Lab 1: Anecdotal Notes

HDFS 421
Rosemary Curtis
Purpose and Background
On September 10, 2014 I went to the Child Development Laboratory in Haslett. I
chose to focus on observing the motor domains to see where my focus child is in her
development of these domains at the beginning of this school year. I chose to observe in
Ms. Colon’s room of four year old children playing both in the classroom and in the gym.
I observed from 2:00pm to approximately 3:00pm. During the time that I observed the
children, they were engaging in free play as well as large group time. However, the
anecdotal notes are all from free play time in the classroom and in the gym. The
classroom is set up in distinct domain settings (cognitive, blocks, pretend play, etc.), the
gym is also in distinct zones (hoola hoops, scooters, balls, etc.). The child I observed is a
four year old female, for the purposes of this lab report the child will be called Elsa
(please note that this is not the child’s real name). I chose to record my observations in
the form of anecdotal notes because anecdotal notes serve as a way to search for patterns
within children’s behavior (Mindes, 2011).
Anecdotal Notes
The first event occurred in the block area of the classroom. Elsa was picking up
blocks from shelves and stacking them. After creating a building out of blocks, the child
then grabbed a basket of plastic animals and began placing them within the block

The second event occurred in the gym. Elsa picked up a couple of small balls,
looked at them, and then lifted her arms above her head, throwing the balls up above her
body. Elsa left her hands above her head and smiled.
The third event also occurred in the gym. Elsa placed a scooter on the ground. She
laid down on the scooter so that her stomach was in the middle of the scooter. She
extended both arms out in front and slightly to the side of herself, placed her hands on the
ground, and then pulled her weight forward on the scooter until her hands (in the same
spot on the ground) were behind her.
The child is currently exhibiting behaviors that are listed in Mindes (2011)
Appendix A as being developmental milestones for children 36-48 months old. This is
appropriate development for the child because the child just recently turned 48 months
old and therefore should be able to exhibit all or most of the behaviors in this list. The
developmental milestones list states that children in this age range should be able to push
or pull toys with wheels. Elsa exhibited this behavior when using the scooter in the third
anecdote, she was able to not only pull a wheeled toy but was able to pull her on body
weight on this toy. The list also states that children at this age should be able to throw a
ball up above their head, which was exhibited by Elsa in the second anecdote when she
threw the balls above her head. One last example from the list of developmental
milestones is that children 36-48 months old should be able to build towers at least 9
blocks high. While Elsa did not explicitly stack blocks directly on top of each other, she
was able to use at least 9 blocks in her stacking.
Activity Plan

Based on the anecdotes taken of Elsa’s behavior, she is on track and has met the
motor developmental milestones listed in Mindes (2011) Appendix A. In order to further
Elsa’s development, I will design an activity that will work on developing endurance in
her motor activities, as listed in the Michigan State University Children’s Curriculum. In
this activity, Elsa will scoot herself across the gym several times. This can be done in the
context of an obstacle course created with cones, or as a relay race with other children.
By scooting across the gym on her scooter multiple times, she will develop endurance in
these large motor muscles.
I have had experience in previous courses with writing anecdotal notes. The
process seems to be a little bit different in each course, but the basic idea is still the same.
Thanks to other Human Development and Family Studies courses, I’ve had some practice
with writing objective anecdotes and separating them from the interpretations. Through
this assignment and the reading assignments, I’ve furthered my understanding of
observation through anecdotal notes as a valuable assessment tool. The hardest part about
the observation portion of this assignment was in hearing what my child was saying over
the rest of the children. With so many people in the room it can be difficult to hear one
particular voice, this is partly why I chose to focus on the motor domains.