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Jotting Observations In Childcare

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Jotting Observations In Childcare

Jottings are a quick and easy way to record significant events and behaviours. They provide a picture of a child's interest or their development.

It is usually short details of significant events, behaviours or conversations. It can be a couple of sentences to no longer than a paragraph at most.

Jottings are similar to anecdotal records except that they are much briefer and often describe a specific behaviour rather than a sequence of events. They are usually recorded directly after the behaviour has been observed or later from memory and they can form the basis for a more detailed anecdotal record if required.

Jottings can be written in a diary, note pad, log book or even post it notes and transferred to individual folders later.

How To Write A Jotting

Below is one example of a set of jottings with interpretation:

12.7.09: Rebecca (11 months) lies in her cot after waking up. P bends over her but she does not smile. H, her regular caregiver, comes over and Rebecca immediately starts to smile.

13.7.09: Rebecca is sitting on the mat playing with nesting cups. Toni (12 m) crawls to the rug and tries to take a cup from Rebecca’s hand. She squeals, holds on tight to the cup, looking around the room at the adults.

16.7.09: Rebecca enters the nursery with her mother. She hides her head in her mother’s shoulder and holds tightly to her shoulder. H comes over to her mother smiling. The two women talk in a friendly manner for two or three minutes. H then says 'time for Mummy to go', holds out her arms for Rebecca, who leans over and reaches out for H, smiling in return.


The observer usually writes a short comment or interpretation to accompany a set of jottings.

Rebecca is experiencing separation anxiety and stranger anxiety which is typical for infants at this age. It shows her growing awareness of others and her ability to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar people. She is also showing her attachment to her mother and her primary caregiver—H in these jottings.

Jottings can be written in a variety of formats and are most commonly used because they are efficient and easy to write and provide a quick overview of the child's development, interests and skills.

Different Types Of Observation Methods, Aussie Childcare Network
Gather and Document Detailed Information About The Child Readings, TAFE NSW

Created On January 29, 2021 Last modified on Thursday, May 12, 2022
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