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  • Writer's pictureSPICE’d Childcare

Documentation & Planning Templates

In Early Childhood, documentation is vital. Child documentation goes beyond record-keeping; it helps caregivers gain insight into the lives and behaviors of children and helps in planning activities and environments that aid in their development.

Various types of childhood observation can help caregivers learn more about a child and their unique needs and use this information to plan interactive activities and routines.

Types of Observations:

Running Records

Running record observations are done at a particular time and written in the present tense. With this method, a child is observed and all details are written as they happen in real-time. Documenting the whole situation in a running record requires much more information than an anecdotal record. To complete a running record, it is a good idea to schedule a day, time, and setting to observe a specific child or group of children.

Anecdotal Notes

Anecdotal notes are like running records except you write down observations that already happened. These are brief, focused notes about one event or incident from a child's day. Anecdotal notes are often detailed and include information about the context: the actions, reactions, and any relevant comments made by the child.

Checklists, Frequency Counts/Timestamps

Checklists, frequency counts & timestamps are used to quickly record information about the occurrence of a specific behavior or skill. These methods may be used if you notice a certain behavior or lack of a certain skill and you want to track how often it occurs to better understand the circumstances surrounding it. These documentation tools do not provide any details of the observation therefore, they should never be used alone for planning and assessment.

Work Samples & Photographs

This type of documentation involves keeping copies of children's work ( drawings, paintings, written assignments, craft projects, photographs, or other artifacts produced by the child). Work samples are used to keep track of a child's progress and development in a certain area.

Learning Stories

Learning stories are written in a narrative format. These stories aim to provide a rich and detailed understanding of a child's progress, interests, and interactions within a learning environment. To create a learning story, you would listen and watch as children explore in play, take notes, and then write a learning story to share with the children and families.

Learn More on Learning Stories ( Format and examples)

Time/ Event Samples

Time samples involve observing and recording a child's behavior and activities during specific time intervals. These are used to record the occurrence of a child’s behavior and keep track of the number of times a behavior occurs throughout the day. By providing time and environment context, this method can help to identify the situation surrounding a particular behavior.

Event samples focus on a specific event, such as a child’s pattern of behavior or response. This method focuses on capturing significant moments or occurrences rather than continuous, ongoing observations. The information gathered will help assess what causes certain reactions in the child and identify the possible strategies to manage the behavior effectively.

Documentation Checklist

  • Be as detailed as possible ( Who, What, When, Where)

  • Avoid vague or general terms, you want to be able to go back to the notes and be able to picture what happened

  • Record only the facts, write down only what you observe, and avoid personal views, and opinions.

  • Record the events in the order they occur

  • If you are making documentation that will be viewed by a group of parents avoid using children's names ( Alternative: Child 1, Child A, etc)

  • Choose documentation methods that work for you

Documentation & Planning Templates

We created some templates available for free download below. We also included some FLIGHT Framework resources below that will be useful to refer to during your planning process.

Observations & Planning 1 (portrait)
Download PDF • 115KB

Observations & Planning 2 (Landscape)
Download PDF • 211KB

FLIGHT Play Based Goals

6290ec1c4651821c2ecc6147_Holistic Play Based Goals English 11x17 F
Download PDF • 1.40MB

See how observations can be linked to FLIGHT Play Based Goals

6290eaab162261e9c6ef6db1_Framework Learning Stories E
Download PDF • 5.27MB

Like this post if you found these templates helpful. Comment other templates that you would like for us to create.

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