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Assignment #4: Observation of Children at Play

NAEYC 1, 3

Description: Early Childhood professionals must be good observers. Observation is the most frequently used and most rewarding method of assessing children’s growth, development, and learning. You will objectively record what you observe during a 15 minute observation of a preschool child.

Directions: You will be conducting a narrative observation of an individual child in a situation that is not teacher directed. Children should be engaged in free play inside the classroom; not in the playground. (Use initials or a fictitious first name to protect child’s confidentiality) This is a detailed “running record” account of behavior recorded in a sequential manner as it happens. The observer sits or stands apart from the child, writing down all behaviors that occur(s) within a 15 minute period. Keep sentences short and abbreviate words to keep up with the action.

After you have recorded your narrative, read it again to make sure you have written an objective record of events, and spelled out any abbreviated words and sentences.

Write down your analysis; make sure to include the following:

1. What did you see that represented emotional development? (Feelings, engagement, sense of pride.) (S1a)

2. What did you see that represented social development? (association with others.) (S1a)

3. What did you see that represented physical development? (balance, movement, gross and fine motor.) (S1a)

4. What did you see that represented cognitive development? (exploration, discovery, problem solving, curiosity.)

5. What are the benefits of this type of observation? (S3a)

6. How could you use this information to plan to meet the individual needs of this particular child? (S1a, S3c)

7. How you would share the information gathered with the family and other professionals? (S3d)

8. How you will incorporate the use of child observations as you develop professionally? (S3b, S3d)


You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.
Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.

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