How to Make a Running Record

As a caregiver or teacher, it is essential for you to have accurate and up-to-date information about each child’s level of development. Observing children’s normal activities is your most reliable source of this information. Care Courses offers Observing, Recording, and Assessing Children’s Development, which covers the best ways to perform observations and to assess children’s development.

The focus of this blog will be how to make a running record, which is one of the types of observations detailed in the course.

Running records are open-ended, narrative-type records that cover a sequence of behaviors over a period of time. Running records are 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.

When writing 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.

Include the date, time, and location of your observation; the name and age of each child involved in any incidents observed; and the context of any these incidents. As with all observation records, keep your comments separate from the running record itself and clearly label these as your comments.

While no single observation method provides you 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.

In our course, Observing, Recording, and Assessing Children’s Development, we cover many methods to assess children and help you understand when and how to best use these different methods. Want to learn more? Visit the course information page on our website. 

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