LOOK AT ME in Kindergarten Tržič
- In the search for new ways for quality work with children, in Kindergarten Tržič we have taken the work on the observation of children, monitoring and recording their progress to a new level. Knowing a child’s development is one of the key elements that allows us a good preparation for pedagogical work. We wanted to go beyond working on developmental milestones, and focus on developmental-process planning of our work, giving children an insight to their own development and progress. Therefore, we dedicated a project to developing strategies for observation purposes – Project Look at me, running throughout the school year 2013/14.
- The importance of observation is visible:
– when working with children in the kindergarten (monitoring the child’s development, progress and learning)
– in the planning of educational work, influencing the development of children’s competences,
– when reflecting our own professional development,
– when working with parents.
- Observation is spontaneous in most cases, and serves as the basis for systematic observation, where we observe all areas of the curriculum. After reviewing of the records of the spontaneous observation, we quickly determine which area we have to observe further, what is problematic in a particular area for a particular child, which challenges we need to offer to children. We gain a better overview of the observed and unobserved children. The kindergarten is a strong factor of the socialization of the child, so we are especially attentive to the children’s responses to their surroundings, activities and social relationships. Notes are used for planning further educational work.
- During the in-depth work in the field of observation, childcare workers developed a specific strategy to document development, which helps them in their work. We tested many possibilities, some choose new ways, and some went back to what they used before the start of the project, which means writing observations in a notebook. Among the newer options, using photos and videos appeared to be successful, because it allows multiple overview of the events.
We talked about using Observation forms. We have found that we need to adjust the form to each selected situation. We cannot use the same observation forms for different situations and different children.
Beside regular ways of observing, some of the childcare workers regularly use sociograms and “actiograms” – representations of interactions, because they provide more information about children and groups than the observation of individual children.
- After the project, mutual monitoring – observing each other’s work – became regular practice, in connection to the wish to exchange good experience. By studying literature, we revised, deepened and gained knowledge – so necessary for our work.
- We have found that the independence of children in the time of observation is important. An independent child does not need constant assistance of a childcare worker, who can thus take the time for planned or spontaneous observation. Not only that the child is independent with dressing, eating, washing, but also in the selection of games, taking part in play, joining a game group, in interacting with other children.
We need to critically thing about the use of the observation forms.
We started using sociograms and interaction representations regularly.
Reflections of our work got more elaborate.
Observation folders are used in the work with individual children, working with a group, with parents, and to reflect our own work.
- The method we use in the so called child-centered approach is „Look at me“ (passive observation)
It‘s giving the children space to learn and grow in their own way.
- – Children‘s rights and needs are the primary focus for development.
– Teacher tries to accommodate and support every individual child and its specific needs and possibilities.
– Children’s ideas, preferences and interests are considered in the planning for activities.
– Prescool teacher challenges the children in a safe and respectful manner to develop (together and individualy) their own solutions to problems given.
– Preschool teacher ensures that children feel safe, encouraged, happy and empowered.
- To encurage:
– life skills,
– children‘s analysing power,
– children‘s capacity to organise themselves,
- – Children‘s play is important factor for development and learning.
– Based on this, we create different playing centers (corners, areas) in our classrooms.
– Kinds of Playing centers: Block center, Dramatic play (home) center, Puzzle center, Book center, Literacy center, Creative center.
- – Encourages playing centers with learning material, where every single child can succeed in the process of playing and learning.
– A stimulating, safe and exciting physical environment that enables research, learning and autonomy.
– Meaningful playing centers which can be rearranged depending on the current learning topic.
- Motto that guides us in our work …
… be fully accountable for your actions, do what you do
to the best of your abilities and do it with zeal!