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Preschool Observation Form

I. Child: ___________________________ II. Observer: _________________________
Sex: _____ Position: ________________________
Date of Birth: ___/___/____ Age: _____ Location: ________________________
Telephone: _____________________ Time of Day: _________________
Date: ________________
Activity Observed
_____ Free Time _____ Circle Time _____ Nap Time
_____ Meal Time _____ Solitary Play _____ Outdoor Play
_____ Centers/ Structured Play _____ Transition _____ Other: ____________
Student Behaviors
Level of Interaction Interaction With Objects
_____ Participated in activities _____ Used objects functionally
_____ Usually / Sometimes / Rarely Complied _____ Used objects imaginatively
_____ Refused to participate _____ Manipulated object without regard to
Level of Interest Physical Activity Level
_____ Curious about materials _____ Appropriate
_____ Disinterested in materials _____ Too active
_____ Easily frustrated _____ Fidgety / Restless some of the time
_____ Gave up easily _____ Lethargic / Not active enough
Interaction With Others
_____ Happy / Smiles a lot _____ Oppositional _____ Disruptive
_____ Overly-excitable _____ Aggressive _____ Bites
_____ Anxious _____ Withdrawn _____ Spits

_____ Lacked facial expression _____ Did not engage with others _____ Cries easily
_____ Shy _____ Tries to control others _____ Watched others
_____ Irritable _____ Takes Turns / Shares _____Other:
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Attention to Task Communication
_____ Maintained attention to task _____ Did / Did not initiate conversation
_____ Works well independently _____ Verbally / Nonverbally communicated
_____ Difficulty focusing attention wants and needs
_____ Distractible _____ Used gestures appropriately
Behavior Management Motor Skills
_____ Easily / Rarely followed routines _____ Ran / Jumped appropriately
_____ Followed routines with prompting _____ Colored / Played with play-doh
_____ Asked for assistance _____ Concerns regarding fine motor skills
_____ Concerns regarding gross motor skills
_____ Other:
Unusual Behaviors
_____ Hummed _____ Smelled / Licked Objects _____ Unusual gaze
_____ Spit _____ Lined up objects _____ Walked on toes
_____ Bit self / pulled own hair _____ Threw objects _____ Twitched, jerked
_____ Afraid of loud noises _____ No fear of danger _____ Drooled
_____ Repeats others / echolalia _____ Flapped arms _____ Hit peers / teacher
_____ Other:
Additional Comments:

Running Record

Example of a Running Record
Child's Name___Katy___Age____4____Date__2/9_______
Observer Rob_______Place_S. Nursery School__Time 9:00-10:00
Comments on what you saw
Katy is playing by herself with plastic
blocks, making guns; she walk into other
room; "Lisa, would you play with me? I'm Clips blocks together to make gun;
tired of playing by myself." They walk
then copies it to make one for Lisa.
into other room to slide and climbing area. Cleverly done. Intricate. Shows
K: "I am Wonder Woman."
creativity. (Does teacher allow guns?)
L:; "So am I."
K: " No, there is only one Wonder
Woman. You are Robin."
Seems to be the leader here as in other
L: "Robin needs a Batman because
activities I have observed. Lisa is the
Batman and Robin are friends."
friend she most often plays with.
All this takes place under the slide and
climber. Lisa shoots block gun which
Katy has given to her. Katy falls on floor.
L: (to teacher) "We're playing
Superfriends and Wonder Woman keeps
falling down."
K: Opens eyes, gets up, and says: "Let's Katy switches roles here. She shows
get out our batmobile and go help the
good concentration and spends much
world. She runs to other room and back, time on one play episode.
making noises like a car.
L: "Wonder Woman is died. She fell out
of the car. She falls down.
K: "It's only a game, wake up. Lisa you be She can distingush reality from
Wonder Woman. I'll be___."
L: "Let's play house now."

Katy begins sliding down the slide.
K: "We have a lot of Superfriends to do."
She says this while sliding. "Robin is
coming after you!" she shouts to Lisa,
running from the slide and into the other
room. Lisa has gone into the
housekeeping area and says to Katy:
"Katy, here is your doll's dress." (Lost
yesterday). John joins the girls.
L: "I'm Wonder Woman."
K: "I'm Robin."
J: "I'm Batrman. Where is the
K: "It's in here." They run into the other
room and Katy points under the slide
telling John what the Batmobile can do.
They all run to the other room and back
again. Then Katy says: "John we are not
playing Superfriends any more."

