Application: Observing Infant Development
As emphasized in the Learning Resources, observation is an essential part of assessment and planning in infant settings. And, for you as a student, observing is an important way to enhance your understanding of the concepts and ideas presented in this course.
The main goal of this Application assignment is to give you an opportunity to develop your observation skills and practice being objective as you take in information. Being objective means not making assumptions or judgments about anything that you observe.
Keep in mind that infant teachers who use observation in the context of ongoing relationships with individual children need to remember to be open-minded and try to understand what they are seeing from each child’s perspective. As an outside observer, it is especially important to keep in mind that you are observing infants and teachers at a particular moment in time, without the benefit of knowing what has come before.
For this Application assignment you will be observing one child in an infant setting and gathering information regarding their four major areas of development (physical, emotional, social, and cognitive/language). The goal of this activity is to practice your observation skills while gaining more information about these developmental areas. You do not need to attempt to assess the child’s overall development.
To complete this Application assignment, do the following:
Plan your observation:
Arrange and confirm a date and time to observe in an infant setting that serves children between the ages of birth and 18 months.
Think about what it means to be an effective observer in an infant setting as you:
Review “Observe and Record” on pages 110-112 of the course text.
Consider what you have learned about the four major areas of development.
Review Appendix A (pp. 378-401) of your course text.
Print out and review the Week 2 Observation Worksheet (linked below). Use this sheet to complete either two Running Records (at Least 10 minutes each) or three Anecdotal Records.
Week 2 Observation Worksheet
Implement your observation:
Use the Week 2 Observation Worksheet (linked above) to record your notes from your observation.
Reminder: If you notice that your presence is making a child uncomfortable, consult the infant teacher in the room in which you are observing.
Reflect on your observation:
Write at least two pages addressing the following:
Consider the challenges of remaining objective during observation. Were there times when remaining objective was especially difficult for you? If so, explain why.
How did the observation experience inform your understanding of what it means to be an effective observer? What questions, if any, do you still have about observation skills and strategies? What did you see as the benefits and challenges of the observation method you selected?
How did the observation method you utilized enhance your knowledge of the four major areas of development? Did you find observing in one particular area of development easier or more challenging than others? Use examples to explain your thinking.
Based on what you have learned thus far in the course and in this Application assignment, what insights and/or questions do you have about observing the four major areas of development?
Submit your reflection. (You are not required to submit your Observation Worksheet.)
Assignment length: 2 pages
Submit this assignment by Day 7 of this week.
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