Observation of the Early ChildhoodAn observation was held in the children'”s wing of Tarrant County JuniorCollege. A variety of children between the ages of two to six were observed inactivities ranging from physical and motor to social and cognitive development. Specifically I mean that whether it was leadership skills or lack of, running,climbing and jumping, drawing and writing, or anything that could fall between,it has been seen, done and accounted for in the following observation.
First let’s start with the physical and motor development. Please sayhello to Karligh and Bethany, my first volunteers of the observation. Bothgirls are in the four-year olds. The first activities under physical and motordevelopment that I’m going to observe them performing are the largemuscle/gross-motor skills. The large muscle/gross-motor skills include:climbing across the monkey bars, riding bigwheels (or tricycles), and runningthrough a built-in obstacle course on the playground. Starting with the monkey bars, it’s clearly obvious that Karligh isphysically stronger upperbody-wise than Bethany.Order now
With surprising ease, Karlighcrossed the monkey bars using nothing but her arms to perform this task. Bethany on the otherhand was shaky and uncertain from the start. After hangingfrom the first bar, she quickly swung her feet over to the side for leg support. She was able to cross but only with a great deal of assistance from me. Karligh also showed mastery in riding the big wheel. Her speed andturning ability seemed to surpass anyone else on the playground.
Bethany choseto ride only after a piece of candy bribery. Her tricycle skills were somewhatsluggish but more or less average. However, once again Bethany was victorious. The last large muscle activity was completing the obstacle course. Theobstacle course involved running up a slide, crawling through a tunnel, crossinga shaky bridge and then walking along a balance beam. Karligh ran up the slidewith a considerable amount of effort.
She quickly crawled through the tunneland crossed the shaky bridge with little effort. She crossed the balance beammore quickly than I’d seen any child do that whole day. Bethany climbed up theslide in a time that was a bit quicker than Karligh’s. The crawling through thetunnel was done quickly and she was first stalled on the shaky bridge.
Shemanaged to cross the bridge in a modest time but she hit some trouble at thebalance beam. After slowly completing about ten percent of the travel acrossthe beam, she turned her feet sideways for the remainder of the crossing, whichtook about two minutes. The second area in the physical and motor development involves the useof small muscle or fine motor skills. For the observation, these skillsinclude writing, and playing the drums (the only two fine motor skills I sawboth children perform). These children are four years old so when I say writingI of course am not talking about paragraphs or even sentences.
More simply, mywriting section only involved writing their names. Karligh was able to produceher name on paper in a legibility that was impressive for someone four years ofage. Bethany too was able to write her name but just not quite as nice asBethany. After observing the two children playing the drums, I think it’sunlikely for either girl to win a scholarship for college as a percussionist. Bethany’s playing was sporadic and entirely inconsistent but hey, she’s onlyfour. Karligh’s drumming skills were a bit more impressive since she managed tolay down and keep a beat for a short amount of time.
In judging overall competence in gross and fine-motor skills, it’sobvious Karligh was better at both, but for most children competence seemed tolean more on one than the other. The “strong kids” on the playground who werethe fastest tricycle riders, the highest jumping and so on, seemed to shy awayfrom more of the finer fine motor skills. As for the kids that seemedsignificantly dominate in fine-motor skills, they were more likely to be seenplaying in the sand box or just taking it easy as opposed to climbing, jumping,etc. This didn’t always hold as true. As mentioned before, there wereexceptions such as Karligh.
Now we’re on to the second half of the observation, which involvessocial and cognitive development. This section includes sociodramatic play,drawing pictures, counting and identifying leadership skills or the lack of. The first half of this section takes place in the kindergarten’s room where allof the kids are five or six years of age. The sociodramatic play I saw involved two kids (Matt and Tyler), threewooden box-like objects and a board that was close to the size of a board seenon a seesaw. The three wooden boxes are spaced about eight inches apart, sideby side, with the board lying across all three boxes.
The board hangs past theboxes approximately three feet. So what do you have???? That’s right, aspaceship. No specific movies or TV shows are mentioned in this play. Wesimply have Matt as the pilot and Tyler as the copilot as the two fly over thegalaxy fighting other spaceships. Now the children are landing the spaceship atan airport where Matt says he’s going to work on it.
The children hop off theship and shift the board and climb back on the ship to “go fight some otherguys. ” In the middle of a battle Miss Williams, the teacher, announces thatit’s cleanup time and she pops the clean up song in the tape player. Withouthesitation and in fact enthusiastically, Matt and Tyler hop of their spaceship,as it once again becomes three wooden boxes and a long board, and proceed to putthe objects away as they sing the “clean up song. “The second part of the social and cognitive development section is whereI observed a child drawing a picture. William is the five year old artist Iobserved.
William is making a noble effort trying to draw an airplane. Probably the most interesting part of William’s drawing is the humancharacteristics he gives to the airplane. The airplane is standing upright withits tail, which looks much like a person’s legs planted firmly on the ground. The wings go straight out, side to side and carry the resemblance of a person’sarms. The head of the plane has an overall accurate shape to that of a realairplane.
On the head of the plane, William has drawn in two eyes and a smilingmouth. The only thing left out(reasonably speaking that is when taking intoconsideration that a five year old child is drawing this) is a fully developedtail. William was unwilling to give up his picture for my project. The counting section was short and sweet. Once again the observation isback in the four year olds age group.
Karligh, Madison, Lincoln and Zann werethe four participants in the counting contest. The rules are simple, count tillyou can’t count no more. Our first dropout of the contest was the physical andmotor development queen, that’s right, Karligh. Karligh couldn’t go past twelve.
Madison hung on until twentythree and Zann lasted until that evertrickythirtynine. Zann was our champion who kept going and going and going until Istopped since I felt 156 was sufficient. The leadership skills I noticed during various free play times tended tocome from the four year olds and the kindergarteners. The younger age groups,especially the two year olds, tended to stick to themselves.
The solitaryplaytime seemed to happen less and less as I observed the older age groups. Matt, the spaceship pilot, seemed to be an all around leader no matter what thescenario was. On the playground, Matt led a squadron of about seven kids up anddown the slides, across the monkey bars and whereever else he chose to go. Hewould occasionally stop running around and he would proceed to give orders toeach of his group. Most of the time, the children would accept and follow theorders without hesitation.
Robby is the best example I could find for children that seem to belacking in leadership skills. At the end of story time the teacher radomlypicks a child and gives that the child the oppurtunity to decide whether boys goto the bathroom and girls go to the sink or vice versa. On this occassion, theteacher picked Robby. Robby showed reluctance or perhaps confusion when askedto lead the children. He finally did but only after a good amount of hesitation.
On the playground Robby tends to stick with himself. At one point, he rode thetricycle around in a sluggish fashion. For the most part, Robby stayed in thegravel pit and played with buckets of gravel ignoring the kids that run aroundand over him. Hopefully this observation can give some insight of the preschool agegroup. Although this was only a sample, perhaps some conclusions can be drawnon the development and behavior of these children.