Observing how children act in their lives help educators determine how to create an environment that promotes learning and development. More specifically, by thoroughly documenting and tracking children’s behaviour, educators can see how each child reacts to different situations, their interactions with others, and their other interests and skills. Below are skills that childcare educators commonly observed and how they promoted that skill with a child.
1. Imagination and Creativity
Educators often find children playing pretend and imagining themselves as certain characters in stories. They also see children expressing their creativity through music, dance, or art. When documenting such observations, think about the other opportunities you can provide children to express themselves. Have more costumes available for the child to use. Or read a different book genre. What about providing the child a different art option than what they are used to (such as pencil crayons or paint)? Doing so will improve children’s verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
2. Physical Development
Physical development doesn’t just involve running and jumping around. It also involves how the child picks up items, how they hold something, and how they throw items. These little things assist with the development of the child’s motor skills. For example, you may find the child is only comfortable picking up items that are really small. Gradually introduce larger items for the child to pick up so that they can become comfortable. Also take notice to how they hold these larger items. Are they using certain fingers? Are they able to effectively hold it for long periods of time? These are all observations you need to look into to ensure the child is able to move in different ways.
When it comes to emotions, children may find it difficult to express themselves. Whether that is verbally, with body movements, facial expressions, or with art, you are there to help children be able to effectively communicate their emotions. For example, you may observe the child struggling with communicating their unhappiness. You can help them understand how to communicate this feeling in a safe and healthy manner. So instead of the child yelling, you can help them find the right words and tone of voice to communicate this particular feeling.
4. Relationships and Social Skills
This is one of the easiest skills to observe. You will be able to see how children interact and communicate with each other and other adults in your centre. For example, you may observe that the child is only comfortable interacting with certain people. Figure out the reason why and see if you can help the child interact with their other classmates. Or you may find that the child is not able to effectively communicate. If so, you can look into developing their communication skills by focusing on their language.
Overall, educators need to observe what children are doing in order to create a curriculum that will further the child’s learning and development. By catering the curriculum towards the child, the child will be more interested and likely to participate in the activities you have planned. When documenting these observations, you have to ensure that is thorough so that you can get a better understanding on what to do. For example, who does the child like playing with? What toys or items do they play with? What activities do they enjoy and not enjoy participating in? This can help educators gain information to help mature children’s skills.