For this 5-6-page assignment, you will focus on an infant or toddler who is between 0-36 months old, or a child between the ages of 3 and 8 years old.
You must observe the infant or toddler or child in at least 3 different contexts –
You must interview at least one of the child’s parents/caregivers, with the observation and interview being a combined total of approximately 10 hours.
Please Note: All Interview and observation hours (TOTALING 10 HOURS) should not be conducted on the same day.
Observations must be conducted in one of the following settings: a home, childcare setting, preschool, Head Start, or primary school classroom. In addition, your choice of observation sites should follow programmatic guidelines to ensure diversity across and within your fieldwork placements.
Once the observation is completed, you will then use your notes from the observation and interview, as well as other forms of documentation that you will collect (as noted), to create a portrayal of the infant or toddler or child you observed.
In addition, you will conduct a detailed analysis of the child where you will reflect upon your observations, what they tell you about who the child is in the world, and how the information you have gathered connects to larger practical and theoretical implications.
Your completed assignment will include the following sections:
The contextual information:
Note the child’s gender
Note the child’s age
Other information on the child’s background such as language(s) spoken in the home, siblings, etc…
Make sure to include:
Date of the observation
Time(s) of observation (both the start and end time)
Desсrіption of the setting and participants present
If the observation is conducted in a childcare or school setting, include a brief
summary of school and community demographic information.
Discussion of the different contexts in which you chose to observe the child (i.e., during free play, transitions, independent or group work time, during an after-school program, etc…) and why you made those choices.
Why you decided to observe this particular child. For example, is there a question that you have about the child that you wish to further explore?
IIa. Observation (Notetaking, Describing)
This section will be comprised of your observation notes, organized in the categories listed below. As discussed in class, the language you use when recording observations should be desсrіptive, “setting aside heavily judgmental language and diagnostic or other categorizing labels…what is most important is to ground language used to describe a child in examples and illustrations so that the language is well-rooted in observation.” (Carini, 2011, p.11).). Be sure to use examples from your observation notes as you create your child portrayal:
Your child portrayal should include at least three of the following areas:
disposition and temperament
connections with others (both children and adults)
strong interests and preferences
modes of thinking and learning
It is important to note that, while you should make deliberate choices during the observation/notetaking process, you should remain flexible and open minded as your observations unfold. For instance, you may start out focusing on a particular “question” you have about a child (i.e., the nature of their social relationships with peers). In this case, the first context in which you observe might be during a small group time. Or you might go into your first observation without a particular focus, yet an initial analysis of your observation notes might reveal something that you wish to further pursue.
In either case, it is important that you conduct your observations in a wholistic manner – don’t simply take notes on certain behaviors that you are looking for. Your first round of notetaking may reveal new insights about the child that will guide your subsequent observations. Your analysis of your observation notes may evolve into other categories than those listed above.
As discussed in class, documentation enables us to “visibly listen” to the child and can be used as a valuable research tool. For this section, you will collect at least three artifacts that you feel best represent who the child is (reflect back on the five categories in your child “portrayal”). Artifacts can include partial transсrіpts from the observation (i.e., transcribed excerpts from an audio or video recording clip), a list of the child′s responses to a prompt, individual or group photographs or videos of the child, child work samples (i.e., drawings, writing, artwork, dictated narratives, etc…). *Note: Some use of technology must be evident in your data collection. Appropriate permission should be obtained for photographs, videos, use of work samples, etc…Examples of artifacts and desсrіptions/discussions will be provided in class. Keep in mind that the nature of the artifacts you collect will depend in part, on the age of the child you are observing.
Describe each piece (what it is, with a brief desсrіption of the context surrounding it)
Discuss why you think this artifact is significant? What does it tell you about the child (physical presence, disposition, connections with others, strong interests and preferences, modes of thinking and learning)?
IIIc. Reflection/Analysis (Notemaking, Interpreting)
In your reflection section, you will reflect on your observation notes and think about what they could mean. You will compare the data from your observation to the information you have examined through course literature (include citations). Make sure that you focus on the strengths and interests of the child, as well as the developmental needs.
What did you learn about the child?
For instance, what are the child’s strengths and interests? What, if observed, does the child struggle with? What type of learner is the child?
NAEYC identifies three developmental domains in their discussion of Child Development as follows: physical, cognitive (including language), and social-emotional. Discuss your observations of the infant/toddler (child) in the context of each of the three domains (see https://oldweb.naeyc.org/about/positions/dap3.asp for more information on the NAEYC Principles of Child Development that Inform Practice, including the three domains)
In what ways does the information you collected through observing and documenting, inform you about the child’s growth, development, and presence in the world?
IV. Implications for Practice (Planning, “Acting”), Conclusion
Based on your observation(s), what strategies would you recommend to support the child’s development, whether at home or in a childcare/school environment?
What feedback would you provide to the parents to further enhance the child’s development?
How would you as a teacher use this information when thinking of developing curriculum and a learning environment that is supportive of the child’s strengths, interests and needs?
Support your analyses, particularly in sections III and IV with principles from research and/or developmental theory
*Include connections to course literature throughout the paper.