Explain the role of observation in planning

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.8: Understand how to plan to meet the needs of the developing child
Learning outcome: Understand how to plan to meet the needs of children
Assessment criteria: Explain the role of observation in planning


Observations are an important part of planning in an Early Years setting. This type of observation gives educators the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their students and how they interact with their environment. It also helps educators plan activities that are tailored toward the individual needs of each student, as well as identify areas where the students may need additional help or guidance. Let’s take a closer look at how observation plays a role in early years planning.

Types of Observation

When it comes to observation in early years planning, there are two main types that educators use: direct and indirect. Direct observations involve actively observing a particular activity such as art making or outdoor play. This type of observation allows educators to get an up-close look at how the children interact with their environment and one another. Indirect observations involve more passive activities like listening to conversations or observing interactions from afar. This type of observation gives educators insight into the way students communicate and work together without interfering with their natural flow of activities.


Utilizing Observations

Once observations have been made, it is important for educators to analyze the data they have collected and utilize it to plan appropriate activities for their students. Educators should consider not only individual needs but also group dynamics when planning activities so that all students feel included and supported within the learning environment. Additionally, observations can be used to identify areas where students may need additional assistance or guidance. For example, if a student is having difficulty completing a certain task, an educator can use this information to create more tailored activities that will help them reach their goals.


Observations play an integral role in early years planning by allowing educators to gain deeper insights into their students and develop age-appropriate activities that meet the individual needs of each learner. By utilizing both direct and indirect observations, educators can identify areas where additional support may be needed while also creating experiences that foster collaboration among peers. When done properly, this process can greatly enhance learning outcomes for all involved!

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