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Observing Children and Families

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Tags: Early Years, Social Work

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Observing Children and Families

Beyond the Surface

AUTHOR : By Gill Butler

ISBN : 9781910391624

Edition No : 1

Publication : 18 Nov 2015

Extent : 112 pgs

ISBN : 9781910391648

Edition No : 1

Publication : 18 Nov 2015

Extent : 112 pgs

ISBN : 9781910391655

Edition No : 1

Publication : 18 Nov 2015

Extent : 112 pgs

ISBN : 9781910391631

Edition No : 1

Publication : 18 Nov 2015

Extent : 112 pgs


The ability to observe and to process what is seen is crucial in social work with children and families. Yet successive inquiries into child deaths have demonstrated the problems faced by professionals in doing what is superficially a very straightforward task, highlighting the difficulties in seeing, thinking about and developing an understanding of the child’s experience.


This book helps readers to develop an understanding of what is entailed in observation, explaining the unique insights that child observation can bring to practice with children and families. By drawing out relevant theoretical concepts it aids their understanding of what they are observing and so helps them to develop their own skills. Key theoretical concepts are brought together from developmental psychology and psychoanalytic thinking in a way that enables practitioners to draw on these to inform and enrich their thinking. Useful case studies are presented which practitioners can relate to their own practice when they are struggling to make sense of difficult situations.




Seen, but not seen and not heard


Observing Children


Developing skills in observing


Using observation in practice


Make sense of what we observe: theory helps!




Gill Butler has worked in a variety of statutory and voluntary Social Work settings, that have included practising as a Children’s Guardian for many years whilst also teaching at the University of Chichester in the Social Work Department. She was also Deputy Dean with particular responsibility for Learning and Teaching. Her practice and thinking is also informed by her experience as a mother and a grandmother.

Subject leader for Childhhod and Youth Studies at the University of Chichester.

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Your Reviews on this book

This really is an excellent text that it is easy to read - the use of child death reviews early on really hits home the importance of child observation - thought provoking tasks and a really good overview of different methods of child observation.

Jackie Plenty, University Campus Suffolk

It was clear, well structured and practical. The examples illustrated oiints clearly  and I liked the links to SCR.The section on developing skills at the end was a useful practical guide.

Helen Mayall, University of Huddersfield
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