Your portfolio of Observations of Children
should demonstrate a variety of different observation techniques and various ways to present
Observations of child development can be recorded in:
to record details of what the child does and says, and more importantly how
the child does and says things.
audio tape recordings
to record details of spoken language, tone of voice and other sounds.
to record details of what is seen and heard of the child's development.
The advantages and
disadvantages of different methods of recording observations.
Convenient and requires no special equipment except a notebook and pen.
Things may happen too quickly to accurately record every detail.
AUDIO TAPE RECORDING
Records all the sounds so no details are missed.
This is helpful to record language development, especially in school children.
Requires a tape recorder, audio tape and a quiet area with a minimum
of background noise. Very young children use non-verbal communication in gesture, facial
expression and actions which are not recorded.
VIDEO TAPE RECORDING
Records all the details that can be seen and heard by the camera.
This is helpful to record planned activities in one area of a room.
Requires special equipment and knowledge to use it effectively.
Lighting and background noise can affect the recording.
Children may be inhibited, move away or play to the camera.
Now we know how to record observations of child development
So the next step is choose an appropriate
Charts and Pictograms
Different observation techniques help to focus the observation so appropriate
data is collected and presented in meaningful ways.
This is a written narrative that tells the story as it happens.
Observations can be of planned activities, but spontaneous observations can show
surprising things about a child's development that might never be seen.
It is helpful to research the area of development before observing.
A pre-planned development checklist helps to focus the observation, but can be limited
unless individual details are recorded.
CHARTS AND PICTOGRAMS
Charts and pictures can present observation data in colourful ways to
make your portfolio appear more interesting.
Observations of children are recorded at fixed regular intervals of
time to note what is happening at that moment. For example children's play during a
morning can be recorded every 15 minutes.
Observations focus on particular events to build up a pattern of a
child's behaviour over a period of days or weeks. For example to discover what provokes
tantrums, or how a child reacts to leaving their carer at the start of each day in
A series of observations to give a picture of an individual child's
holistic development. A baby will change rapidly during your time in placement and a
longitudinal study of a child's development over several months is fascinating.
Find out more about different observation techniques