Shows good large motor coordination.
Spends much time every day like this
running and skipping around room.
Seems to know she is good at this and
spends a lot of time doing it

Seems to be more comfortable playing
with only one child at a time.

Anecdotal Records
An anecdote is an account of an event in a child's day. The record of this event can be detailed or
brief. These short reports describe, in a factual way, the incident, its context, and what was said or
done by the participant(s). In most cases, anecdotes focus on very simple, everyday interactions
among children, children and adults as well as children and materials in the environment.

Ideally, the anecdotal record should be recorded as it unfolds or immediately after. However,
anecdotal records usually have to be written later at the end of the day. Keeping brief notes on index
cards or sticky notes carried in your pockets can be helpful. Jotting one-word reminders or short
phrases on the cards about the event can provide a set of reminders when the anecdote is written.

Characteristics of Anecdotal Records:

Simple reports of behavior'
Result of direct observation.
Accurate and specific
Gives context of child's behavior
Records typical or unusual behaviors


Anecdotes capture the richness and complexity of the moment as children interact with one another
and with materials. These records of child behavior and learning accumulated over time enhance the
teacher's understanding of the individual child as patterns or profiles begin to emerge. Behavior
change can be tracked and documented, and placed in the child's portfolio resulting in suggestions
for future observations, curriculum planning and student or parent conferences.

Examples of Anecdotal Records:

Child's Name: Melissa C.
Date & Time: 4/23/01 8:45 am
Place or Learning Center: Preschool classroom-free play

Observed Event & Behaviors:
Melissa sat next to Tina at the reading table. Tina greeted Melissa with "Hi, Melissa! Wanna read a
book with me?" Melissa said that she couldn't read. Tina replied, "We can look at the pictures."

Child's Name: Catherine W.
Date & Time: 11/16/02

9:15 am

Place or Learning Center: block center

Observed Event & Behaviors:
In the block center, Jamie and Catherine began to argue over who would drive the dump truck. Maria
said, "Nobody can be my friend if I'm not the driver." Catherine suggested that there were two other
trucks and an airplane--she could be the pilot and everyone else could drive a truck.

Child's Name: Destiny H.
Date & Time: 3/25/02

1:30 pm

Place or Learning Center: sensory- bin

Observed Event & Behaviors:

Destiny looked in the sensory bin. She picked up a picture of Katie. I asked her who she found. She
said, "I found Katie." Then she walked over to Katie and said, "Look, I found you."

Child's Name: Troy B.
Date & Time: 1/17/02

3:05 pm

Place or Learning Center: free choice-art area

Observed Event & Behaviors:
Troy was in the art area during free choice. He was making letters, rolling the paper and then he tied
the paper roll with a string. He demonstrated this process to Lisa, Emma and Heather who were also
in the art area.

Child's Name: Sonia M.
Date & Time: 1/23/02

2:45 pm

Place or Learning Center: Project Group

Observed Event or Behaviors:
During project group, the children were painting a mural. Sonia asked Madeleine to help. Madeleine
said she was not ready. Sonia replied, "Don't worry, we'll wait."

Child's Name: Holley J.
Date & Time: 4/10/02

10:20 am

Place or Learning Center: Playground-outside time & snack

Observed Event or Behaviors:
Holley and Kimberly were pretending to be riding on their unicorns. They galloped around the
playground and pretended to feed them at snack time.

Child's Name: Alex P.
Date & Time: 3/3/02

9:30 am

Place or Learning Center: Literacy Group

Observed Event or Behaviors:
During literacy group, Alex listened as Katie read the Dinosaur Book. When Katie finished reading,
Alex picked up a piece of art paper and drew a picture of what he would do with a dinosaur then

Helpful Reminders!!

Observers should not make ASSUMPTIONS or use SUBJECTIVE or AMBIGUOUS words.
Observations and anecdotes should be on a variety of children and activities. Try to avoid only
writing anecdotes about the "cute things children say."
Remember to ask yourself the following question when observing - "Am I writing things in such a
way that anyone viewing the same scene would write it in the exact same way," and when they
close their eyes would see the same scene in their mind's eye?”


Ambiguous/Suggestive Words:

Words That Convey Assumption:



Happiness Rude
Out Of Control





Too Many