Observer Guidelines


Welcome to the Santa Rosa Junior College Children's Center. The philosophy of the Children's Center is this: we believe that a high quality early childhood program provides a safe and nurturing environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative development of young children while responding to the needs of families and our community.

The Children's Center is located in the Robert Call Child Development Center on the south side of campus next to the Armory. There are currently six children's classrooms in use: the Rose infant room for children 6-18 months old; the Rose and Heather toddler rooms for children 18-36 months old; and the Blue, Teal, and Raspberry preschool rooms for children 3 - 5 years old. Each classroom may be viewed from an adjacent observation room.


We invite you to use our center as an observation/learning site. In order to facilitate use of the center, we ask that you respect our department philosophy regarding studying young children.


         The Child Development Department advocates the naturalistic approach to studying young children.


         Naturalistic studies look at what children do under normal, everyday circumstances.


         We do not allow students to use an experimental approach where the environment is modified to elicit certain types of behavior or where specific tasks are presented to assess the child’s developmental level.


  1. Your child development instructor will issue you the pass code to enter the observation rooms. Additionally, you must wear your student ID card with a sticker that will be issued to you by your instructor. The pass code and stickers change each semester. Parents who wish to use the observation rooms will be issued a sticker and pass code by the Children's Center office. NOTE: NEITHER THE CHILDREN'S CENTER OFFICE NOR THE CHILD DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT OFFICE WILL ISSUE YOU THE PASSCODE. IF YOU FORGET TO BRING THE CODE, YOU WILL NEED TO RE-SCHEDULE YOUR OBSERVATION. PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB THE OFFICE STAFF (It may seem like a small question to you, but there are literally thousands of observations done each semester, and these interruptions add up.)


  1.  ALL visitors/observers MUST sign-in each time they enter an Observation Room.  A binder with the sign-in sheets will be kept on the counter in each Observation Room.


  1. This is a learning environment.  Turn off and put away your cell phone, tablet, IPod, and laptop.  You may not take or make phone calls, write or read text messages, take photographs or videos, make audio recordings, listen to music, or play games while observing in the observation rooms, in the classroom, or in the play yard.

No photographs and No videos may be taken in the center or observation rooms.  No exceptions!


  1. While you are observing downstairs, you are under the supervision of the Children’s Center staff, and you must comply with their instructions or directions.


  1. Remember that what you observe here is to remain confidential. Your discussions regarding the children and teachers should occur in your classroom with your instructor. Parents of enrolled children and child development staff use the observation rooms too - please conduct yourselves accordingly.



  1. Enter the observation room quietly.


  1. Limit conversation. If it is necessary to talk, please use a quiet voice, preferably a whisper. Close the door quietly when you leave. In order to be unobtrusive, leave the lights off or very low. Do not tap on the windows.


  1. Do not smoke, eat or drink in the room. There is no smoking permitted anywhere on the SRJC campus.  


  1. In each observation room you will find guidelines for the operation of the microphone system, the classroom's daily schedule, and a photo of the children with their first names. We also list the quarter of the year they were born, plus the year. We do not give out more specific information (i.e. last names and date of birth for security reasons). More information about each child is available through your instructor. Please do not solicit further information about the children or the families from staff. Additional information will not be provided and is kept confidential.


  1. You may stay in the observation room for a longer period, as long as you do not prevent someone from using the room.


  1. Do not talk to or interact with the children or staff.


  1. All indoor observations must be made from the observation room. Please do not locate yourself in the classroom. If you need to make an outdoor observation, please put on an outside observer tag, located in the observation room. Enter the play yard through the classroom and sit on the designated bench. Replace the tag in the observation room when you leave. Remember, stay in the yard for which your tag is designated. Do not stand at the fence to view the yards.


  1. If you go into the play yard, keep your belongings with you at all times – if you move from one spot to another in the play yard, take your backpack or purse along. Otherwise children could start exploring the contents and come upon inappropriate or unsafe items.


  1. When to do your observation? The center is open from 8:30 - 4:30 Monday through Thursday and from 8:30-3:00 on Fridays. By Friday afternoons, the number of children in the classrooms drops off precipitously so this might be a good time to observe the environment - but not such a great time to observe lots of children.


  1. Nap time is a major event that extends from approximately 12:15 – 2:00 or 2:30 for the toddlers and 12:30 – 2:00 for the preschoolers. Some children’s nap time extends even longer. About half of the preschoolers are “non-nappers”, so observers can watch preschoolers at play outdoors or in the Raspberry room at that time. On rainy days, the non-nappers will go into the Raspberry preschool. Students who need to observe active toddlers should plan to observe before or after nap time.


  1. Students who are observing a particular child in a particular room may also need to be aware of “walk days.” Each room takes the children for walks (actually rides in the carts) on certain days. Here’s the intended schedule (which is subject to change):

Wednesday:    Heather Toddler 10:30 – 12:00

Thursday:        Rose Toddler 10:30 –12:00

Friday:             Blue & Teal Preschools 9:30 – 12:00 (small groups not entire class)


Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in the lowering of a grade and/or being dropped from the class.