Running Record Observation Essay

Child Observation Essay

The task of observing a child in a natural setting seemed relatively simple. As an unmarried uncle with plenty of free time, I am frequently asked to observe and look after my twin ten year old niece and nephew. Most of the time I watch the children at my house or at my brother’s house, which for the most part is as natural a setting as can be found. The task of observing the children is reduced to just another enjoyable evening watching television, snacking on junk food and sitting around with the kids.

When the task involves observing a child who for the most part is unknown to us, in a natural setting which is unfamiliar to us, the activity becomes significantly more difficult. In order to observe and remain objective in our findings and conclusions we must observe on a scientific level which involves planning, set guidelines, and discipline. A basic understanding of accepted methods for observing and recording the observations is required in order to make the best use of time. In addition, a certain amount of common sense must be exercised so as not to give the wrong impression to the children and most importantly any adults present in the area while observing. Some consideration must even be given to one’s appearance in this situation. As most would agree, an observer in a park observing some unknown young children, wearing a long trench coat and sunglasses is probably destined for trouble. The final and probably most important consideration is finding an acceptable setting for observing the child.

After considering my options, I decided that observing a young student attending day-care at a local school would be an ideal setting for accomplishing this assignment. As a substitute teacher as well as softball coach on occasion at Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School in Temecula, I am familiar with the day-care staff and school procedures. I notified the day-care staff and arranged to observe in day-care on Wednesday afternoon. The day-care hours begin at 3:00 and end at 5:30. Due to the day-care environment and time constraints, I decided to observe and record my observations in a running record. Using this method of narrative recording allowed me to keep a sequential record of behavior as it occurred while documenting individual situations that had influenced the behavior. I chose a student who attends day-care on a daily basis and is picked up at 5:00 consistently, thus assuring me that the child is familiar with day-care and would be observed in as natural a setting as possible. I selected a boy of around 10 years old for my observational study. For purposes of identification throughout this exercise, I will refer to the observed student as the Boy.

A Running Record of Observed Behavior

3:05 The Boy arrives at day-care escorted by home room teacher and is checked in along with 12
additional students of varying ages.

3:10 After several minutes of standard check-in confusion, all students are asked to take seats
and begin...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

Child Development Observation Report

2401 words - 10 pages Compare and contrast a child from younger age group with a child from an older age group. For the younger age group, I observed a 6-month-old, boy infant, called Manden, in my friend’s home. 1. Adult/Teacher Interaction: In an adult interaction, the child I observed were more engaged with the people around him by infant-directed speech. His mom and I were basically called his name by rhythm, and he responded to us by smiling and being...

Child Observation Report

2895 words - 12 pages Introduction The location of the observation was at the Community Center (Early Childhood education program) at 11:00am to 12:30pm on April 15, 2014. The meaningful experiences in early childhood education can positively shape children's development. With a teacher is guidance authentic child-art activity can educate enrich young students' learning abilities, encourage positive attitudes toward other children, and more importantly, learn to...

Child Development Observation

2643 words - 11 pages I. Settings of observation Observer visited a play place of a restaurant in New Jersey, Hackensack. Why I have chosen the place is easy to observe every part of child development such as cognitive, social emotional, language as well as physical at the same time. Observer performed the observation on April 28 from 1 pm to 3pm. The child was an Asian boy. He has strait short black hair with dark brown eyes and thin black eye brows. His height...

Child Observation Report

1703 words - 7 pages Child development is an amazing thing to watch in the way that children interact with one another and how they perceive the world that surrounds. While doing our research of child development we began to observe a group of kids ranging the ages 1 – 12. During these observations we noticed traits such as attachment, comfort, and love. Through the following examples we will proceed to observe development in our environment and explain its...

Child Custody-Court Observation

1054 words - 4 pages After half an hour of searching, finally I have the opportunity to observe a court in person for the first time. At the 302nd Family Court in downtown Dallas on the 3rd of Dec, 2013, the case I was observing was a child custody case between Anna Smith and David Smith. The case number as show on the board outside the court is DS-12-08126. Furthermore, the Judge of 302nd Family Court is Tena Callahan. It was quite an experience when I step inside...

