Home-based Early Learning Program

Added Advantage 

Serving London, Ontario 

Purpose, Practice, Patience

Observation takes....


Repeated practice, reflection and commitment to make the time


Observation comes through watching who or what they play with, actively listening to conversations, seeing how they change or manipulate materials to create what they need, noticing when they continue play from one day to another and how it evolves.


The practice of really being ‘there’ for the children / program. Means that Educators need to be down on the floor engaged in the children’s play to ensure that we see and hear what the children are exploring / wondering / investigating / learning.


Observation takes reflection by the educator. Educators who team teach need to be committed to communicating thier observatins with each other...to get the whole picture. Also do not forget to share with parents as well, they may have insights from home to share as well making the picture complete.



Questions to discuss / ponder when observing

  • What do you think they were trying to do?
  • What seemed to draw the children in?
  • How can we challenge them further?
  • How can we expand these skills into other domains?
  • What surprised you / what are you curious about?
  • Are there specific interactions that you found interesting?

Documentation takes....
  • Practice to remember to take photos of children’s engagements and work.
  • Organization of ways to save authentic work, representations.
  • Finding time to record conversations or anecdotal notes, etc.
  • It also takes commitment to keep documentation current and relevant to recent interests and investigations.

Documentation can come in many forms. Examples include taking photos / video clips, writing anecdotal notes, tape recording conversations, collecting individual date to create 'authentic' portfolios of children's work and growth or any combination of the above.


The more technology that comes available to us at more and more affordable rates, the easier it becomes to create more realistic portrayals of children's work. For example, through using a digital video recorder and and combining with a PowerPoint presentation with the actual video clips of children's accomplishments can really mean something for parents / families who do not get to spend this portion of the day with their precious little ones. Also as educators, using this form of documentation can reduce the amount of space taken up previously by traditional hand written documentation.


Tips for Documentation

  • Be Objective: Record exactly what you see opposed to your opinion of what happened.
  • Be Specific: Record exactly what you see opposed to your opinion of what happened.
  • Include Direct Quotes: These indicate level of language development / problem solving skills, conflict resolution and other social skills.
  • Be Complete: Describe incidents from beginning to end, who was involved, what occurred, their reactions.

A Sample of a Documentation Panel


To the best of my recollection this is a photo from a tour of a preschool in St. Louis - awesome sample of documentation and how sometimes the picture can show what words cannot!