Observing Young Children in a Child Care Setting

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSVS1EC4014

Semester and Year Offered: Semester-4, Winter-2019

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr Sheetal Nagpal and Fariha Siddiqui

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: The course focuses on the job role of supervisor (Level-6) in an early childhood centre. The course is meant to be offered to those who have specific knowledge and skills related to Day care facilitator (Level-5) offered in 1st year and skills of supervisors offered in semester-3 of the programme


The specific objectives of the course are to:

  • Understand observation as a technique to assess children’s development and learning and for playing a role in programme evaluation
  • Learn about different ways of observing and recording children’s development and progress.
  • Recognize the significance of observing children regularly and documenting their progress.
  • Demonstrate skills of observing and recording children’s behaviour
  • Design assessment indicators based on specific-goals of children’s development and learning
  • Create portfolios of individual child's learning and development
  • Critically evaluate the programme based on systematic observations and modify it as per requirements of the children at the centre.
  • Guide facilitators in assessing children’s overall development and in critically evaluating the programme

Course Outcomes:

After completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the significance of observing children regularly.
  • Demonstrate skills of systematically observing children using different methods and documenting their progress and development.
  • Prepare observation schedules, checklists, rating scales and rubrics for the assessment of specific-goal
  • Plan activities for children based on the assessment of their development in different domains.
  • Create a portfolio of a child using different observation methods; use it for assessment of children and planning further activities
  • Identify various contextual, cultural and personal factors influencing observation processes.
  • Demonstrate skills of observing and documenting children’s overall development objectively with minimal subjective biases.
  • Mentor the facilitator in implementing different observation techniques

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1: Introduction to child observation

This module begins with a discussion on ‘why’ to observe young children and various factors influencing observation and assessment of young children such as, personal and cultural biases, setting, timing and frequency of observations, etc.

Module 2: Methods of observing children and maintaining records and linkages with planning

There are various observation and recording methods which a child care professional, especially a centre supervisor should know and use it efficiently in a childcare setting. This module will focus on the cycle of observation, methods of assessing children’s development and documentation.

Assessment Details with weights:


Assessment Type



Written Assignment-1



Written Assignment-2



Term-end Exam



Class Participation




Reading List:

Core readings

  1. Bentzen, W.R. (2005). Seeing young children. A guide to observing and recording
  2. Behavior (5thed.). Canada: Thomson Delmar Learning.Chapter 3: General guidelines for observing children (pp. 55-92).
  3. Hobart, C. & Frankel, J.A (2004).Practical Guide to Child Observation and Assessment (3rd ed.). Cheltenham, UK: Nelson Thomas.Chapter 1: An introduction to child observation (pp. 1-12), Chapter 2: Why we observe children (pp. 13-22), Chapter 3: How to observe children (pp. 23-35),Chapters 4: Commonly used observation techniques (pp. 37-103),Chapter 6: Recording observations and assessments (pp. 144-165) and Chapter 7:How to use your observations (pp. 166-177)
  4. Nilsen, B. (2001). Week by week.Plans for observing and recording young children (2nd ed.).Delmar Thomson Learning (pp. 1-17).
  5. Bruce, T., Louis, S. & McCall, G. (2015).Observing young children.New Delhi: Sage.Chapter 4: From baby to toddler (pp. 43-56).
  6. IGNOU (2016).Organizing a child care centre. Block 7. Unit 33.
  7. Harris, M. E. (2009). Implementing Portfolio Assessment.Young Children, 64 (3), 82-85.Available at:


  1. Bruce, T., Louis, S. & McCall, G. (2015).Observing young children.New Delhi: Sage.
  2. National Quality Standard, Professional Learning program (2012). Observing Children.
  3. Gathering and analyzing information to inform curriculum decision making. e- Newsletter no.39. Retrieved from
  4. Sharman, C.,Cross, W. Vennis, D. (2004).Observing Children: A Practical Guide. Continuum.
  5. Bentzen, W.R. (2005). Seeing young children.A guide to observing and recording behavior (5thed.). Canada: Thomson Delmar Learning.
  6. Meggitt, C & Bruce, T. (2015).CACHE Level 3 Child Care and Education (Early YearsEducator), Hachette: UK. Unit 7 Observation, assessment and planning
  7. Nilsen, B. (2001). Week by week. Plans for observing and recording young children. (2nd ed.). U.S.A : Delmar Thomson Learning
  8. Sharman, C., Cross, W. &Vennis, D. (2004). Observing Children: A Practical Guide.Continuum.
  9. Sen, R. S. and Bhargava, S (2014).Assessment in Early Years Education. Learning Curve, May, Section B, 36-3 Available at:
  10. Child Care today (2012).Child care observations. McGraw Hill higher education. Retrieved From