Observation In Early Childhood Development

In an early childhood setting, being observant gives professionals and family members a helpful portrait of the children in their care, and as future professionals it helps us see how intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development occurs in children. Observing, documenting, and assessing young children shows how they progress from one stage to the next or when there is a delay in progression. The reason we observe young children is that “there is so much that demands attention and response; at the same time, by building in systematic observation, teachers can improve their teaching, construct theory, assess children, assist families, and solve problems” (Gordon and Browne, p.180). It gives dynamic information about each child’s learning styles, interests, abilities, and needs. Observation helps teachers improve teaching by making them become more objective and self-aware of biases they may have. It encourages us to remember that early childhood development is highly individualized, so customizing activities to benefit each child will help them utilize their abilities to their fullest potentials, and through this we will be able to recognize what behaviors are typical of various age groups. The reason we document our observations is so that we can keep records and show proper evidence of each child’s individual growth and participation in classroom activities. With good documentation, family members will able to see the progression made by their child.  
 
The reason we perform an assessment is to launch a baseline. Knowing a child’s baseline is important because it gives professionals something to measure up to. According to NAEYC Position Statement states, “To best assess young children’s strengths, progress, and needs, use assessment methods that are developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically responsive, tied to children’s daily activities, supported by professional” (NAEYC Summary) It helps identify special needs early, evaluate and monitor the curriculum and most importantly hold the school accountable if things are not done as they are supposed to be. A child who may have hearing/vision impairment or special needs may be identified through assessment. The ultimate purpose of
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