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Where we foster excellence in education that challenges students of every background to develop their intellect, character, and abilities; to assist students in achieving their educational and career goals; and to be responsive to the greater community.

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Guidelines for Observations

Guidelines for Observations

Children are unique, complex and at times challenging. As part of your ongoing studies you will be asked to observe children, teachers or environments. The experience is designed to help you learn more about normal development and the differences of young children at various ages and abilities as they interact with each other and their teachers.

Observations can inform your planning, provide an understanding of a child's competence level, allow discovery of the child's interests, and document concerns and areas of growth.

General Guidelines

  • Once you have an observation assignment, call and make an appointment with the lab schools office. 760-355-6232 or 760-355-6528.

  • Before any observations are done you must sign the Confidentiality Statement and return it to your instructor. The statement must be on file in the lab schools' office or you will not be allowed to enter the classrooms.

  • You must sign in and out when entering or leaving the labs. Use student observation card to punch your time in and out. This will be given to your instructor at the conclusion of your observation.

  • Find a comfortable place to sit where you have a good view of the room. Keep in the background so that the teachers and children don't notice you as much. If children ask what you are doing, say something ambiguous, such as "writing". If the children ask for help, direct them to a teacher. You are there to observe.

  • Show respect for the child and the family. Everything you see or hear is confidential. You may not repeat anything about the staff, children or facility that happens during your use of the labs. A basic respect for others is expected and demanded by professional ethics.

  • Do not interrupt teachers and other staff in the classroom to ask questions. You can go to the office and arrange time for interviews or questions. You may acknowledge a child if the child approaches you, but you may not call a child away from their activities. Redirect children to the teacher if they continue to approach you. You are not there to play with the children.

  • When you are in the classroom focus on the task you are there to do. Leave your personal problems at the gate.

  • When observing in the labs, wear comfortable modest clothing.  Don't forget when you are deciding what to wear you will be in the classroom where there are children with paints, markers, glue, etc., things happen. For your safety and the children's do not wear open toed footwear, extra high platforms, flip flops, or high heels. Halter tops, short shorts, short skirts, and low cut tops are not appropriate when observing in a classroom.

  • You are never to be alone with a child while in the classroom. A teacher must be present at all times.

  • Wear your student ID at all times when you are in the labs.

  • Do not take backpacks or purses into the classroom when you are observing. There are lockers available but you must bring your own lock and take it with you when you leave.

  • Try to keep a pleasant, neutral look on your face at all times when in classroom.

  • Avoid talking to other adults.

  • Bring whatever you need for the observation.

  • No chewing gum, smoking, drinking, or eating when in the classroom.

  • No cell phone usage

Read Next "Successful Observations"