Observing children

Observing children

Babies: View from the beanbag

1. Observing Jenny

Sometimes, chances to make vital observations can be lost amongst our daily routine. Lets watch Jenny who has just started walking. She toddles over to the cosy corner which has a beanbag.

Watch the video and then click the button to read the description.

Jenny is 13-months-old and has just started walking.

She is toddling in the playroom, she sees a chair and tries to sit on it, it is too high, she see’s a beanbag and backs herself onto it, she hasn’t quite got onto the beanbag and falls off onto the floor. She tries again and this time she is successful, the childminder gives her lots of praise.

2. What is this observation telling you?

Answer the questions below.

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Resources to help you

Use these to help inform your observation and plan your next steps.

A child is observed drawing on a piece of paper.

3. You might have mentioned

Click the button below to read our analysis of what happened. Is there anything you missed or did you pick up on something not mentioned?

Now that she is steadier and stronger on her feet, Jenny appears to be enjoying exploring her surroundings in a new way. She is full of intention, knowing exactly what she wants to do and shows determination to reach her goal.

When working with toddlers, they often display a skill, behaviour or knowledge that catches us unaware. We need to be more vigilant and quicker at recognising these so we give children like Jenny positive acknowledgement when they achieve something that might be quite fleeting to us but monumental to them.

These situations are quite transient. The next time Jenny goes to the beanbags she will be more accomplished than she was the first time. She will have internalised new knowledge about the properties of beanbags; that they move about under you and what it feels like to be on top of the beanbag on your own.

There is no opportunity to record this again, so how do we capture, record and share such brief but significant events?

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