You are here

Observation: Origins and Approaches to Early Childhood Research and Practice

Note:    Observation: Origins and approaches (2012) published by McGraw Hill/Open University Press is NOT a second edition of this work but is an adaptation by Paulette Luff intended for a UK readership. It not approved for sale or use in New Zealand.   


This book provides:

  • a comprehensive overview of the history of observation in early childhood education
  • a range of practical techniques, both qualitative and quantitative for practitioners
  • a section, mainly for researchers, on ethics and also recording, analysing, and reporting observational data. 

It is rich in examples and draws on a variety of New Zealand studies to illustrate different approaches:

  • time sampling
  • category observations
  • rating scales
  • running records
  • ethnography
  • Learning Stories
  • Teaching Stories.

It illustrates how observations in early childhood settings can contribute to providing high-qualilty education. Systematic observation, using sociocultural approaches can help teachers:

  • understand children's strengths and interests
  • participate sensitively in their learning
  • link theory with practice and critique theoretical ideas
  • connect closely with Te Whäriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum
  • evaluate their teaching practice
  • understand aspects of children's worlds
  • practise more inclusive strategies for a diverse range of learners.

The author has provided a stimulating array of ideas about observation and its benefits. Any practitioner or researcher using this book will find much to enhance their professional practice.

Valerie Podmore is an associate professor in the School of Education Studies at Victoria University College of Education in Wellington. She has been actively involved in co-ordinating observational research projects in early childhood education settings for many years.