An example of an anecdotal observation technique

An anecdotal observation of the social development of two 3 year old children

Katy aged 3 years 4 months
Rosie aged 3 years 3 months

Katy and Rosie are playing together in the Home Corner in an Educational Nursery. Katy picks up a long blue dress from the dressing up rail and carefully takes it off the coat hanger. She replaces the coat hanger on the rail. She looks at the dress and turns it around so the top of the dress is uppermost. The dress has five small buttons at the back. Katy slowly opens the buttons and puts the dress over her head so the buttons are at the front. She slides her arms into the dress and pulls the dress down. She stops to feel the silky material and smoothes the dress with her hand. Katy smiles and turns around on the spot. "It goes swish!" she says.

Rosie is opening the oven and takes out a tray with a cake on it. "That's nice! Now hurry up or the birthday tea will be cold." Rosie smiles at Katy. Katy walks to the table and starts to set out cups and plates. Rosie puts the cake in the centre of the table. Katy says, "You need a dress."

Rosie goes to the rail, pushes the clothes along and knocks three outfits on to the floor. She makes no attempt to pick them up. She looks at the clothes and chooses a red coat. She pulls it off the coat hanger and throws the coat hanger on the floor. The buttons on the coat are fastened. Rosie tries to pull the coat over her head, but it is stuck. She tugs at it and tries to put on the coat. Rosie has an angry scowl on her face and looks as if she will cry. The Nursery Nurse offers to help and suggests Rosie loosens the buttons first. The Nursery Nurse starts to unfasten the buttons. Rosie pushes her hands away. "I do it myself!" The Nursery Nurse holds the coat and allows Rosie to unfasten the buttons. Rosie is able to put on the coat and fasten the large red buttons. "That's better!" she says.

Katy watches her and tries to fasten the buttons on her dress. She is not successful and asks the Nursery Nurse to help her. The two girls sit down at the table. Katy pours tea from the teapot and offers a cup to Rosie. Katy uses a plastic knife to slice the plastic cake. She puts one piece on her plate and one piece on Rosie's plate. "Happy birfday, Rosie." she says. "Happy birthday, Katy!" Rosie replies and the girls start to giggle.


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