What is Child Observation and How to Write a Report

What is Child Observation and How to Write a Report

As an early childhood educator, you know the importance of child observation. It’s how you learn more about each and every child in your care. After each observation, you can track each child’s progress and ensure they are meeting developmental milestones by writing a detailed report. 

But what exactly is child observation, and how do you make a report about it? This article will discuss the importance of child observation and how to write a clear and concise report.


What is Child Observation?

Child observation is the method of watching, listening and documenting a child’s behavior. It helps educators learn more about each individual child in their care. Observation also allows educators to track a child’s progress and identify any developmental delays or milestones they may be missing. 

Proper child observation is crucial in helping both educators and parents address the needs and demands of early childhood development. The intention should be to promote the child’s learning and development, not punish them.

Child observation should have the following intentions:

  • Document a child’s learning progress and key milestones.
  • Develop an action plan with the parents to promote the child’s development.
  • Monitor the child’s progress and identify any areas of concern.
  • Identify any developmental delays or milestones the child may be missing.


Why is Child Observation Important?

Child observation is important because it provides educators with valuable information about each child. Observation in childcare is crucial in discovering each child’s unique strengths, weaknesses, and interests. It also allows educators to develop individualized plans to help children grow and learn. 

It would be difficult to track a child’s progress or identify any areas of concern without child observation. Therefore, child observation is an essential part of early childhood education and should be conducted often.

Child observation starts with monitoring child behavior, learning progress, and interaction with others. It also includes taking note of physical changes, such as hair color and height. Educators should also take into account the child’s home life and family dynamic when observing them. All of these factors play a role in a child’s development and should be considered when making observations.


The Different Methods of Child Observation

Before creating a child observation report, it’s important to know the different child observation methods. With that said, here are some child observation examples to help you document and meet the true purpose of child development monitoring:

Anecdotal Records

This method involves taking note of a child’s behavior during a specific incident. It includes recording the date, time, and what happened before, during, and after. Anecdotal records are best used to document a child’s progress over time or identify any areas of concern. 

The documentation should also include other non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and body language. At the same time, it should also describe the child’s behavior and reaction during an event.

Running Records

This method is similar to anecdotal records, but it goes into more detail. It’s all about noting down what you see and what the child says while it’s happening. The observation report should be written in the present tense and contain as much detail as possible.

Learning Stories

This method tells the story about the child’s learning progress over time. It includes recording the child’s decision on a particular situation and the implications that occurred following that decision. The report can be written as a single paragraph or more than a whole page, depending on the story and the scenario.

Time Samples

This child observation method involves taking note of a child’s behavior at specific intervals. This method is done at regular intervals and can be useful for identifying and reducing the child’s negative behavior through understanding the context of the situation.


This method is as straightforward as it gets—it’s literally jotting down brief sentences detailing important events, milestones, behaviors, or conversations. This is a great method to use if you want to document a child’s progress over time or identify any areas of concern.

Work Samples

This method observes the child’s work: paintings, cutouts, clay figures, writings, and other projects. The educator should provide detailed descriptions based on the notes they jotted down during the observation. These notes should narrate what the child may have said or done during these events.


The last method involves taking pictures of the child during an event or activity. Parents appreciate seeing pictures of their children. That makes this method great as it produces a ton of images showing their children in action. Don’t forget to add annotations on each photograph to give a brief description about what was taking place when the image was taken.

When documenting child observations, be as objective and factual as possible. The goal is to document the child’s behavior, not interpret it. It’s also important to note that there is no right way to do child observations. Instead, choose the method that works best for you and your needs.


What’s Included in a Child Observation Report?

The details in a child observation report will depend on the method used. It also depends on the type of reporting format that the educational institution requires. Generally, a child observation report should include the following features:

  • Contextual information: the child’s time, date, and setting or location when the observation was carried out.
  • Observation (or Data Collection): the descriptive and objective paragraphs explaining the educator’s observations about the child.
  • Interpretations (Data Analysis):  the interpretation of what was observed, usually in terms of child development.
  • Recommendations (or Action Plan): the next steps should be taken based on the observations and interpretations made.


When writing a child observation report, always make sure to use clear and concise language. The report should also be free of any biases or judgments. Remember, the goal is to document what was observed, not interpret it.


Why Use DataMyte Digital Clipboard

Child observation and the creation of a child observation report use many data and tools. With DataMyte Digital Clipboard, educators have an all-in-one platform containing all the software and tools they need to conduct proper child observation.

The DataMyte Digital Clipboard, in particular, helps educators document child observations easily and efficiently. Our workflow automation software offers relevant tools such as:

  • Workflow builder: this tool helps educators create a customized workflow for their child observation process.
  • Data entry forms: this tool allows educators to input data into the DATAMYTE system quickly and easily.
  • Checklist builder: this tool helps educators create checklists to help them with child observations and reporting
  • Form builder: the form builder enables educators to compile data and create a comprehensive child observation report.


With DataMyte Digital Clipboard, educators can streamline their child observation process and make sure that they are collecting accurate and objective data. Request a demo today to learn more about how we can help you with your child observation needs!



Child observation is an important part of early childhood education. It helps educators understand each child they work with and assess their developmental progress. Use this article to help you carry out a successful child observation and create a child observation report. Also, make sure you give the DataMyte Digital Clipboard a try.



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