Natural curiosity or hyper vigilance?

As part of my role in one school i just work with staff and parents and often go in to classes to observe children. I arrange this with the teacher beforehand and ask them to identify children for me to observe. I am always interested to see how the class react to having someone new in the room, although most of the children may have already seen me around the school. Some children are not interested in me at all, they don’t even look at me or give me any attention while i am there. Other children are very interested in me, they may even approach me and ask me who i am and what i am doing in their class. Other children watch me from a distance, they never approach me, but they also keep watching me, even if i start moving around the classroom. They are sometimes still sat on the carpet while the rest of the class have returned to their seats. For these children, their preoccupation with me, and their need to literally never take their eyes off me, makes me wonder what they may have experienced in their lives to make them so watchful of an adult.

If there are children who behave like this in your class, it may be useful to consider the possible reasons for their behaviour, as this is more than just curiosity; it is a need to be overly watchful and is likely to be caused by high levels of anxiety.


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