An Example of an Anecdotal Record for a Preschool Child

by Erica Loop

    Unless you have a background in early childhood education, chances are you have little idea what a preschool anecdotal record is. While most moms can sort of figure out the general concept on their own, there are some nuances that remain a mystery to parents. At its most basic, the anecdotal record is notes that a teacher writes about what the preschooler is doing as a way to assess or document development.

    While an anecdotal record can contain any number of different categories, one example that you would frequently find in this type of documentation is what materials and toys the child uses. For example, during free play your child has the opportunity to choose between crayons, blocks, dolls or magnet wands. Her teacher will observe what materials your preschooler selects, making notes as she moves from item to item. The teacher may also opt for taking notes every day over a specified period of time or a few times a week for the entire school year to record your child's interests.

    Jotting down what your child plays with is certainly important when trying to discover where her interests lie, but recording how these materials and toys are used is equally as necessary. Preschool teachers often will write a few sentences at a time about what each child does with the classroom items. This can include notes such as "Chooses crayons, but uses them as drum sticks instead of coloring," or "Builds a railroad track with the blocks and uses another block as a pretend train."

    Your preschooler isn't just in school to learn her A,B,C's. She is also there to brush up on her burgeoning social skills. Making friends and interacting with other children are important parts of the preschooler's day. Her teacher will typically take anecdotal notes about the good, bad and the ugly of her social day. This means recording positive interactions such as how she shared her toy car with another boy, as well as negative ones such as when she grabbed her favorite book out of another child's hands.

    There's always that magical moment when every preschooler does something extraordinary. While many preschool teachers break their anecdotal notes into categories, some records call for a special section that highlights out-of-the-ordinary behaviors. On the flip side, teachers also must record the extreme lows. It's nice to think that your little angel is perfect all day long, but in reality pointing out her not-so-great moments is just as important to assessing your child as noting her many great qualities.

    About the Author

    Erica Loop is an arts educator and freelance writer. She has been freelancing since 2010 and writes mostly child development and kids' activity articles for websites such as education.com. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

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