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CHD 265: Advanced Observation and Participation in Early Childhood and Primary Settings continues to teach students about

valuable observation, documentation, and assessment techniques, while requiring real work place experience. This class allows us to apply concepts learned throughout the Early Childhood program to create a final project that uses observation strategies and activity planning. Including this field assignment proves that not only can I effectively observe young children, but can also observe classroom settings, specifically what I see, hear, and feel.

Field Assignment 0305 Classroom Observation

Observing a preschool classroom (4 yr olds)


What do you see in the classroom? 1.Daily schedule? I saw a daily schedule in the classroom that outlined various activities throughout the day. There was also a large calendar that highlighted the day, as well as, a few fun activities to get children excited about the schedule. 2.Helper charts? I noticed a helper chart that delineated tasks for various children to do. These tasks included, helping clean the table before and after eating times, putting the blocks away during clean up time, and passing out napkins at lunch time. 3.Printed materials that teach (sounds of words, names of objects, and other literacy skills)? What types? I observed a print rich environment. This room had several centers- 1. The color and shape center, which included posters that had various labeled shapes and colors, 2. The science center, which included labeled animals and the sounds each make. 3. The literacy corner, which included a variety of books, an ABC poster with all letters, and 4 posters that picture various objects with their names underneath (ball, pizza, window, kite, etc,), Every center in the room is also labeled. 4.Printed materials that give direction (charts to show how things work)? What types? The only printed material of this kind that I noticed was a poster that described how to open a door, a window, a trunk, etc. and how to close these items. For example- We close the window (includes picture), We open the door (includes picture). 5. Learning centers? As I stated above, there were many learning centers in the room. These include, the block center, the literacy center, the color and shape center, the science center, the dramatic play center. 6. Individual spaces? Although I did not notice individual spaces, I observed many opportunities for children to have individual play within these centers. In the book/literacy center, there were individual chairs so children could read by themselves. There is an hour block, both in the morning and afternoon, where children can play in any center they choose (this can be individual play). 7. Small group meeting spaces? There were three tables (not including the large table for meal times) scattered around the room that encouraged small group play. All centers in the room encouraged small group play because they cannot accommodate the entire class. 8. What images are on the walls? Although there is a lot of images, art, and posters, it is not overwhelming. Arts and Craft projects were displayed on the walls and, as said earlier, there were

many posters on the wall. There was a wall designated to pictures of the students in the room (this picture display was not overwhelming). What book cover images do you see? I saw an abundance of books in the literacy/book center. They had many books I had not seen before, as well as some very familiar ones. Book cover images included, The Bernstein Bears, The Hungry Catepillar, Corduroy. All books seemed positive (had positive images on the cover- children playing, ABCs, etc.) and age appropriate. What are the visible cues for keeping materials organized? Every center is labeled. Some of the objects within each centered are labeled as well. For example, in the block center, each shelf has a picture of the block that belongs within in it. The dramatic play (kitchen area) had a similar organization tool. They were drawers for utensils, bowls, and plates, and each drawer was labeled with a picture underneath. What visible cues are present for managing behavior? Throughout the room there were cues on managing behavior. There were a couple posters with various sayings, such as Be kind to your friends and Share with your friends. There was also a good behavior chart, where each child got a sticker when they followed directions during an activity or during transitions.

What do you hear? What do you hear as instruction is presented? I heard very calm and positive voices. The teacher and assistant teacher both used eye contact when giving instruction. What do you hear as children work in small groups? I heard a lot of talking while observing small group play. There were so many conversations going on, either between two children or one child speaking to the whole group. I also heard A LOT of laughter, which was so great. Do transitional activities (songs, chants, games) that teach content occur throughout the day? Throughout the day I heard a lot of transitional songs and chants. As the children arrived, the teachers sang a variety of good-morning songs. Each time there was a transition (from snack time to circle time, or center play to music time), at least one teacher would sing a song or chant. What types of child-to-child conversations do you hear? Child talked about what they had for snack, what they were going to do on the playground, what their favorite song is, what they were excited to do later in the day. Are there supportive words? The teachers were very friendly, using warm voices. They used supportive words that encouraged children to be creative and active in the classroom. Examples, Why dont you share your beautiful artwork with the class and Are you having trouble building the tower? Let me help you. Are there words that scaffold understanding of concepts? I did not notice any words that scaffolded understanding of concepts. Are there open-ended as well as closed questions? The teachers really tried to ask as many open-ended questions as they could throughout the day. What are you going to do when mommy picks you up? What color is your shirt? What book is your favorite? What do you feel? What do you feel when you are in this environment? (Is the emotional climate warm, neutral, cold?) The environment of this day care center was very positive and friendly. I felt at home when walking into the center. Although the center is in the basement of an office building, it was anything but dark and dull. The designer of the center put various light sources around the classrooms and in the reception area to create a warm and bright climate. The temperature in the center was not

freezing, nor was it too hot while I was observing. All teachers seemed very happy to be working at the center and always had a smile on their face when playing with the children. I really enjoyed observing this center because it was so beautifully designed and the environment was welcoming and positive.