Importance of Observing: Sage Learnings of an Early Years Teacher

According to the California Preschool Program Guidelines, when preschool teachers and early caregivers observe and record brief moments of student learning through play, those records help parents understand how beneficial play is in helping children grow. Latest research has also proven that the importance of observing cannot be ignored in childcare settings. We spoke to an EYFS teacher to create a list of observation tools and techniques you can use to gather information about the students in your childcare.

What is the Process of Observation in Early Childhood Education?


Being aware of who is in your class is essential if you want to foster a caring classroom community and a respectful learning environment. Look for those who are the leaders in your group; determine who needs more one-on-one support and who are your assistants; and keep an eye on who plays with whom. This knowledge can assist you in organizing peer scaffolding opportunities, easing out the process of observation. 


The evaluation process and continuous quality improvement (CQI) planning both rely heavily on behavior observation. You will want to observe each child as an individual as well as monitor group interactions. Observation is also used by EYFS teachers to inform digital teaching techniques.

What are the Objectives of Observation in Early Childhood Education?

  • When you have an objective view of the child, you can notice more of his talents, hobbies, and personality traits.
  • Look for strategies to build each child’s self-esteem. You can use the importance of observing to reward both success and effort.
  • As you discover more about the child, your bond will strengthen. To connect with him, ask him about his hobbies and explore common interests.
  • Examine how to get a child to engage with you, other kids, and the learning environment. Set up an environment with activities that he enjoys.
  • Assess each child’s growth by reflecting on his personality traits and creating a curriculum based around the importance of observing.
  • If the child’s growth or behavior differs from what is expected, verify with his family whether it is typical or atypical of him to respond a certain way.
  • Be aware that not all student interactions are fruitful and lead towards growth. This is why you should keep an eye on the quality of each child’s interactions. 
  • The importance of observing lies in making tweaks. Try a different method or activity if something doesn’t work. 
  • Environment observation skills can be used to inform program procedures and policies. Examine the program’s overall support for all children and learning. 
  • Make observation a habit, including it into all interactions and activities, and keep an eye out for minor changes and unique characteristics. 

Take notes while participating in activities or immediately after. When you’re busy with teaching and caring responsibilities, it’s easy to forget about significant moments.

What is the Importance of Observing in Early Childhood?

You should assimilate information about children’s skills and their social interactions to:

  • Identify special needs
  • Track behaviors
  • Assess student growth
  • Remodel the curriculum
  • Communicate progress to families


The importance of observing is a long-term process that involves constant monitoring and analysis of recorded observations to ensure that children are developing at the desired rate. If there is a problem, observation of the child’s cognitive, social, physical, and emotional signs rapidly reveals the area in which the kid is having difficulty, allowing you to address the problem and ensure the child is receiving appropriate support.

Early caregivers and EYFS teachers who work with young children are always involved in the importance of observing through the observation cycle (given below):

  • While engaging with children through their play, you should make professionally informed decisions about your responses that allow them to deepen, extend, and support their interactions and learning.
  • Use the ‘Observe, Assess, Plan’ technique to see how children lead their play, both alone and with others, and to assess how well they have grasped and absorbed their learning.

How do you Record the Process of Observation in Early Years?


Children’s Skills



Take a picture of a clay work, a painting, or a block structure they make in the sandbox area. Catch your students on video while they are playing in the play area or dancing to music.


Use your good observation skills to keep track of how the child writes his name by saving writing examples. Include pictures from tales kids enjoy as well as stories they write. You can also make audiotapes of talks during circle time.


Plan and photograph a scientific experiment. Take a picture of a finished puzzle. Record a toddler constructing a block bridge using a video camera. Also, when he outlines his approach and how he had to work out all the measures to take to keep the bridge from collapsing, make a note of it.


When the child engages in child-directed play, make anecdotal notes. Keep an eye on how the kids collaborate and share with others. Perform a frequency count of their play patterns to determine if they prefer to play alone or with others.

Fine Motor

Keep track of the progress your students make with relation to tying their shoes, buttoning and zipping. Include samples of their painting, coloring, and cutting projects too.

Gross Motor

Photograph your students when they’re engaged in outdoor activities like riding a bike, climbing, jumping or running.

When is the Best Time to Record the Process of Observation?


Use your good observation skills to observe children’s skills at various times throughout the day.

1. Spontaneous Observations

Spontaneous observations are occurring all the time. Teachers have multiple opportunities to watch and hear some remarkable changes as they occur at random, whether they are actively involved with their students during an activity or cleaning up after an activity. 


Advantages: When you’re there, you may congratulate a youngster on a job well done or offer positive reinforcement to assist them in reaching significant milestones. A youngster is less likely to be self-conscious or frightened when the instructor maintains a low profile. 


Disadvantages: The longer you wait to capture your spontaneous observation data, the more difficult it will be to stay objective and retain key facts that are crucial for tracking behaviors or measuring growth. The longer it takes to obtain correct data, the more difficult it will become.

2. Scheduled Observations

When you’re planning an observation at first, you might feel a little overwhelmed at first when attempting to fit an official observation time into your already hectic schedule. Some children take a long time to warm up, and it may take some time for them to feel comfortable enough to completely engage and connect with others. For example, the morning drop-off may not be the greatest moment to monitor a child’s social development if they are slow to warm up. 


Advantages: Because your time is limited and you can’t possibly observe everything, including a scheduled observation into your hectic day can help you get through it and provide you with more particular information.


Disadvantages: You may find it difficult to strike the right balance between interacting with your children and knowing when to take a step back and observe. 

Observation and Assessment: Do’s and Dont’s

Make recording children’s skills a smooth and hassle-free process with Illumine. The childcare software will help you realize the importance of observing by gathering detailed data and objective evidence in the form of milestones, assessment reports, and progress history of your students. But there are certain do’s and dont’s you must adhere to while conducting behavior observation.

Key Takeaways From the Importance of Observing

Many childcare centers have made the switch to Illumine’s innovative assessment tool to reflect on the importance of observing. Within the app, you can record the child’s progress and review all the evidence you’ve collected. 

Creating and sharing accurate behavior observation reports with parents using our hi-tech software will help you establish a good working relationship with them and also attract potential parents, which is every center’s primary goal. Basically, Illumine is an all-in-one app to help you make the process of observation fast, simple, and cost effective. Request a free 11-day trial with all features here.

FAQs About Importance of Observing Early Years Children

Q 1. What kind of assessment tools are used in early childhood?

Assessment tools like child portfolios, rating scales, and observations are used to reiterate the importance of observing in early years. 

Q 2. How can I use Illumine to record assessments for the importance of observing?

Illumine monitors progress against development areas and milestones for each child. 

Q 3. How do you share assessment results with parents using Illumine?

Under learning on the Illumine app, go to student assessment and select the student for whom you’d like to do the evaluation. Then, using the create assessment option, conduct an assessment which the parent will receive as soon as you finish it.

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