHarrysinterests,hisphysicalskills,hisinvolvementforexample,howlonghespent happilyexploringthetreasuresinhisbasket.Thesecouldberecordedinanotebookandanything importantnotedtotellhisparents. What could be done differently or better to encourage Harry to explore: WerealltheitemsinHarrysbasketsuitableforhimtohold,suck,droporbang? WouldHarryhaveretainedhisinterestforlongerifhiskeypersonhadstayedcloseby? WasHarrydistractedbynoisesorbysomeoneelsetalkingtohim,ortryingtoengagehisattention? Evaluation: PractitionersreviewwhattheyhavelearnedaboutHarrysinterests,hisdevelopment,includinghis physicalskills,andhowheislearningfromexploringthetreasuresinhisbasket.Theycouldconsider whethertheirowninteractionwasappropriateforthisactivityitisusualtowatchandobservebabies silentlywhentheyareexploringtreasurebaskets.Theymayalsoconsiderwhether,bytheendofthe sessionalltheresourcesarestillsafeandwhethertheyareappropriateorneedsometobeaddedor takenaway.TheycanthendecidetheirnextcourseofactioninplanningforHarryandtheotherbabies inthegroup. What the practitioner might do next: IftheylearnedthatHarryseemedtoliketheshinyobjectsbesttheycouldplantoprovidemoreshiny materialsandobjectsforHarrytoseeorplaywithindifferentareas,perhapsprovidingasimplestring ofshinyobjectsforhimtowatchwhenheisoutside,oralternativelygivingHarrystrongshinypaperto explorewhenheisonthefloor.

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ThistableshowshowthePrinciplesofEYFSsupportHarrysdevelopmentandlearning. A Unique Child Harryisabletomake choicesandiskept safeandprotected byasensitive, knowledgeableadult. Positive Relationships Heisabletobe independentwiththe adultssupport. Enabling Environments Observinghelpsthe adultfindoutifHarry isbenefitingfromthe careandlearning opportunitiesonoffer andwhetherwhat isbeingprovidedis appropriate. Learning and Development Harryisfindingout thepropertiesof objectssuchaswhat theyfeellike,their weight,whatthey cando,whathecan dowiththemand howtheybehave whenhehandles them. Thisactivityallows theadulttogive uninterruptedtime toHarry,supporting hisPersonal,Social andEmotional Development(PSED). Theymaynotice howHarryshows hisfeelingssuchas pleasure,interest, excitementor frustrationPersonal, SocialandEmotional Development(PSED). Suchactivitiesalso encouragehand eyecoordination Physical Development(PD). Heshowshisability tocommunicateby sharinghisinterestin objectswiththeadult throughshowingand pointing. Harryisableto exploreandbe interestedinthe itemsinhisbasket becauseheisin thecareofaknown adult. Theenvironmentis setupinsuchaway thateventhough Harryissoyoung heisabletomake choicesaboutwhat hewantstodo. Althoughheisina quietplaceforthis activityhecould, ifhewished,find somethingelsetodo. IfHarrylosesinterest inhisbaskethis keypersonwill recognisethis throughobserving hisbodylanguage andresponding toanysoundsor movementsthat expressthislackof interestPersonal, SocialandEmotional Development(PSED); Communication, Languageand Literacy(CLL).

Theactivity supportshis learningbyallowing himtoexplore independently.This encourageshis curiosityandhis physicalskills.

Adultshaveprovided avarietyoftextures andshapesinthe basket(soft,crinkly, squashy,hard, smoothandsoon). ThisallowsHarryto discoverdifferent texturesandwilllead tohimbeingableto usethesecreatively inthefuture.

Harryisgiventime andspacetoexplore safelywithabasket thatisataheighthe caneasilyreachand thatissturdyso thatitdoesnottip overwhenheleans onit.Theresources areclean,pleasant andinteresting.

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TheymayalsoplantoeitherprovidethesameobjectsnexttimeforHarrytoexplore,becausehe wassointerestedinthem,ortoofferHarrysomedifferentitemsinhistreasurebasket,becausethey noticedthathelostinterestveryquicklythistime.

Case study 2: Ayesha


Theolderchildreninthesettingarebeingencouragedtocommunicateandlistentooneanother. Story-tellingtimehasbeenintroducedusingaspecialstorychairforthespeaker.Theadulthastolda storyaboutawalkwithherdogattheweekendandsheisnowobservingAyeshawhoisthree-yearsoldandwantstotalkabouthercat,whichhadtovisitthevetwhenitwasill. What is happening? Ayeshaissittinginthestorychair,withherfeetonastool.Shelookscomfortableandtheother childrenaresittingroundher.Anadultissittingnexttoher,slightlytooneside,supportingherstorytellingabouthercatsvisittoavet. What could an adult observe? TheadultcanlistentoAyeshasstoryandnoticethewordssheusestodescribethevisit. TheymaynotethatittakesanotheradultpromptingAyeshabeforeshestartsherstory,byaskingthe nameofthecat(Boo)andwhyhehadtovisitthevet. ItwouldbeinterestingtoobservehowAyeshausesherwholebodywhiletellingherstory,makinga roundshapewithherarmsasshetalksaboutthebasketBoohadtotravelin. TheadultcouldalsonotehowtheotherchildrenrespondtoAyeshaandwhethertheywanttotell abouttheirpets. TheymaynotehowAyeshaenjoystheexperienceofbeingthestory-teller. TheadultmaynotehowthesupportofanotherpractitionerhelpsAyesha(aftershehasfinishedher story)toletanotherchildhaveaturnonthestorychair. What happens to the observation? Findings,thoughtsandideasareputtogetherasnotesandlater,indiscussionswithAyesha,her parentsandotherpractitioners,thesignificantthingsthathavebeennotedcouldbeaddedtoher records.ThismayincludephotographsorthingsthatAyeshaandothershavesaid. Reflecting on observations Afterobservingher,anadultcouldthinkaboutAyeshasskillsintellingthestory,herlevelof confidence,heruseofwords,whetherherstorywastoldinthepresenttenseorwhethershewas talkingaboutsomethingthathadhappenedinthepast.Theymaythinkaboutherfeelingsforhercat andwhatwordssheusedtoshowthese.AllthesearefeaturesofAyeshaslearninganddevelopment. TheymaytellanadultthatAyeshahasawonderfulstoreofmemories,andisable,withadultsupport, toexpressherselfwithconfidence. What might be planned next? DiscussionwithAyeshaandherparentsmayleadpractitionerstodecidethatAyeshaandtheother childrenwouldenjoycreatingavetssurgeryinthesettingandtheymayplantohelpthemtransforman

