Completed Example

The example below is from Norcot Early Years Centre, who decided that their “Block Area” in their garden was the area they wanted to focus their research on. The setting took three observations (one per term) to look at the area and after each observation, they would react to and make changes accordingly.

Initial Observation Date: 16.11.16
Key findings: Children did not appear to use the block area much and when they did it was not for very long.
How many times did children use the area? Twice (across the morning)
How many times Adult was present in area? 3
Key language heard:  Single play – no language heard.
Actions: To speak to the children and staff about developing this area in order to try and engage the children more.

Following this initial observation, the setting followed what they highlighted in the “actions” column, and spoke to their children and staff about how they could develop the blocks area so that it got more usage and was a more effective learning space.

Following these discussions, Norcot Early Years Centre decided to change this area into a ‘building site’ in which children had a variety of equipment to plan and build things. The next observation highlighted the following:

Second Observation Date: 17.01.17
Key findings: Children were more interested and their level of involvement increased.
How many times child used area? 4 (across the morning)
How many times Adult was present in area? 7
Key language heard: Lots of vocabulary (especially mathematical). Children made ‘plans’ and drew plans
Actions: To provide ‘plans’ of buildings, builders magazines, contact one of the children’s parents to come in and talk to the children about building work.

The setting noted a large difference when they changed the area to a “building site” with more children using the area, more adults encouraging it’s use and more language being used in the area.

The setting still sited room for improvement, asking a parent who was in the building profession to come and talk to the children, as well as providing more stimuli in the area to widen vocabulary and ideas.

The final observation took place in the summer term, after a visit to the setting from a building control inspector:

Final Observation Date: 29.03.17
Key findings: Following the visit of the building control inspector, the children’s involvement with the area was greatly increased. They were making ‘lasers’ and writing and drawing plans.
How many times child used area? 5 (this is because the children stayed at the area for longer, resulting in much less ‘to and from movement’.)
How many times Adult was present in area? 2 (linked to above, adult support was not needed or appeared to be wanted, the resources extended the children’s play and they were very engaged and their involvement level was high)
Key language heard: The children ‘inspected’ buildings and asked for ‘planning applications’. They talked about ‘foundations’ and health and safety.
Actions: Staff have discussed the ‘growing garden’ with the children and this is the area to be developed next.

From this final observation, we can see that the area has been transformed from the start of the project. It is noted that advanced language about foundations and health and safety is being used by the children and now drawing and conversations were happening when before little to no interaction was taking place in the area. The observation highlights the long periods of time children were spending in the area, and the low number of adults shows how independent the children could be in their play.