In this blog we will discuss how to make a running record. When you care for and support the learning of young children, it is essential to have accurate and up-to-date information about each child’s level of development. Observing children’s normal activities is the most reliable source of this information. Running records are one good way to keep track of your observations.
Care Courses offers the course Observing, Recording, and Assessing Children’s Development. In this course we cover the best ways to perform observations and to assess children’s development, including running records.
What is a running record?
Running records are open-ended, narrative-type records that cover a sequence of behaviors over a period of time. This type of record is a good tool to help you discover causes and consequences, for example, finding a pattern to a challenging behavior such biting or hitting. Running records are also useful for planning learning activities for individual children.
Running records include everything that happens during the period of observation. Behaviors are recorded as they happen. Running records provide a rich, complete, and comprehensive account of the child’s behavior.
How to write a running record
- Observe only one child at a time.
- Record only the facts of what you see. Avoid using words that judge or interpret. Don’t record what you believe, suspect, or infer from the child’s actions.
- Record every detail. Don’t omit anything.
- Record behaviors in the order in which they occur.
What to include
Include the date, time, and location of your observation. Include the name and age of each child involved in any incidents observed. Additionally, include the context of the incidents.
As with all observation records, keep your comments separate from the running record itself and clearly label them as your comments.
Other observation methods
While no single observation method provides a complete assessment of a child, combining regular running records with other types of observations will give you a more extensive picture of the child’s needs, interests, and skill levels.
Want to learn about other types of observation methods? Take our course Observing, Recording, and Assessing Children’s Development. In it we cover many methods to assess children and help you understand when and how to best use them.
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