Contribute to the Support of Child and Young Person Development 1. 2 Identify different observation methods and know why they are used There are four different methods of observing a child within the nursery and they are; naturalistic, structured, longitudinal and snapshot. Naturalistic observations are observations of children which are carried out in the child’s usual surroundings. The observation allows the child to carry out tasks which they would normally carry out without any structuring being attempted by the practitioner observing the child.
Structured observations are the opposite of naturalistic. This is when the practitioner has specifically set up a particular activity in order to observe how a child carries out a specific task. For example, an obstacle course could be created to observe a child’s balance and co-ordination, or a painting activity to observe a child’s fine motor skills, or seeing if a child can successfully use inset boards to observe their mathematic development.
Longitudinal observations are when you have settled into a pattern of regularly observing the children in your care and recording your findings, you will begin to build up longitudinal records of observation, as your findings will show how the children in your care change and progress over a lengthy period of time.
Each child’s set of records and observations will be their longitudinal record which will enable the important adults in their lives, namely you, their key worker, and their parents, to identify the important milestones and achievements in their lives.
As the name suggests, snapshot observation involves trying to achieve a ‘snapshot’ of how a child is behaving at any given period of time. For example, a snapshot observation of how a child reacts immediately after their parent has dropped them off may be helpful in trying to deal with a child who is clingy and difficult to settle.