Observation is learning!

Posted on by Helena Eddings

For the child, observation is vital to learning everything.

We think of learning as happening when a child begins school, or as something that is the result of direct instruction and explanation. Learning instead happens constantly. Observation is learning, and a child is observing from her very first days.

Some of the greatest achievements a child will make come directly as a result of observation.


Infants watch the mouths of adults around them, focusing on and mimicking movements. Children learn to feed themselves by watching their families at a shared meal. Walking is another developmental milestone which requires no direct instruction, no studying, no “learning,” just observation, opportunity, and practice.

Observation 1

“Observation is learning, and a child is learning constantly.”

 Observing a lesson might help a child attach to new material just as strongly as receiving that lesson herself. A child might feel ready to try a material after watching other children work with that material over and over and over. A child watches someone else make a mistake, struggle with a solution, find a resolution herself or ask for help, and the observing child feels more comfortable with making his own mistakes.

Observation 2

In order to learn how children are doing, what they might be ready for or how we can best support their development, we observe. We watch what they are watching and then what follows. Is it a simple glance or intentional, focused, concentrated observation? Is this a work a child already knows or something new to them? Why are they watching?

obervation 3

Observation is learning, and a child is learning constantly. Sometimes we call it play, sometimes we call it work, sometimes we call it watching, sometimes we call it nothing.


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West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school) with locations at 13587 Roachton Rd in Perrysburg, Ohio, and 7115 W. Bancroft Street in Toledo, Ohio.