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Designing Environments To Facilitate Observation and Documentation

by Johnna Darragh Ernst
November/December 2010
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/designing-environments-to-facilitate-observation-and-documentation/5019674/

The importance of daily child observation and documentation in early childhood programs has been well established. Observing and documenting children’s ongoing learning and development provides rich information about how they view, process, and interact with their world. This information, in turn, guides curricular planning, implementation, and assessment. Observation and documentation are important components of designing developmentally appropriate experiences, as knowledge of the individual child â€" used in conjunction with general expectations for children’s development and learning and knowledge of each child’s family and culture â€" lays a foundation for practices that support the development and learning of each and every child.

Challenges of effective observation

Daily observation and documentation can present many challenges. One challenge lies with finding appropriate techniques that capture learning and development in a holistic way. For example, time sampling might be a great way to determine a child’s patterns of play in different areas of the classroom, and a running record effective in terms of capturing interactions. However, it takes these and many other techniques to provide a whole picture of the child’s interactions within the physical and social environment. Another related challenge is time. So many techniques, so many different ways to document development and learning, and â€" ...

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