Child Observation: Language Learning and Development

1962 words - 8 pages Initial Observation The child I observed for this project was Reza. Reza was three years and ten months old when I observed him and took the language sample. Reza has an older brother. Reza attends Martin Luther King Daycare and is on his church’s soccer league. I met Reza two times prior to taking a language sample. We met at a gym the first time. Reza was a little shy, but it did not last but about ten minutes. His mom instructed...

Arthur Stringer School Yard Observation: A study of child interactions

1229 words - 5 pages Running head: OBSERVATIONArthur Stringer School Yard ObservationMohemmed El-AloulHSB 4M1Mrs. HarperSeptember 24, 2004AbstractWhy is it that some children will imitate certain behaviors, while other will simply ignore it and keep doing what they are doing? To understand children's behavior they must be observed in their natural environment with out the interruption on any authoritarian that might...

Child Observation: Heath

1422 words - 6 pages This student observed a 5-year-old boy (Heath) that participated in a horse show with other kids and adults in Fountain, Colorado. The members of this club meet and compete in horse events during the summer months. The horse show has participants of different age and different skill levels. The first stage (Lead Line) has beginner level participants from any age group. Heath’s group (Pea Wee’s) is the next level up from the Lead Line group and...

Child Observation Report

1237 words - 5 pages Recently, I went to The Happy School, a preschool in my hometown of Smallville, California, to pass the morning with the students there. In the time I spent there, the children, ages 3 to 5, engaged in unstructured play, and sat in a circle for calendar time and reading aloud. The preschool is primarily child-centered in terms of its organization, meaning it incorporates a lot of child directed activity, and less structured, or adult directed,...

Autism: an observation of an autistic child and the creation of learning environment.

2869 words - 11 pages Observe a special needs child/adults activity when they try to learn new information. Create a learning environment for them, considering three learning theories.Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. The extent of the condition can range from acute to mild, and when someone is diagnosed with autism, they are said to be on the 'Autistic Spectrum.' Autism is found is both sexes, but is...

Child Observation: Case Study of an Elementary Student with Aggressive Behavior

1150 words - 5 pages The student that I am observing for my case study is a very imaginative student in our classroom. I believe this because I can say one word to this student and he can come up with a whole story just from that word. When he works one on one with a teacher, he is very cooperative and polite. I recently noticed that if a fellow classmate were struggling with a particular concept, he would try to give them hints towards the answer. There are...


What is a running record

Writing a running record requires the educator to act like a video camera, recording all significant behaviours and interactions as they happen. Whereas anecdotal records are written after the fact, running records are written as the action is unfolding. If you were to read one out loud, it might sound a bit like the running commentary of a sports event: “Cournoyer passes the puck to Savard. Savard carries the puck down the boards, over the blue line. He winds up, he shoots, he scores!” 


Why use running records?

A running record involves writing down everything that is happening, in the order that it happens. Observers limit the amount of editing they do as they record. Instead, the idea is to record as much raw data as possible. Using this rather open-ended method means that educators can gather a lot of information in a relatively short period of time. As such, these are a popular choice for professionals in the field.


How do I write a running record?

Running records are written as the action is unfolding in front of you, so use the present tense when writing them (click here to see an Exercise that will help you – the 3rd set of questions will help you practice your verb tenses).


Being positive and objective, and using descriptive language are also important things to keep in mind when writing your anecdotal records. Click here for related exercises.


Give yourself a tentative time frame for writing a running record. For example, decide ahead of time that you will observe the children at the sand box for the first 15 minutes of Free Play. The process of writing a running record can be quite tiring. It also requires the educator to step out of her active role in order to record her observations on the spot. This is referred to as the spectator-observer role. Getting organized ahead of time is key.


Sample running record  - see clip

Annette kneels down next to Maya and begins wiping her face with a wet cloth. As Annette starts to wipe Maya’s right hand, Maya grabs the cloth with her left hand and yanks it away from Annette. Annette asks, “You wanna do it?” Maya starts wiping her mouth and tongue, clutching the cloth tightly in both hands. Annette smiles, claps her hands together and exclaims, “OK! Good job!” Annette reaches out and begins to lift Maya’s bib over her head. Maya transfers the wet cloth to her right hand, then, as the bib is lifted up and over her head, grabs it with both hands again. She wipes the cloth across her cheek and mouth, then vigorously swipes at her tongue four times.


Click here for exercises to help practise writing running records.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *