Caring for babies
Caring for children
Health, hygiene and safety
Learning experiences and play
Legal and ethical issues
Rules for making observations
The letters below represent the essential techniques for good observing and recording skills. Have a look at the mnemonic, RAAVOOM can help you remember these important points.
Reliability To be reliable means to be conscientious and consistent. It also means being fair and just. You need to observe exactly what you see and hear.
Attentiveness Do not be distracted by side issues. If this becomes a problem, maybe you could select another method of observation and an alternative time. For example, you might write an Anecdotal Record after the event rather than a Running Record at the time of occurrence. You may need to make sure other staff are able to support you by taking on additional responsibilities during the time you are recording observations.
Accuracy Use precise language in descriptions of behaviour.
Validity For observations to be valid, the most appropriate recording method must be used. Did the observation record what you intended to observe?
Objectivity Be aware of how stereotype attitudes affect objectivity. It is essential to constantly self-assess your objectivity. It is challenging to remain objective in stressful situations, but you can do this by remembering to write down only what you see or hear. Describe what the child is doing, how they are doing it, when they are doing it and with whom. NOT WHY.
Organising time Observations and recordings are important, but they are only a small part of the professional responsibility of a trained caregiver. Since you are a student, it is understood that you require time to learn and practice your skills. As a trained caregiver with responsibility for a group of children, you will need to efficiently organise your time so you can carry out observations as well as meet all the other responsibilities of caregiving.
Maintaining focus Remember: you need to collect information that will give you a reliable picture of the child in a variety of settings and contexts.