. Focus for Observation:

  • Observe an infant playing and exploring with an adult for 10-15 minutes.
  • Watch and listen carefully. Pay attention to details of children’s gaze, eye movements, facial expressions, gestures, sounds and vocalizations, fine and gross motor movements, interactions with objects, and interactions with other people. Similarly, pay careful attention to and record the details of the adult’s behavior (for any adult involved in this interaction in some way).
  • For this specific observation, look carefully and try to note examples of scaffolding during the joint exploration and play between the infant and adult. You’ll be writing about these in the Reflection.
  • You’ll want to take notes during this observation. And you may want to add to the notes you made during the observation shortly after the observation is over. Your notes should be VERY detailed and should, as much as you can, describe events as they are connected in time-try to capture the ‘story line’ of what is happening, not just isolated images. We can hold a lot of detailed information like this in our heads for only a short period of time before we forget it. So get it down on paper as soon as you can.
  • Use the Observation form to summarize you observation notes. Refer to the Observation form with “notes” for guidance.
  • Complete the Interpretation and Reflection Questions section of the Observation form. Use the Observation Form with prompts, including the reflection prompts below to guide your writing.

Assignment-specific reflection questions

For your focus child, ask yourself what you think is going on in this child’s mind during the time you have been observing. Look at your documentation and think about the following questions relating to scaffolding and the ZPD:

  • Did you note any moments when the adult tried to guide the infant’s learning during this observation? Do you think that this was an example of scaffolding or “doing for”? What did you notice that makes you think this? Be specific.
  • What do you think the infant is learning: about whatever it is s/he is exploring? About him or her self? About the caregiver?
  • Looking at this now, if you were the adult in this situation, how would you like to respond? Be specific.
  • Do you notice any other sources of scaffolding: other children? The set up of the physical environment? Etc?
  • If you do not see any examples of scaffolding in your observation, what are your thoughts now about how scaffolding might expand opportunities for this infant’s exploration and learning?
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