Make time for time samples

You have probably noticed ‘time samples’ as you choose your observation style in EarlyWorks but may never had the time to explore this function.  As many children are returning to their pre lockdown lives after extended periods of isolation, time samples might just come into their own, supporting educators as they support children transitioning back to childcare.

Unlike the other observation styles, time samples modify the observation template to include the option of recording the time, location, behaviour, and interaction.

You might use time samples to monitor how a child is transitioning to a new room.  You could add to the time sample every 30 minutes for a morning to see where the child is choosing to be, what behaviour they’re exhibiting, and who they are interacting with.  This information will give you an indication of how safe and secure the child is feeling. Are they always on their own? Are they staying in one ‘safe’ area of the room? Are they engaging with other children? Are they fearlessly exploring all the indoor and outdoor spaces?

Time samples might also be used to see if there is any pattern when children exhibit particular behaviours.  If a child becomes physical with other children, time sampling is a good way of recording where, when and with whom the behaviour happens to see if there is a pattern.  We might find that the outbursts only happen in one area, or during a particular activity or in the presence of a particular child or educator.  Once we have this information, we can better address the behaviour, planning experiences to support the child and family.

With many children returning to childcare after extended periods of lockdown, time samples might be used when children are finding it difficult to adjust back to their routine.  By recording what is going on for a child at regular intervals, we can gain insight into how the child is travelling. Have they slotted back in with their friends? Are they spending more time playing alone? Are they relaxed at mealtimes?  Once we have this information, we can ensure children’s individual needs are met as they transition back to pre-lockdown life.

If you are searching for a way to understand each child’s knowledge, strengths, interests, and emotional well-being, now might be the time to explore time samples in EarlyWorks.  The icing on the cake is embracing Time Samples might also provide evidence of Quality Area 1 Educational program and practice, and Quality Area 5 Relationships with children.

So now might be the time for time samples😊.

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