Observe: Sit in an unobtrusive place where you can watch and listen for about 20 minutes. You may need to move out of the infant’s or toddler’s visual range in order to avoid distracting the child and/or influencing his or her interactions with the adult. As you observe:
Use the Observation Guide to record notes on what you see and hear.
Note any ways that you observe the adult fostering social-emotional development and note any questions you have for the adult.
Keep your attention focused on the child and adult.
Remember to stay as objective as possible. You may observe a lot of activity from the child or very little.
Remember that despite similarities shared by children of various ages, each child is different and goes through the stages of social and emotional development in his or her own way. Keep this uniqueness in mind as you observe the child.
Enjoy the experience. Use what you’ve learned this week to try to imagine the world through the eyes of an infant or toddler.
Be respectful of the child’s and adult’s time. Stick to the time span you agreed to for the observation. Be sure to thank the adult and child for their cooperation.
Remember that this observation experience is intended as a chance for you to learn. Do not criticize or attempt to instruct the adult on ways to foster social and emotional development.
Reflect on your observation. Review your notes as many times as necessary. Then, describe the interactions you observed between the adults and children as follows:
What infant social-emotional behaviors did you see?
How did the adult respond to the child’s social-emotional behaviors?
What information do these interactions give you about the child’s developmental goal or goals?
Imagine yourself as the adult during the slice of time you observed. What suggestions would you find valuable for fostering the child’s social-emotional development?
Based on what you have learned, how do you hope to support the developmental goals of very young children during your interactions with them?