Observation Guidelines - NIU - Child Development Lab

Child Development Lab

Child Development Lab
Gabel Hall 169-170
Phone: (815) 753-1150
Fax: (815) 752-0023
Email: dwhite6@niu.edu

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
7:45 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.



Observation Guidelines

Observation is defined as a systematic way to look at and record children’s behavior. Observation can be used to gain insight into a child’s behavior and assist observers in making connections with course content. For the purposes of the CDL, observations are to occur from within the observation booth when observing indoors and outside the fence area when observing on the playground. Observers are not able to accompany children on walks outdoors. The observation application only grants access for Faculty to utilize the CDL as on observation site for their students from the observation booth. This type of observation does not include interaction with the children or access to the classrooms.

  • Faculty members who would like to arrange for their students to use the CDL for observation must complete an Observation Application aa.
  • The best times to observe are between 7:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and between 2:30 and 5:00 p.m., as 12:30 to 2:30 is nap time.
  • All observers must check in at the main office in Gabel 169.  Observers will need to show a photo ID, and names will be checked against a class roster submitted by the instructor.
  • Observers will be admitted into one of the secured observation booths: 1) Infant/Toddler/Two in Gabel 170; or, 2) Preschoold in Gabel 170.
  • Blanket consent forms included in registration contracts permit their observation during ordinary classroom activities from the observation booth.
  • Photos with children's first names and birthdates are hanging in each booth for your reference.
  • Copies of daily classroom schedules are also posted in the observation booths.
  • Questions regarding sound equipment or other observation related questions should be directed to the main office in Gabel 169.
  • Our Office Support will contact you once your application has been received and approved. The approval process should take no longer than one week.

Each classroom is equipped with an observation booth with audio. Universal jacks are installed in the booth to work with your own personal headphones. You are encouraged to supply your own headphones; however, if you do not have headphones you may check out a set in the main office in Gabel 169. In order to check out a head set, you must sign out a pair by listing your name, phone number and email address on the sign out sheet. Failure to return headsets will result in a loss of observation privileges.

When observing, it is important to adhere to the following guidelines; failure to do so will result in loss of privileges:

  • All information obtained during observation time is considered confidential.
  • Please remain quiet while observing; do not engage in conversations with other observers about the program, staff or children.
  • If observing outdoors while children are on the playground, station yourself on the outside of the fence and be as unobtrusive as possible.
  • No food or drink (other than water) is allowed in the observation booth.
  • Students not following observation booth guidelines will be reported to their Faculty Sponsor.
  • No picture taking is allowed, and cell phones must be turned off while observing.
  • Leave lights off.
  • Do not tap glass.

Here are the current daily schedules for each of our three classrooms: ITT East, ITT West, and Preschool