Observation: An Elementary School Child


# The purpose of the first observation is to learn the art of observation. You will conduct a naturalistic observation. By definition, a naturalistic observation means observing children in a natural setting (as opposed to a laboratory) without any interference from the observer.

# You are to be as detailed as you can, recording only what you see. You must separate your personal thoughts, opinions, and ideas from the observation. The idea is to paint a picture of what is happening for the reader.

# You are asked to observe one child aged 8 to 11 years. This child should not be anyone that you know. Please observe the child for a minimum of 1 hour..

# This final report should consist of 3 sections, clearly Label each section and Type "Setting", "Running Observation", and "Reflections" to seperate each section.

1. The Setting:

a. The date

b. Record first name, age and the sex of the child you observed

c. The time period including starting time, ending time and the time of the day

d. Describe the physical setting (For example, “large room divided into three activity areas, clean, well lighted, painted in bright colors, some toys on shelves.)

f. Identify the group of children you are observing. (Example: “there were 15 children present at the time of the observations – 8 boys and 7 girls. They ranged from 8 to 11 years of age.)

g. Identify the number and type of adults who are present- volunteers, teachers, parents, etc. Include the ratio number. (Example: there is one adult for every 8 children.)

2. The Running Observation:

a. Observe the child for a minimum of 1 hour during the lunch time or a recess. Write down everything you see, describing only what you see. Be as complete in your descriptions as possible.

b. Include information about body movements and facial expressions.

c. Include all verbal exchanges. Note the words of the child as well as the responses from those that she/he addresses. (Dialogue)

d. Be specific. (Example: “Sharon is playing with dolls,”is not an informative as, “Sharon is playing with a doll in the kitchen corner of the room. She is hugging the doll tightly and saying, “It’s okay. Don’t cry.”)

e. Make sure to separate observed behavior from your thoughts and interpretations of that behavior

3. Reflections:

a. This is a separate section from the actual running observation

b. This is your reflections, comments and conclusions regarding your understanding about what you have observed. Your comments should be based upon what you recorded in your running observation section.

c. Make sure to be insightful and use lots of examples from the observation to support your points

d. Support your comments with developmental and learning theories or your life experiences.

e. Use critical thinking and make a meaningful comparison between your comments and the theories.

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