How to Write a Child's Observation Report

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Observing children at play helps educators to structure the classroom.
Observing children at play helps educators to structure the classroom.

Child observation reports are created for a variety of reasons. College students who are childhood development majors will complete several observations as part of their coursework. Therapists use observation reports to determine the appropriate type of treatment for children with special needs. Child observation reports must contain specific information about the child in a clear and concise manner to be useful to those who are reviewing the report.


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      Record the actions of the child during the observation time. Avoid observing the child during quiet time or nap times.

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      Collect background information on the child from the child's caregivers. This information is important to understanding the behaviors that will be observed in the child.

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      Document the physical characteristics of the child. For example, if the child has a physical disability this should be noted in the report along with how the child overcomes the disability in order to participate with his surroundings. Other areas to document include cognitive, emotional, social, spiritual and moral characteristics of the child. Not every area can be observed in every child, but it is important to document as many of them as possible when doing an observation.

    • 4

      Include the logistics of the observation time in the report. The report should include where the observation was completed; at home, at daycare and what the setting was like. The name and age of the child must be included in the report along with the date the observation was completed. Other items to include in the report are the length of the observation, others who were present and any uncontrollable circumstances that may have had an influence on your observation.

    • 5

      Compile the report. The report should start with a brief introduction that introduces the child to the person reading the report and why the observation was made. The introduction section is a good place to include background information regarding the child.

      The following sections of the report should be divided up into the various areas that you observed the child. For example, a "Physical Abilities" section should contain any documentation about the child's ability to move about her surroundings. Emotional, social and cognitive observations should also be compiled into their own sections. Each section should be titled appropriately and included in a table of contents at the beginning of the report.

      The report should end with a conclusion. The conclusion will be based on the reason why the observation was conducted in the first place. If the child was being observed to determine what type of services she needs to succeed in her surrounding, that information should be included in the conclusion. Any questions raised earlier in the report should be answered in the conclusion.

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