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Work Sample Observations In Childcare

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Collecting work samples from each child is an effective documentation strategy that educators can save for portfolios. These samples can relate to the child's development or link to curriculum objectives.

Work samples can include writing or drawing tools such as drawings, cuttings, paintings, collages, writing samples, and photographs of construction projects.

Purpose Of Collecting Work Samples

Children’s original work samples are strong evidence that can be used to determine the child’s developing cognitive and creative abilities. Over time, as you view the child’s collection of work samples, you are able to physically see the distance travelled in each child’s learning and development. It enables you a the Educator to learn something new about the child’s emerging abilities and interests.

When using samples of early writing, this will help you know how children are progressing in a number of areas. Here are some examples:

  • Literacy—knowledge of the alphabet and print, emergent writing
  • Mathematics—number concepts and quantities, geometry
  • Physical—fine motor coordination
  • Cognitive—attention, representation

Examples Of Work Sample Observation

Once you have collected the child's work sample, you can include interpretations from the child, ideas theories, circumstances surrounding the experience, a description etc. By adding additional information, observations or brief comments to the child's work samples enhances the meanings behind the work that was created and link these to framework or areas of development.

Sample 1:

From this drawing, someone might conclude:

  • The child can draw a body with arms and legs.
  • The child’s drawing indicates an interest in sports, specifically the Seahawks.

Sample 2:

Sample 3:

Explanation of Sample 2: Kimberly likely knew she had drawn a square, since that writing looks like an adult’s labelling. If true, a date and a note from the educator explaining that, if true, on a sticky or on the back of the drawing would make the sample more useful.

Explanation of Sample 3: This child appears to have drawn a lot of ants together, based on an adult label. To possibly confirm that the child understands that ants live in groups or colonies, an educator could write down a child’s description of the drawing. The child appears to have drawn legs and other body parts. Again, asking the child to describe more about the drawing would help assess a child’s knowledge of the body parts of ants.

Both samples could also give information about children’s drawing abilities.

Collecting work samples over time is likely to show the child's effort, progress and achievement and is an authentic piece of documentation.

References:

  • Work Samples, Early Edu
  • Documenting Children's Learning Examples, Connect FDC
  • A Closer Look at Observation Methods, Tools and Techniques, Social Science Libre Texts
Last modified on Monday, February 15, 2021
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