Five Reasons to Observe Children
Here are some of the reasons that teachers offer when asked about the value of watching and listening to children:
- If I watch the children play, I can discover their interests.
- By observing children, I can assess their developmental levels.
- I look to see what strategies children use to attain their goals.
- Observing children helps me know what skills the children need to practice.
- When I observe children at play, I learn a lot about their personalities.
We want to use these reasons again, so we will provide an example that illustrates the general meaning of each:
- Interests—He loves to play with trucks.
- Developmental level—She throws the ball either very hard or not at all, but she does not vary the throw along a continuum of very hard, hard, and soft.
- Strategies—She tries to influence her friend’s actions by controlling all of the crayons.
- Skills—She has trouble stringing beads onto a knotted shoestring.
- Personality—She is reserved and does not like to take risks.
In essence, we can learn at least five attributes of our children when we observe them closely:
- Their interests and preferences
- Their levels of cognitive and social development
- Their strategies for creating desired effects
- Their skills and accomplishments
- Their personalities and temperaments