A childminder is required to record observations as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and yet, how do you actually 'make' and record observations in a setting while trying to do other things and look after the children?
The easiest was is to use ToucanLearn's unique Daily Diary. By logging what you see, what the children say, any milestones etc on the Daily Diary you get a great personal record for yourself to monitor and to share with parents too... and you don't impact on the care you are giving by having to scratch around for paper and note books. Sign up at our website and start using ToucanLearn for free!
Use a digital camera or mobile phone to record what happens. Take pictures of special crafts, achievements or just everyday shots of the little ones going about their playing.
Take video of the children mastering tasks and having fun. Try to encourage them not to act up in front of the camera but to just be as 'normal' as they can... may be hard!
Have a note book somewhere central at all times and jot down observations. You can then stick them on a poster or add them to the ToucanLearn.
Maintain a weekly observation chart and add an entry each week in order to monitor overall progress.
We've progressed a long way from the Victorian days when children were best kept our of sight and out of mind, but the sad truth is that modern living often means that your children spend more time with a childminder than they do with you. Are you kept informed of how your children are doing, and do you have a good idea of their progress?
The government's Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requires for child minders, carers and nursery teachers actively to keep records of every child's progress. Make sure that you are getting the level of information you want about your children and how they are developing. If you aren't hearing enough, then ask for more - if you feel your childminder is being too diligent, then they will be delighted to be asked to reign back a bit and tell you just what you want to hear!
At ToucanLearn, every child receives their own Daily Diary designed especially for childminders to share information with parents. By sharing the Daily Diary you can stay informed about what your children are doing every day. This service can be used for free, but premium members can also upload photos to keep a photographic record of everything they do too.
We know from feedback that we receive about our service that many parents are able to view what their children are doing throughout the day - they can see pictures of new artwork once it has been uploaded, and they can read what their little ones are making, doing and eating during the day. Here at ToucanLearn we're dedicated to helping working parents share as much information about their children as they can. If you don't feel you are getting the information you want from your childminder, why not ask them to start posting a Daily Diary in ToucanLearn? Our FREE service means they don't even have to spend a penny to do so!
At ToucanLearn we encourage you to keep a daily diary for your little ones, but if you have children of a school age who can read or write, why not have them record a diary of their baby and toddler siblings? A diary kept by a young child of their younger sibling would make for a fascinating account, you would get a glimpse of their understanding of the world and interpretation of events. If your children are too young to be able to write, then how about trying to keep a recorded diary, making an audio or video recording each day? It's really easy to make audio and video recordings these days, using mobile phones, smartphones or laptops or computers with webcams.
Keeping a diary of a young baby from a siblings perspective would make for an interesting project for you, but would become an invaluable record for your children in years to come!
Observing children forms a fundamental part of the Early Years Foundation Stage, childminders are required to observe children and make notes. This helps to record each child's progress through EYFS and also helps you to plan ahead and work out what areas of learning to focus on for the medium term. Key to observing children is simply that - watching what they do without offering any external direction, or offering only minimal interaction. Childminders are so used to interacting with their wards that it can feel a little strange just stepping away and watching!
Make notes of what you observe; you might choose to do this straight into a diary, or you might prefer to take notes whilst you watch and later write them up more formally. A written record creates an invaluable resource both for you and to share with parents, or indeed to carers in other settings.
When you undertake your planning, go back though your diaries of observations and work out what areas of learning you need to concentrate on over the coming weeks. Compare your notes over time to ensure that your children are progressing. Although keeping a diary seems a big chore, if you write it regularly you will quickly find that it takes very little time and becomes part of your routine. A number of ToucanLearn members are using their private blog spaces to record their observations and this is an area that we intend to improve to facilitate better records for professional childminders and diligent parents alike!