Observation of young children, their development, and planning for next steps is a fundamental requirement of early years practice. Awareness of appropriate techniques, understanding what you are observing, as well as what it all means in terms of planning for learning is an essential yet difficult skill to acquire.
This is a very practical book on observing young children that supports you in preparing a child observation case study. Taking a step-by-step approach the book covers the whole process beginning with choosing a child to study before discussing the fundamentals of child observation.
It includes invaluable guidance on:
The ethics of your study
Appropriate techniques and tools for gathering data
Observations that are useful
How to select material to include
Analyzing or interpreting the information
The book includes many examples of good observations, which help show how your own observations can be evaluated, analyzed and used. In addition there is a fully worked example of a child observation case study in the penultimate chapter.
If you are studying early years or early childhood studies at foundation, undergraduate or Master's degree level then this book will really help you get to grips with how a good child observation study unfolds and develops.
Cath Arnold works at the Pen Green Centre, an internationally renowned Children's Centre in Corby, UK. She is author of Observing Harry (Open University Press 2003).
This is a fascinating and accessible new book on child observation case study for students and professionals. Cath Arnold integrates theoretical perspectives and practical examples of observations with remarkable clarity in this comprehensive guidance to child case study.
Shirley Allen, Senior Lecturer Early Childhood Studies, Middlesex University
It is quickly evident to the reader that 'Doing Your Child Observation Case Study' is steeped in the expertise and extensive experience of its author. The practical guidance it offers is likely to prove invaluable for childhood studies students and early career researchers in the field. Yet Cath Arnold's 'step-by-step guide' goes far beyond the practical. She shines vital light on the complex nuances of values, beliefs, ethics and rights inherent in child case study and addresses with clarity and credibility the crucial role that theory can play in supporting our understanding of children's actions. This text is an excellent addition to the childhood studies bookshelf.
Dr Jane Murray, Centre for Education and Research, University of Northampton, UK
Cath Arnold has provided a rich resource for those who want to understand more about children, their wellbeing and their learning. This detailed approach to child observation offers guidance on why, how and what to observe, and how to interpret what is observed. Rich in examples collected over many years 'Doing your Child Observation Case Study' will get many early years practitioners started on their own learning journeys as they watch and engage with young children to develop detailed impressions of children's development.
Professor Cathy Nutbrown, Head of The School of Education, The University of Sheffield
In this new book Cath is once more supporting early childhood educators to engage in the strong UK tradition of child observations; the tradition of Piaget, Novara, Darwin and Susan Isaacs. She has developed her own understanding of the importance of observational studies building on the giants whose shoulders we all stand on. This powerful publication combines insights into both the theory and practice of developing child observations in an early years setting. Cath demonstrates how detailed and powerful records of children's learning and development speak to practitioners and hold their value over time in a world where early educators are increasingly obliged to devote enormous amounts of their energy filling in forms, schedules and are hard pressed to reject the pressure of tick box developmental checks and imposed tracking schemes.
This book lights the way to a much deeper way of documenting children's learning and development. As educators we need to match children's learning with rich curriculum content and this book reminds us that we can only achieve this critical pedagogical task if we have closely watched what it is that excites and interests each individual child. 'Doing Your Child Observation Case Study' shows us the way to be well informed practitioners able to offer children a really rich learning experience.
Dr. Margy Whalley, Director of the Research, Development and Training Base at the Pen Green Centre and Centre for Children and their Families