Observing, Interacting and Participating: Experiential Education in a Group Setting for Young Children


Welcome to the Towson University Child Care Center. We hope that your time with us will be beneficial and enjoyable. In order to help us serve you in your educational endeavors, please read and carefully consider the following information.

The goal of our center is to promote growth in our students across all areas of development in an educational setting that is stimulating and nurturing. We support families of our students’ and their growth in knowledge of child development and research.

As an observer, your task is to document what you witness with individual students and the class as a whole. You will be a temporary member of a classroom community while completing your observations, and therefore, have certain responsibilities to that community.

Observer Responsibilities

In order to observe, you must first register with TutorTrac. Here you can pick your observation time and classroom. If you are scheduled for a time and something comes up where you cannot make that time, you are responsible for calling the Center to cancel the appointment. If you miss 2 appointments, you will not be allowed to return without a written request from your professor. This request should be sent to Debbie Koman. Multiple “no shows” will cause you to be removed from the system and not allowed to observe. There are times where we can allow a “walk in” to observe in a classroom if someone cancels, but we need to know that you cannot make the appointment. It is also your responsibility to reschedule if you cancel an appointment. The office WILL NOT schedule observations for you.

When you arrive for your observation, use your TU OneCard to swipe into the building. If the swipe does not work, press the button on the call box to state your purpose and have the front office “buzz” you in. (It takes time in the beginning for the cards to get cleared to swipe in, so if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!)

Sign in to the log book at the front desk. On your first observation you will need to turn in the signed form that says you have read through and agree to the responsibilities outlined in here. You must also present your OneCard upon sign-in or you will not be permitted to observe. Get your name tag holder and your observation log sheet. At your designated start time you may report to your classroom and begin your observation. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will be marked as a “no show” and not allowed to observe.

Your job is to observe, not to interact. With that in mind, we know the students are very cute and will, at times, come to engage you in conversation. You do not have to be rude and are allowed to converse with a child who is talking to you. We do ask, though, that you not come with the purpose of play with the children, but instead, to document their own interactions in the classroom.

If your assignment calls for you to do a one-on-one interaction, you must obtain permission from the Lead Teacher first. The best way to contact the Lead for permission or to ask specific questions is via email. The front office can provide you with email information for the Leads.

During your observation you are to be “actively observing”. What does this mean? You are watching the children and taking notes. You are where the children are. This means if they are outside, you are outside, so please dress for the weather. If you bring a laptop/tablet for observation, please make sure it is fully charged before arrival. An outlet is not always available and cords running across the floor can be a safety hazard. Treat the Center, its staff, and students with respect. You are in a University setting and we expect you to conduct yourself as a professional.

Dress appropriately. Remember you will be around young children. No see-through shirts or midriff showing. No short shorts/skirts. Again, this is a professional setting and we want you to conduct yourself as such.

ABSOLUTELY NO CELL PHONES!!! If you have an emergency you need to let the Lead know and take any calls out in the hallway. If a teacher sees you on your phone you will be asked to leave and that time will not be initialed. Also, if a teacher notices you are using your laptop/tablet for anything other than note taking, you will be asked to leave. You may not use phones for note taking. Phone may be used for pictures only with the Lead’s permission.

Once your observation is completed you must have the Lead initial your sheet. If the Lead is occupied you can have the sheet initialed by the front office staff. We reserve the right to refuse an initial if we feel you are not meeting your responsibilities as outlined here.

Please note: upon submitting this form, you will be taken to another web page. You will have to print that page and bring it with you at the Student Daycare Center.

Course Name:
Course Title:
Course Section:
Professor's Name:
Professor's E-Mail Address:
Semester and Year:
Your Printed Name:
Your Email Address:
Phone number:

Source: "c:observers.interactors.participants.volunteers.stus.pars.fac.3.LLT.109.doc" - Revised 8.30.02