The Virtual Child (Preschool and School Age)
Name: Dan Yun Chen
Student Number: 300541824
Course Code: ECEP 103
Instructor Name: Jenny Quianzon
Date: December 2, 2010
My virtual child report
When Melody was o months old…
You are relieved that things have been going so well after Melody's birth. Things were a
little scary for a while. You had high blood pressure, premature dilation of the cervix,
and had to go on maternity leave early. You remained in bed for the last two months of
the pregnancy. At the last prenatal check-up, the baby was showing some signs of
distress. The doctors decided to induce labor early, and Melody was born three weeks
early. She weighed only five pounds, and had an Apgar score of six. She was kept in
the hospital for a week, and pronounced healthy at the end of that time. You notice that
Melody seems restless and uncomfortable some of the time, and cries more than most
newborns. She was slow to learn how to feed and lost a little weight after birth. However,
after 3 weeks Melody has finally started gaining weight. The doctors will keep an eye on
her development over the next few months.
After only a week with Melody, you can already feel a hormonal connection. When
Melody cries, you begin to lactate! This will increase if you choose to breast feed, but it
will die off gradually if you do not.
When Melody was 3 months old…
Your partner is participating in daily care of Melody more and more often. The strength
of the bond your partner feels toward Melody has really grown.
Melody is able to focus her eyes on you. She spends a lot of time studying your face
and the faces of anyone who comes close to her.
At 3 months of age, Melody is showing more intense interest in her surroundings.
Melody smiles at familiar people and toys, is able to laugh at surprising or funny things
(such as a little dog), and is developing lots of cute little habits.
When Melody was 8 months old…
You and your partner are able to spend a lot of time in the evenings or on weekends
playing with Melody. Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun!
Your partner plays with Melody on weekends and in the evenings after getting home
from work, but he misses some of Melody's little achievements (such as when she first
sat up). Sort of a solution: buy a digital camcorder and have the live videos sent to him
You try the object permanence test. Melody is able to find a hidden object, as long as
you don't wait too long or distract her in the middle of the search. Melody really likes this
hiding game and shows by her interest that she wants it repeated. However, if you hide
the object in the same place repeatedly, and then change the hiding place, Melody has
a strong tendency to look in the old hiding place, and then get confused about where
the object is, or forget about it. This curious error was first discovered by Piaget, but
researchers have some new explanations for the error.
As Melody turns 9 months, the paediatrician has the following to say after a routine
physical exam, a few items administered from the Bayley Scales of Infant Intelligence,
and some observations of Melody in the playroom:
When Melody becomes upset, it is difficult to soothe her down. She sometimes accepts
your embraces and sometimes pushes you away.
Melody has been ill several times this season from colds or digestive upset. The doctor
advises keeping her away from sick people, and checking out a new food for a few days
to test for allergies.
Melody readily adapted to the new people and situations in the paediatrician’s office.
She made eye contact, smiled at them, and vocalized to them quite a bit.
Melody has typical emotional reactions for her age, such as fear of total strangers,
separation anxiety and a quick, loud cry when upset or in pain.
Melody's motor skills are typical for age: crawling, sitting up, and standing up, but not
How does your baby's eating, sleeping and motor development compare to the typical
At 8 months of age was your child an "easy", "slow-to-warm-up", or "difficult" baby in
terms of Thomas and Chess's classic temperamental categories? On what do you base
How is your child's attachment to you and your partner developing? What is happening
at the 3-month and 8-month periods that might affect attachment security according to
Bowlby and Ainsworth, and various research studies?
When Melody was 12 months old…
Virtual Child uses five dimensions of temperament to describe the child's behavior in the
first 30 months. These dimensions are random at birth, are influenced by your
questionnaire responses, and change gradually over time in response to events and
parenting decisions. The five dimensions are activity, sociability, emotionality,
aggressiveness vs. cooperativeness, and self control. There is behavior genetic and
longitudinal evidence for varying numbers of temperamental traits and the five traits
used in the program are on a lot of lists. Studies also show that temperament changes
in response to strong environmental pressures.
ACTIVITY refers to the physical and mental energy level of the child. Highly active
children may sleep less, be more restless, and engage in more physical activity. Less
active children may sleep more, enjoy quiet pastimes, and show less interest in
vigorous physical activity.
SOCIABILITY refers to the child's friendliness and desire for social interaction. Highly
sociable children are sometimes given the label "extroverted" and less sociable children
the label "introverted."
EMOTIONALITY refers to the intensity of emotion experienced by the child. Highly
emotional children may show more of everything (anger, joy, sadness) and more
fluctuation in moods. Less emotional children may show less extreme emotions and
less fluctuation over periods of time.
