This paper was formed by observing a preschool child while she was in her natural environment. The observation was done without the child seeing or talking to me. It was required to observe the child in this way to not get attached to the child, and therefore my observations and conclusions would not be bias. The observations made about the child were then compared to different theorists and their respected theories. The three theorists used to understand the observation of the child were from Erickson, Piaget, and Vygotsky.
Veronica is a 5-year-old Caucasian female. She has light skin and blonde hair. Her hair is curly and short; does not reach the length of her shoulders. Her eyes are the color green, and they are full and big. She would be considered taller than average, for she was taller than most kids in the center. The room was small but full of toys. There were different centers for the children to use. There was a reading center, a playing center, a writing center, and so on. The walls in the room had many posters that showed the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and different words to be learned. There was a teacher or helper in every station helping the children through thinking processes or just playing with them.
Gross motor skills
The teacher let the children know that it is recess time and that they were able to go outside; Veronica gave a big jump and started running towards outside. According to Mildred Parten, there are five stages of play, which include solitary, onlooker, parallel, associative, and cooperative (Berger, 2018, p.286). Veronica, according to Parten, is in the stage of playing called solitary. She ran side to side to grab one of the big toys tractors and carried it to the other side of the playground. She quickly stopped playing with the tractor and ran over the playhouse. Veronica started climbing the ladder to get to the top of the playhouse. To get down, she decided to use the slide, and as she got down, she tried to climb back up the slide until she noticed that it is not possible. One can see that Veronica is currently in the play stage called solitary since she played by herself the entire time.
Fine motor skills
Veronica was sitting in a table where there were different fruits laid out in front of her. She grabbed a pomegranate and started using her fingers, trying to get all the seeds off from the actual fruit. Veronica then got half of a dragon fruit as well as a spoon. She used the spoon to get the insides of the fruit out in a cup. She twisted her hands in order to get every bit of it out. Later in the day, she got asked by a volunteer in the classroom to practice writing her name. She used a pencil over and over again, moving it to form the letters in her name. She changed the position the way her fingers held the pen, and she turned how much motion she used to make one letter.
Veronica sat in the table with fruits in which she decided to smell some of the fruits she was observing. No fruit made any difference in her facial expression or reaction like the strawberry did. “According to Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory, by contrast to two-year old's, five-years-old can say almost anything. Five-year old's have a vocabulary range of 2,000 to 6,000 words (Berger, 2018, p.263-264)”. She smelled the strawberry, squinted her eyes, and pulled her head back, showing a confused expression and stated, “I do not like the smell of this.” When the teacher tried to give her another one, she pushed her hand away and yelled, 'No! I don't want another one. You have it.' The teacher responded, “No, how do we say no.” Veronica then stated, 'I don't like it; it smells bad, you take it.” “Piaget noted that social interaction in intellectual development is vital to the role of language. (Nath, 2010)”. It can be seen how the interaction between Veronica and the teacher was useful, since it allowed Veronica to deliver the message the correct way, using the right words.
Veronica and other kids volunteered and were chosen to go outside to the garden and explore it. They started playing in the sand and water and later began making mud. According to Erickson, children go through different stages with a particular challenge or developmental crisis; he believed that there were six stages (Berger, 2018, p.39-40). Based on Veronica’s age, she is currently working on stage 3 in Erickson's theory, which is initiative vs. guilt. It can be seen as she plays, along with some of her classmates. Veronica went up to one of her classmates and asked her, “Do you want some pies?” The child answered, “Yes, I would like a strawberry pie.” She headed back to the mud pond and started making pies, as she took the pies back to the child, another kid appeared and took the pie out of her hand. He then splashed it in the water. This caused mud and water to splatter all over Veronica. She screamed, “No! I have dirt all over my body!” She stared back and forth from her clothes to the child that splattered her. She grabbed some mud and threw it at him as well. The teacher saw what happen and told both Veronica and the other boy what they did was really bad. As a result, they both had to apologize. “Erickson believed that a parent or educator has the responsibility, socially, to encourage the child to grow up. Although, it has to be in a way that the child doesn’t feel too guilty in which later it affects their own feelings (Boeree, 2006)”. After apologizing, they decided to start making pies together and selling them while they smiled.
“According to Vygotsky, cognitive development stems from social interactions from guided learning within the zone of proximal developmental as children and their partners' co-construct knowledge (McLeod, 2018)”. When in class, Veronica walked towards a box. She started pulling out different toy cooking items. She grabbed a red plate and placed it down, then a grey pan, and placed it in another location. “Vygotsky stated that learning depends, in part, on the wisdom and willingness of mentors to provide scaffolding (Berger, 2018, p.255)”. The helper kept asking Veronica, 'what color looks like the one you have in your hand?' This continue for the red bowl, red cup, green fork, blue spoon, and so on. With the help of the mentor, she placed the items in groups base on colors not base on shapes. She recognized items that were the same color and colors that were not, therefore, had to make a new group for it. The teacher saw this and told Veronica, 'Good Job!'
I have seen and noticed that Veronica is a bit more mature than the average child. She was able to communicate well. She was able to understand concepts at a faster rate than the others. After observing Veronica, my perspective about child development has shifted from when I first began this course. At first, I believed that child development was just about understanding what developments had to happen and at what age. Although now, I have realized that child development is so much more than understanding definitions and periods. It is about taking every child independently and understanding their situation based on what they have experience as well as who they are as a person. Because every child is unique, and they grow and learn at different times and in different ways.
- Berger, K. S. (2018). Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence (11th ed.). Play (pp. 286). New York: Macmillan Learning.
- Berger, K. S. (2018). Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence (11th ed.). Vocabulary Explosion (pp.263-264). New York: Macmillan Learning.
- Berger, K. S. (2018). Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence (11th ed.). Theories (pp. 39-40). New York: Macmillan Learning.
- Berger, K. S. (2018). Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence (11th ed.). Social Learning (pp. 255). New York: Macmillan Learning.
- Boeree, C.G (2006). Erik Erikson: Personality Theories. Psychology Department Shippensburg University, (pp. 9-10.)
- McLeod, S. A. (2018, Aug 05). Lev Vygotsky. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html
- Nath, B.K (2010, November). Theories of Language and Learning. University of Calicut. Jean Piaget (pp. 6).