All planning starts with observing children in order to understand and consider their
current interests, development and learning.
Babies and young children are individuals first, each with a unique profile of abilities.
Observe children to find out about their needs, what they are interested in and what
they can do.
Note children’s responses in different situations.
Analyse your observations and highlight children’s achievement or their need for
Plan to observe as part of the daily routine.
Develop records of learning and development.
Practitioners observations of children help them to assess the progress which children
are making. Observations help practitioners to decide where children are in their
learning and development and to plan what to do. This is an essential part of daily
practice in any setting, regardless of the age of the baby or child. Looking, listening
and noting is important because it helps you to:
Get to know a child better and develop positive relationships with children and their
Plan appropriate play and learning experiences based on the children’s interests
and needs, and identify any concerns about a child’s development
Further develop your understanding of a child’s development
Develop a systematic and routine approach to using observations
Use assessment to plan the next steps in a child’s developmental progress and regularly
review the approach
So how can a Childminder do observations? In a setting a member of staff can often
be freed up for short periods of time to observe the children and make notes. For
a Childminder, working alone they must be continually supervising and caring for
On this page we hope to bring you a few ideas that may help you to record the children’
learning and development, without impacting on the care you provide.
Photographs Most childminders have access to a digital camera or camera on their mobile
phone. By regularly taking pictures of the children doing activities you will be
able to build up a great record of their development. Use photographs in sequence
and link to the framework to highlight achievements and plan next steps
Video Once children have got used to being videoed and have stopped 'performing'
for the camera, videoing children can be an excellent way of recording a child's
development and sharing the information with parents. Some childminders then use
the recordings to make written development records.
It is advisable to seek parental permission before filming children.
Post It Notes Have a supply of post it notes and pencils around your home. When child
says or does something note it down. Later these notes can be added to a learning
story or scrapbook to help build up a development record.
Learning Stories Learning stories’ are a great way of recording a child’s learning
They are easy to put together and are an excellent tool for planning
future activities for the child, based on their interests and abilities.
Keeley – 2 years Keeley is cared for on a full time basis by her childminder Sarah.
Her older brother, Jake, is at school. Keeley and Sarah collect him at the end of
the day. During the week they attend two sessions of the local Stay and Play at the
Children’s Centre and also use the local environment.
There are six examples covering all the areas of learning and development.
Weekly observations Use a separate sheet for each child. Either record an observation
in a cloud each day of the week, or record an observation under each of the six learning
and development areas over the week.