Anecdotal Observation

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  • Topic: Anecdote, Anecdotal value, Child
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Anecdotal
Observations

it’s all about seeing

RRC ECE Workplace
October 20, 2005

Workplace EC E Program
Anecdotal Observation Resource

1

About Anecdotal Records
1. What are they?
Anecdote: - a short story
- a sketch
- an illustration
(J. I. Rodale, Th e Syno nym Finder (1978) Ro dale Press)

Anecdote: - a brief account of an important developmental
event (Billman, 1996, pg. 19).
Anecdotal Record:
- “The written account or word picture of one
episode in the child’s life” (Draper, 1977, pg 10).

2. Why use them?
Anecdotal records are a handy way to capture children’s
spontaneous and natural behaviours. They can be used:
• To record children’s behaviour and play – as it occurs in their natural environment.
• To record children’s level of development.

Workplace EC E Program
Anecdotal Observation Resource

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• To better understand individual interests and needs of
children.
• To form the basis for planning and implementing
experiences that will enhance each child’s development and extend each child’s learning.

Advantages of Anecdotal Records
 Very little preparation is required – you need only a pen and paper.
 The behaviour observed is unanticipated.
 Samplings of behaviour over a period of time provide a rich reserve of information about a child – where the child is at developmentally in all domains.
 A full range of typical behaviours are likely to be captured since the child is participating in familiar surroundings.
(Wylie, 1999, pg. 93, 94)

Workplace EC E Program
Anecdotal Observation Resource

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3. How to document anecdotal records
An anecdotal record tells an interesting story. This story must be written in such a way that it is completely clear to the reader. “Stories are inherently interesting, and all cultures use
them to communicate information.” (Billman, 1996, pg. 19). While each ECE Workplace anecdotal record assignment will look for content specific to the Com Pac in which it is found, the basic rules and format for writing up an anecdotal record do not

change.

There are generally 3 parts to a written anecdotal record:
A beginning:
We call this FORMAT. This provides a description of the setting in which the story occurs. The beginning includes:
Child’s name or children’s names:
Date of birth:
Observer Name:
Date:

A g e:
Time:

Setting: usually includes number and age range of children involved, number of adults in the area, materials or equipment used and where it takes place.

Workplace EC E Program
Anecdotal Observation Resource

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A middle:
We call this DATA. Events are recorded in the sequence in which they occur. Use descriptive, but objective language – record only what is observable.
Objective example:

Cory laid his head down on the big brown Teddy, shut his
eyes tightly and lay very still.
This is objective, because it describes only the actions that are observable.
Subjective example:

Cory laid his head down on the big brown Teddy and
pretended to sleep.
This is subjective, because what a child is pretending in their mind is not observable.
• Include direct quotes of dialogue that emphasizes the play theme and supports the context – not all conversation will be relevant and need not be recorded.
• Focus on the children’s play and behaviour – child/adult interactions do not usually add information to your story, unless this is the specific subject of the observation.
• Keep all rough notes as part of your record, but transcribe into properly written anecdotes as soon as possible after the
observation is made.
Workplace EC E Program
Anecdotal Observation Resource

5

An end:
We call this INFERENCE, SUMMARY, CONCLUSION or COMMENTS.
This section includes personal and professional interpretations, beliefs and judgments based on the data. These comments are reflective of the specific information in the data section.
There are cases in which “An end” is not needed. For instance, the photo...
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