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Example Observation Report of a Child

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Childcare
Wordcount: 2382 words Published: 21st Sep 2021

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Ethical considerations checklist

  • Has the whole team been informed about the portfolio requirements?
  • Have you made clear that all members concerned in the observation will have access to the material?
  • Have the nature of the observations (including aims, tools to be used) been explained to the children/ young people (where applicable)?
  • Have you considered the importance of respecting the child/ young person's privacy, dignity and possible emotional reactions?
  • Have parents been informed- and has the study process been fully explained to them?
  • Have you confirmed that all details will remain confidential by ensuring all documents are anonymous?

Date: 10 January 2017

Dear parents/guardian

I am writing to ask for permission to observe your child as part of my university course. All information about your child would be kept as confidential.

Thank you for your support.


I ………………………………………………. give permission to ……………………….. to observe my child


  • Name of observer: Aamna. (nursery nurse)
  • Name of child: child A
  • Date of observation: 4/01/17
  • Starting time: 3:30pm
  • Finishing time: 3:40pm
  • No of adults involved: 1
  • No of children involved: 3
  • Area of observation: home corner, constructive area, quite area and mathematic area (indoors)
  • Aim: to observe child A while playing
  • Objective: to analyse how child A interacts with others

This is a brief snap of child A interacting with adults and other individuals within the setting. Its a Wednesday afternoon just after teatime and child A begins to play with child B who is the same age as child A. Child A starts in the home corner and continues the day playing with other activities.

Child A begins to play in the home corner area and pretends to be a policeman and says 'hands up' to himself. Child A appears to be searching for something and pulls out a police uniform jacket and he proceeds to put the jacket on himself inside out, he then looks under the other uniform jackets.

I interrupt child A and ask him what he is looking. He does not respond, he finds a briefcase with pretend injections, bandages and a stethoscope. He then takes the policeman jacket and places it back in the correct place.

Child A picks the stethoscope and places it around his neck backwards. He looks down at a doctors shirt and grabs the shirt briskly with one hand and quickly clutches it close to his chest.

Child A then attempts to put the shirt on, he starts by putting his right arm into the right sleeve and the left arm into the left sleeve. He then pulls it down from the back and closes the buttons starting from the bottom up to the top. Once he has completed closing the buttons he stops and sighs out loud with his hands on his waist. He then sits on the floor with his legs crossed and wiggles his bottom.

Child A places the diaphragm on child B's shoulder, child B then places the diaphragm part on left side of his chest demonstrating, as child B lets go of the stethoscope child A takes it off his chest and tries to put it on himself.

Child A attempts then to put it on Child B again the same way child B demonstrated but still puts it the other way round with the diaphragm on child B's shoulder again.

Child A sighs and throws the stethoscope onto the floor with force, after throwing the stethoscope he crosses his arms and frowns at the ground with his eyes towards the floor. From the corner of his eye he slowly looks around, as he slowly looks up again he notices me looking at him. He begins to smile and takes the stethoscope from the floor and apologises to the stethoscope. He now looks up at child B walking towards the constructive area and walks after him. As he walks towards the constructive area with his hands swinging from left to right and proceeds to sit on his knees and grabs onto a toy car with his left hand and says 'look I have a blue car, what colour do you have?'.

Child B responds by saying 'my car is green, I have this one at home' and child A nods his head up and down.

Child A suddenly jumps up and runs towards the quite area and begins spinning three times with his hands swinging up and down, he falls onto his knees whilst laughing and says 'wow I'm dizzy'.  He jumps right up with his hands in the air and continues spinning round. He catches his breath and places his hands onto his head whilst attempting to sit back on the floor and makes a 'woo woo' sound.  He moves his head round repeatedly but this time in slow motion with his eyes closed. After two full minutes he stands up and  choses another table activity. Now Child A proceeds to the mathematic table which contains unifix cubes.

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Child A stands still with his right hand on the side of his head and looks around the table and finds a seat and walks towards it, he pulls the seat and sits then, puts both of his legs under the table he then places both hands at the sides of the chair and tucks himself under the table. He reaches out for the cubes which are placed in the middle of the table.

Child C snatches the unifix cubes from child A's hands, child A looks directly at child C face and says 'sharing is caring' with his hands on his waist with his left eyebrow raised.

Child C gives the cubes back into child A's hand Child A then starts to attach each unifix cube together. While picking up the cubes he says the colours of the cubes and the number of how many cubes there are in a low toned voice 'one is yellow, two is green and three is red', he continues up to ten then looks around to see if anyone is looking at him with his head down and rolls his eyes to the right corner of his eyes. With the unifix cubes he builds a long line and says 'this is the wall in my garden and it's big, big, big'. As he uses the word 'big' he moves his right hand up on top of his head. After creates a oval shape and claims to say it's a hippopotamus by saying ' I'm a hippopotamus and you can't catch me' in a deep voice with his hands by his side and rocks on his chair from left to right.

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Child A separates the cubes one by one and places the cube back into the middle of the table. He stands up and walks behind the chair and tries to tuck it under the table using both of his hands on the sides of the chair and crouches down. He now stands back up and runs towards the writing area and picks a colour pencil and a piece of paper for himself and for child B, then walks back to the mathematics area. As he gives the coloured pencil to child B he says 'here you go' and passes on the pencil to child B. He then starts to draw lines with a red colour pencil onto a piece of paper, he grips the colour pencil by placing the all four fingers and his thumb sticking out towards him with his right hand and says 'look the cubes are like the cubes I made before' to child B with a smile.

Child B attempts to hold the coloured pencil, the pencil keeps falling out of his hands and ends up onto the floor. Child A looks at the floor to pick the pencil up for child B and helps child B on how to hold the pencil as he says 'this is how you hold it in your hand'.

Child A was included as the socially active child in this scenario of observation. The social, personal and emotional development can be noted through observing the behaviour, responses, and interaction with the other children within this setting. I would describe child A to be going through various stages of developmental experiences, and learning curves.  The theorist Jean Piaget  suggests four types of stages for cognitive development, in my observation it would specifically be looking at the preoperational stage (2-7 years). Within this stage Piaget speaks about the children of this age group that are able to analyse symbolically.

In the first area of observation in the home corner, for when child A is experimenting with the police uniforms and the doctors briefcase child A seems to show a general awareness of the nature of a stethoscope and its connection to the doctors shirt which he wore prior to selecting the instrument this would symbolise that he might have a interest to work within healthcare for example. This kind of imaginative play could perhaps influence their occupation as they grow older. In this area Child A faces his first interaction with Child B who in this instance appears to be more advanced, he attempts to correct and teach Child A the correct way of placing the diaphragm through active learning.

Jean Piaget  relates cognitive, moral, and emotional development. In his opinion, cognitive and emotional development show parallel,  courses of development, with cognition providing the structure and emotion the energy of development. Just as children go through stages of cognitive development, they likewise display emotional development and understanding new  emotional expressions and experiences which are characteristics of different levels of development. Although my presence might have caused a bias in the child's natural behaviour I was able to see his response to his reaction as he threw the stethoscope aggressively in frustration and when he notices the presence of an adult he quickly says sorry to the stethoscope and smiled.

Vygotsky suggested that social interaction within cognitive development would develop while socialising first. This means that most individuals would look to see how parents behaviour are towards things, watching the way they speak and then they would try to imitate them just as child A imitates conversational skills through discussing the toy cars they are playing with and identify the colours of the car.

Play and playfulness is categorized into three key areas, imagination and creativity, playful exploration, problem solving and dizzy play. Dizzy play consists of rough play, tumbling humour and language play such as seen with Child A as he spins around saying 'woo' and announcing 'wow im dizzy'  expressing pure joy and a burst of physical energy release.

On the mathematics table Child A is confronted by Child C, in this scenario Child C expresses a negative action by snatching from Child A in an aggressive manner. Child C handles this situation in a very emotionally respectful manner, he quotes 'sharing is caring' which immediately diffuses a potential clash and encourages Child C to return the cubes. This was one of the most interesting parts of child to child interaction within this observation, as this showed an advanced development of empathy within Child A which usually begins to develop as toddlers where the concept of 'i' and 'me' begins. Child A shows the understanding of not only his own but the emotional needs of those around him

Theorist such as Glassman, (2000) develops ideas for behaviourism and demonstrates ways of observing to  understand development. He also mentions a focus on learning. He suggests that learning means 'changes in behaviour' which indicates experiences and interactions in an environment. This explains and demonstrates child A focusing on learning when Child B shows him how to use the stethoscope, which allows him to learn how to use it. As child A changes his choice of profession from being a policeman to a doctor, his behaviour also changes. The reason for the change was that he wasn't able to find the hat but found the briefcase without struggling. This is a result of child A experiencing and interacting within the environment.

In this observation I mainly focused on what child A was able to do rather than what he couldn't do. Vygotsky includes in his theory about emphasis children's capability

and the partnership between the child and adult as the same between me and child A. Within this observation child A has demonstrated many skills as he becomes active to the use of his body movement whilst playing, he interacts with the environmental materials and people around him. Child A communicates as he shares his thoughts and information through playing with child B and other practitioners. He communicated verbally with some simple sentences. He shows excitement and having fun while playing with the different areas. Child A absorbed himself, concentrated and thought about what activities he involved himself with. Interacting was the main skill developed by child A as he formed this action a couple times during the observation.

My observation was thorough and well, and through watching small emotional signs and reactions to different scenarios I was able to understand through a more practical approach about the emotional development of a child at play he interacts with children of different stages of development themselves.

Reference list:

Fromberg, D.P. (1990). Play issues in early childhood education. In Seedfeldt, C. (Ed.), Continuing issues in early childhood education, (pp. 223-243). Columbus, OH: Merrill.

Frost, J.L. (1992). Play and playscapes. Albany, NY: Delmar. G

Department for Education, 2012. Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. (EYFS). London: Early Education

Palaiologou, I. (2012) Child observation. 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications Ltd.


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