The Art of Observation and Documentation of Children’s Play


How might we use data to make children’s learning through play visible? Noticing and valuing the ideas, thinking, theories, questions and feelings of our youngest learners involves the process of observation. Understanding their strengths, interests, needs and challenges also comes from meaningful documentation. At the same time, one of the most difficult aspects of observing and documenting children’s play is the what and how. So much data can be gathered about our students that we get lost in what to look for. The end result is that data is either diluted or there is too much data. Another challenge to the process is what is worth documenting and how do we present data to reflect who our students are and to accurately make visible their learning stories. This action research explored the possible influences of teaching a pattern of observation and documentation on play practices. Findings that were revealed through a thematic approach to data analysis include: 1) feeling more intentional about what to look for and what to document; 2) becoming more aware about the filters and perspectives brought to the observation and documentation process; and 3) implementing the pattern to inform planning and to personalize play for students. Implications to future practice require systematic engagement with ongoing, collaborative practices of observing and documenting children’s play.

Author Information
Jennifer Wong-Powell, JWP Consulting - Inspired by Children, Mongolia

Paper Information
Conference: SEACE2024
Stream: Teaching Experiences

This paper is part of the SEACE2024 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Wong-Powell J. (2024) The Art of Observation and Documentation of Children’s Play ISSN: 2435-5240 The Southeast Asian Conference on Education 2024: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon