Stephanie Crandell 4-22-10 EDU. 280 In observing a four year old boy this semester in the Central Michigan UniversityChild Development Lab, I watched and learned many things about the boy. I not only sawhis development grow for about four months, but I got to see a child overcome obstaclesand mature as a human being. I had a great experience observing this boy and it taughtme that all children are very different. Cognitive development is basically the development of language andcommunication in a child. Erikson believed that conflict affected every stage ofdevelopment. I happened to have an extremely quiet child who rarely spoke to anyonewhen I first started to observe him over the allotted time. I often wondered if there was areason, such as some sort of at home conflict that caused him to be so anti-social.However, after a few times of me visiting, he made a friend with another boy in the laband although he seemed hesitant at first, he began talking to him more and more everydayand even getting involved in activities and play. As far as emotions go, my child nevershowed any what so ever. There was one day when my little boy actually wet his pantsand had no facial expressions or seemed to show any feelings. He simply told the teacherand she called his mother to bring him a change of pants. There was no one ridiculinghim or anything like that and so I assumed that was why he showed no emotion but I stillfound it rather strange because most children I know, especially at an age like four yearsold, would be very embarrassed at having an accident like that or maybe even try to hideit. Due to the fact that he did not attempt to hide what was happening or have any
emotion about it at all makes me wonder if this was a common occurrence. However, inthe future sessions that I observed the boy, I never saw it happen again. My child’s social/emotional development expanded over the last four monthsquite drastically. I would say they definitely improved. When I first began myobservations the child would simply stare and watch everyone from a distance. My boywouldn’t say anything to the other children that he watched or even mock them inanyway, just watched. As he watched the children it was almost as if he was observingthem with a great interest but was too scared to have anything to do with anyone else. One day while observing the child another young boy about the same as himnoticed that he was having problems using the scissors to cut out simple shapes. The boyshowed him how he did it and told him that it might help if he did it that way as well. Mychild said thank you and did what the boy told him to do. (my child always listened todirections very well) He seemed to get the hang of it and smiled at the boy and proceededto sit by him during play times. My child didn’t talk much to the boy at first. It seemedlike my boy was trying to feel him out so to speak. This other child was a social butterflyand loved to walk around and talk and try to play with everyone. My child preferred to sitby himself all alone and seemed perfectly content playing by himself as well. I feel thisrelated to when Piaget describes accommodation. Being around this other boy changedhis mind somewhat about what he wanted to do during the day throughout the term that Iobserved him. I remember being that way as a child and it took me a long time to becomemore social and make more friends so I was hoping that this child would have a positiveaffect on the boy I observed and help him to become more social at a much younger agethan I did.
As more and more time went by my child’s friend did help him to become moresocial without know he was doing it obviously. My child started engaging in associativeplay and actually talking with other children his age without being so scared all of thetime. He would invite other children to play blocks with him and he loved arts and craftso whenever there was an activity involving drawing, coloring, painting, etc. he was veryexcited and wanted to get all of the other children involved. He also loved showing offwhat his artwork. I saw his artwork while he was creating it and I always had a hard timetelling what it was exactly, but the fact that he loved it so much lead me to believe thatthis was something that he would probably be passionate about it in the future. My childalso got the other kids excited about doing the art because he showed such enthusiasmabout being creative. He would even tell everyone how great all of their work was whilethey were doing it. When it comes to listening to directions and basically be independent, my childwas very efficient. My child never had to be told to go to his mat for naptime. He knewexactly when it was naptime and just went to sleep. He always picked up after himselfand knew when other people were doing something wrong because after a while hewould whisper to the other kids and say that they should stop or they will get into trouble.I felt these were huge advancements from when I first started observing the boy. My four year old boy’s physical development was something that I was surprisedwith. My child was very small for his age. He was much shorter than all of the other boyshis age in the lab and even most of the girls. When I first began my observations withhim I thought that maybe because of his small stature that he would have trouble withsome of his gross-motor development. I was proved wrong over the course of the
semester. As the semester progressed and my child got more and more active I was able tosee more of gross-motor skills because he wasn’t just sitting on the floor playing blocks.He could walk and run perfectly fine, jump up and down, play tag, throw and catch a ball,and seemed to have great coordination. There was one situation where him and his mainfriend in the lab were playing with a medium sized red rubber-like ball. They wereplaying catch and the other boy, who was much larger than my boy, threw the ball a bittoo high and way to hard. I was nervous my child when I was just sitting there becausethey teacher told them that they could do it but they had to be very careful and it lookedas though if my boy didn’t catch the ball, it was going to hit another child. My boyjumped up quite high and grabbed the ball with one hand and simply tossed it back. I wasshocked that he was able to jump that and catch the ball with only one hand. It was madeclear to me that his small body did not affect he ability to do anything. I was even more impressed with my child’s fine-motor skills. The very first daythat I observed him, it was pretty clear that he loved playing with blocks. He would sitthere for an hour at a time while I was observing him and build really amazing buildingsand shapes with his blocks. He always seemed so concentrated and humble to his work. Ifound my child to be very creative. As I stated before, my child absolutely lobed artwork. In him loving to do this somuch I was able to see all of his fine-motor skills. He did things that I felt were advancedfor his age. He wrote his name perfectly clear, held crayons and markers correctly, and heloved to paint. Whenever he got the chance to pain the would be so enthused. He held thepaintbrush very professionally and made his work. The only thing that I couldn’t
understand about the entire situation was that even though he could hold and use all ofthese objects so well, his coloring was never inside the lines and his painting was alwaysmore of an abstract that I couldn’t tell what he was trying to paint. I am confident inbelieving that because he loves his art so much and his fine-motor skills are moreadvance for his age, that he will be great in his future creations. My child also is very independent as I said before. I watched him tie his ownshoes several times and whenever his jeans came unbuttoned or unzipped he knewexactly how to fix it. Some other kids would have to ask the teacher for assistance but Inever saw my child ask the teacher for any sort of help involving his body personally. Observing this boy in particular over the past few months has been quiteeducational. I will admit at first I considered observing another child because I thoughtthe boy that immediately chose was going to be boring in a way because he seemed tojust want to be alone. I am so glad that I stuck with watching this child because I got tosee him grow and mature. I was able to watch a shy boy overcome his fear of people andbecome more social and make more friends. I truly found it inspirational to help kids stepof out their comfort zones to make friends because I find that when children are moresocial they seem to be happier.