Tips for Conducting Child Observation for the Early Childhood Educator

When performing child observations, it is important to remember a few things. First, think about why you are performing the observation:

  • Observations are the key to good program planning
  • Observations help adults understand the strengths and needs of each child
  • Early childhood educators observe children to get to know them better
  • To gain a sense of a child’s knowledge, needs, interests, skills, and how they learn best

The four areas of child development are:

  1. Motor (Physical)
  2. Language and Communication
  3. Cognitive
  4. Social/Emotional

Tools for assessment can include:

  1. Anecdotal Records: Notes kept by a teacher concerning children’s play and behaviors.
  2. Checklist: Form of assessment designed to record the presence or absence of a specific trait or behavior.
  3. Participation Chart: A tool used to gather information on specific aspects of children’s behavior.
  4. Rating Scale: Tool used to record the degree to which a quality or trait is present.

While any of these tools can reveal a child’s needs or strengths, it is important to complete child observations from an objective standpoint. This means, stick to the facts, and do not include your opinion. Factually based observations can be useful tools in discussing a child’s development and growth. Share this information with parents and caretakers! They will appreciate the time you have taken to learn more about their child.