Transforming and Teaching: Observing and Documenting the Learning and Care of Young Children

Applied Community Studies
Early Childhood Education
Course Code
ECED 1121
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered


Course Description
Students will practice the art, methods and skills relating to observing, recording, assessing, and documenting the care and learning of young children and care environments. To implement theses skills, students will learn the principles of developing appropriate environments and experiences for young children.
Course Content

 The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  1. There are observable behaviours typical of a young child's development. Observers take an integrated approach to the development of the whole child.
  2. Observation and documentation are the primary means of relating developmental theory to the individual child.
  3. Observation and documentation of the individual child are considered within the context of family, environment and culture.
  4. The child, situation and reason for the observation and documentation determine the choice of observation method.
  5. Observing, recording and documenting the behaviour of young children requires objectivity, discretion and practice.
  6. Caregivers work with parents to develop and maintain a positive transition from home to centre.
  7. Caring routines require sensitivity to the health, safety and nutritional practices and requires both sensitivity and respect from the adult.
  8. Caring includes individualized attention to the development of each child’s perception, cognition and language.  Social and emotional development is of prime importance and requires both sensitivity and respect from the adult.
Learning Activities

  • Lecture
  • Group Work
  • Oral Presentations
  • Practice in Simulated Environment
  • Observations
  • Documentations

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.

  • Written Papers
  • Group Assignments
  • Documentations
  • Classroom Attendance and Participation


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Examine methods of observing, documenting and planning care and curriculum experiences for young children as both an art and a skill.
    • Realize that observing young children is an art (personal influences and perceptions) as well as a set of skills, which require constant practice
    • Be able to select the appropriate methods of observing a young child in a situation
    • Recognize the components of observation skills
    • Consider the impact of the environment on the young child
    • Connect the observation to planning an individual emergent curriculum for the young child
    • Use the documentation as a means of scaffolding the current interests of the child into new learning experiences
    • Use documentation panels to communicate with the children, other staff, families and the community.
  2. Develop a deep respect for young children and curiosity about their experience of childhood.
    • Reawaken the ability to observe with all senses
    • Practice seeing details of children’s sensory explorations
    • Learn from children’s use of senses to explore and understand their world.
  3. Understand the connection between being aware of each child and the pedagogy of co-constructing quality learning experiences.
    • Practice seeing the details of how the young child uses open materials
    • Learn from the child’s interests and connection with their world
    • Examine the significance of power, adventure, drama and challenge
    • Use the principles and practices of emergent curriculum.
  4. Develop an image of each child as competent and inquisitive about their world.
    • Practice seeing the young child from the child’s perspective
    • See each child as a unique individual capable of fully experiencing their life.
  5. Reflect upon the connection between observing a child, theories of child development and individualized emergent curriculum.
    • Understand the connection between the child’s interests and their development
    • Understand the connection between the child’s interest and emergent curriculum.
  6. Understand the principles of care and learning.
    • Understand current theories of holistic infant and toddler development
    • Foster learning and development during care giving routines
    • Understand attachment theory and strategies used by caregivers to ease transitions from home to centre
    • Understand that child care is practiced from a family-centred approach.
  7. Understand the importance of aesthetic age-appropriate learning environments.
    • Design and discuss an aesthetic learning environment appropriate to young children
    • Describe the role of play as a learning medium for young children.
  8. Develop attitudes and skills of guiding young children in a sensitive and caring manner.
    • Select from a range of positive guidance methods, an appropriate strategy for guiding young children
    • Guide each child in a respectful manner
    • Use preventative and/or problem solving measures wherever possible.
Textbook Materials




No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for ECED 1121
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV ECE 103 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) No credit

Course Offerings

Summer 2023