Early childhood assessment tools are valuable in determining the developmental level a child has attained. A narrative observation, also known as an anecdotal record, is a form of direct observation used by teachers and parents, in which you watch a child's activities and record everything you see. You must write down every detail in a factual manner, including how a child behaves, how he interacts with his environment, and how he communicates.
Write "Narrative Observation Form" centered at the top of a clean white sheet of paper.
Write "Child's name" and the name of the child you are observing, the date and time. Write "Child's age" and the child's exact age in years and months.
Write "Observer's name" and your name, and write "Setting" and a brief description of the physical location where you are making the observation.
Write "Narrative" on the left-hand side of the page, and "Interpretations" on the right side of the page. Draw a line between the two words all the way to the bottom of the page.
Observe the pre-schooler and write what you see on the left side of the page. Do not worry about writing interpretations until after the observation session ends. Record as many details as you can, no matter how insignificant it may seem. For example; if the child laughs each time she plays with a toy, record every single laugh.
Write your interpretations on the right side of the page. Ensure each interpretation corresponds to an observed behavior. For example; if you observed the pre-schooler pausing each time he put a puzzle piece in place, your written interpretation could be that he was using logic skills to figure out where the next piece fit.
Transcribe your narrative observation into a computer without making any edits to what you wrote.
- Your observations must be objective, based solely on what you saw. The subjective part of your observation occurs in your interpretation.
- Keep your observation to a single child to ensure you capture everything that child does. Observing multiple children is difficult, and does not provide an accurate picture of their individual activities.
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images