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Gesell Observation

At Trinity School, we view children as individuals and as whole beings. We know that all children grow sequentially through patterned and predictable stages of development at their own rate. We believe that young children learn best in environments that align with their developmental age, and our teachers maintain a sound understanding of and commitment to what is developmentally appropriate for the various ages and stages of growth. This information can be effectively used by parents, educators, and other adults who interact with or act on behalf of children.

Trinity School utilizes the Gesell GDO-R instrument developed by The Gesell Institute of Child Development to better understand students’ growth and development. Our assessor has been administering this assessment for over 18 years, including 7 years at Trinity School.

The GDO-R is a standard procedure for observing child behavior and differs from a tool that assesses IQ or academic skills. It measures adaptive behavior—cognitive thinking, memory, perception, attention to task, overt behaviors, verbalization, the work completed by the child, and the process/organization used to complete it. This information leads to a description of the child’s developmental age—where a child can sustain a function with ease—in comparison to chronological age. Children's developmental and chronological ages may or may not be the same.

To prepare you and your child, we encourage you to watch the video below. In it, our assessor describes the observation, how it will be conducted virtually, what supplies you’ll need at home, and more.

You will receive an email from us the day prior to the observation with a 3-page packet to print in advance. Please do not show these materials to your child in advance, or it will invalidate the results. The email will also include instructions about how to scan and email your child’s work to immediately following the observation.

Gesell GDO-R Observation Information