"Young children need their families and caregivers to work together" declared Amy Dombro, Judy Jablon and Margo Dichtelmiller in their Exchange article, "The Power of Observation."
"You and families each bring different sets of information to your relationships...You know about general patterns of child development and have developed a collection of strategies to support children's learning. Parents and other family members focus on 'their' child. They know the specific information about that one special child in their life...For caregivers to know a child well, they need both sets of information. You will never know what a family knows unless you create a relationship in which you can exchange information, ask questions, and listen to one another...
"An experienced teacher and trainer, Elizabeth Servidio, once said, 'It is very hard for parents not to like a teacher who really appreciates and likes their child.' Appreciating and liking a child is a good starting place for your relationship with families. Observing can help you get there...
"Observing creates an attitude of openness and wonder that allows you to know and understand the children you work with each day. When you observe, you slow down, listen to a child more carefully, and pause to reflect before leaping in to offer some direction or a helping hand. You see and respond to who a child is and what a child needs. Observing helps you build relationships by revealing the uniqueness of every child-including the child's temperament, strengths, personality, work style, and preferred mode of expression."
Exchange, September/October 2006