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appropriateareaforthis.ThepractitionerscouldencourageAyeshatothinkabouthowBoomighthave feltbeinginhisbasketandthenatthevetsandcouldthenprovideresourcesforchildrentotransport sickpetstoandfromthevetssurgerytotheirownhomes,atthesetting. ThistableshowshowthePrinciplesofEYFSsupportAyeshasdevelopmentandlearning. A Unique Child Thisactivity encouragesAyesha tobeseenasan individual. Shehasasenseof herownseparate identityandherlife athomewithher familyandherpet andthisisimportant toher.Sheis allowedthetime andencouragement totalkabouther feelings,which encouragesher emotionalwell-being. Positive Relationships Ayeshaisgivena voiceandlearns thatshecanbe listenedtobyadults andotherchildren. Thisisalsovery powerfulforthe otherchildrenwhen theyhavetheirturn totelltheirstory. Ayeshagainsmore confidenceinthe adultsbyhaving theirsupportand encouragementand byherkeyworker(or mostinvolvedadult) givingherprompts andsupportbyfacial expression,body languageandverbal encouragement.This activityencourages positiveinteractions betweenthestaffand thechildrenasthey tellandlistentoeach othersstorieswith theadultsshowing howtorespect thestory-tellerby listeningtothem. Enabling Environments Theobservation helpsthestaffin promotingresources thatencouragethe children.Theyrealise thevalueofthe specialstorychair andhowitmakesthe childrenfeelwhen sittinginit.Thestory chairisseenasan importantpartofthe environmentand childrenknowthatit isvalued. Learning and Development Thisactivityhelps everyonerecognise thateachchildisa valuablecontributor tothegroup Personal,Social andEmotional Development(PSED). Italsoprovides opportunities forspeaking andlistening Communication, Languageand Literacy(CLL). Ayeshashowshow safeandsecureshe feelsandthisactivity mayalsohelpherin formingrelationships withtheother childrenPersonal, SocialandEmotional Development(PSED). Thisactivitydrawson personalexperiences andalsoteaches boundaries,such ashavingtostop speakingatsome stageandletting someoneelsehave aturn. Thechildrenare encouragedtobe abletothinkabout time:Whendid Boogotothevet? Knowledgeand Understandingofthe World(KUW).

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Notes for childminders


Thepersonalandintimatewayinwhichyouworkwithafewchildreninyourhomeprovidesarichand variedexperienceforbothyouandthechildorchildren.Assomeoneworkingfrequentlyonyourown, andinyourownhome,itmayfeelasifmuchoftheadviceandguidancegivenforobservationsmaybe difficultforyou.Forexample,itmayrequireagreatdealoforganisationforyoutohaveanotheradult presentwhileyoucarryoutanobservation.However,youmayfindthatyoucanadaptyourpracticeto suityourowncircumstancesbyusingmethodssuchastimeandeventsamplesorcheckliststocarry outyourobservations. AsanexampleofhowdifferentPrinciplesguideorinformpractice,considertheprincipleofLearning andDevelopmentLearningthroughexperience.Youmaynoticewhenababyhastheirhandsintheir bakedbeansduringlunchorhowtheymanagetomoveabreadstickinthedirectionoftheirmouths,or indeedsomethingelsetheydowiththebreadsticktoexploreitsproperties!Thismaybeaparticularly richsourceofbriefobservationswhichyoucanquicklynotedownonastickynoteandthentransferto adailydiary.Youcouldthenreviewthediaryonafortnightlyormonthlybasistothinkaboutwhatyou haveobserved.Observationssuchasthiscaneasilybecarriedoutonyourown. Itmayalsobepossibleforyoutomeetupwithotherchildminderssothatyoucouldtaketurnsin carryingoutsomeobservationsindifferentsettings.Youmayalsohavetheopportunitytotakeyour childrentothelocalplaygroup,whereagain,youmayhaveanopportunitytotakesometimeoutto observe.Whenyoutakeababyorachildoutforawalkortothelocalshops,youmayalsohavethe opportunitytonoticehowtheyreacttoexperiencesasdiverseasastrangeadultbendingoverthe buggytotalktothebabyorhowtheyoungchildreactstoabarkingdog,windyweather,thesoundof trafficoryourconversation. Ordinary,everydayactivitieswillprovidearangeofopportunitiesforyousimplytostopforafew momentsandnoticewhatthebabyoryoungchildisdoing,whattheyarelookingat,whattheirmood seemstobe,howcurioustheyare,andsoon.Observationshelpyoutogettoknowthechildona surprisinglydeeplevelasyoubegintobeawareofthosesmallmovements,glances,approachesand withdrawalsthatindicatethatthebabyismakingsenseoftheworldandhowtheyaretryingtodeal withtheirexperiences.

References
UnitedNations(1989)Convention on the Rights of the Child,UnitedNations,NewYork.

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