AGGRESSIVENESS VS. COOPERATIVENESS refers to the tendency of the child to be
aggressive in social situations with the parent, day-care provider or other children.
Highly aggressive children may be quite resistant to parental demands and throw
tantrums or even lash out at the parent or other children. Less aggressive children tend
to be more cooperative, or to whine and fuss rather than actively resist the parent.
Research indicates that boys are somewhat more aggressive than girls, but there is a
great deal of overlap between the sexes, and this is reflected in Virtual Child.
SELF CONTROL refers to the child's ability to control his or her behavior, delay
gratification, plan out a course of action, or inhibit responses to a typical situations. This
is not exactly the same thing as aggressiveness or emotionality. For example, a child
with low self control might take a cookie when asked to wait, not out of a spirit of lack of
cooperation, but just due to low impulse control. Children who are extreme on this
dimension may fit typical criteria for attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity. The
Virtual Child has a 5% chance of having moderate to severe hyperactivity and a 5%
chance of having mild hyperactivity.
GOODNESS OF FIT is a concept that is closely related to temperament. It refers to the
tendency of the parent to adapt his/her behavior to the child's temperament. For
example, suppose you have a very active child, and you are trying to promote
exploration and learning. Rather than "going against the grain" and attempting to quiet
the child down to look at a book about bugs, you might appeal to the child's active
nature and choose to go on a walk and talk about the bugs you see. Goodness of fit
also applies to developmental level. For example, at 6-8 months most infants are at
least somewhat anxious around strangers, so you would want to introduce the child to a
new person gradually rather than thrusting the child into the person's arms. Parents
desiring to change their child's temperament, or help their child develop a particular skill,
can benefit from the principle of goodness of fit, and the related concept of moderate
novelty. Parents desiring to encourage growth in their child should introduce moderately
novel activities and experiences, because children are more likely to pay attention to
and profit from such experiences.
Your partner has received an advancement and a pay raise. The three of you celebrate,
and Melody is very happy, but doesn't have a clue what the party is about.
The neighbourhood you live in is noisy and crowded. Recently there were a couple of
robberies. This has sent you and your partner out on a hunt for a better apartment. As a
result, you are often tired and irritable in the evenings and on weekends. You just can't
seem to get up enough energy to play with Melody the way you'd like to.
At nine months old, Melody began to understand a few words and point to something
she wanted. At twelve months old, Melody now clearly understands a couple of dozen
words. In fact, Melody just recently pronounced her first clear word and pointed at the
object in question....
Was it "Mom"? Was it "Dad"? No, it was the name of your parents' dog!
You try the object permanence test again. This time, Melody is able to find the object
even after long delays and seems to think this is a great game! You set up two hiding
places for the object and hide it under one of the two covers repeatedly. When you
switch it to the second hiding place, she no longer has the problem you saw earlier of
searching at the more common of the two hiding places. You can't even trick her by
hiding it in your hand. Melody likes this game and wants to play it over and over.
Melody's first birthday is coming in a few days! You invite all the relatives over and
throw a big party.
When Melody was 15 months old…
Melody just turned 15 months of age, and you notice she often studies things in her
environment and performs simple little "experiments" with them, almost like a little
scientist. For example, she builds a little mound of dirt and then studies the effects of
pouring water on it.
When Melody was 18 months old…
Melody is sometimes interested in dancing or singing along with music and sometimes
doesn't seem to notice or care. You teach her some simple preschool songs and try to
encourage her to respond to music.
After a couple months of searching, you found a new apartment in a quieter
neighborhood and have gotten to know some nice neighbors with kids. Melody has
adapted to the new surroundings and seems happy.
Your partner had a good-paying high tech job, but was laid off three months ago. You
had to move into a smaller apartment in a noisy and crowded area downtown. Melody
has shown some signs of reacting to the family tension and unhappiness during this
period. Fortunately your partner regains the job after four months, and you plan to move
into a larger and better located apartment. You are concerned that all of this disruption
might affect Melody, who in fact has become less cooperative and more moody.
Melody has shown some interesting new behavior. She acts shy when looking in the
mirror, uses the word "me" a lot, and wants to do things herself. You think the new
behavior is a sign of self awareness, and you have to decide what the balance will be
between allowing Melody to be independent and teaching her to follow your rules.
Melody has a tremendous drive to use her motor skills. You have to keep an eye on
Melody because she will quickly toddle off into the crowd at public places or even into
When Melody was 19 months old…
Melody is able to imitate actions or words that she has seen or heard days before. This
greatly expands her ability to learn new things. Melody also seems to be aware of basic
categories, such as big or little, and blue or red. You can tell because of the way she is
sorting her toys.
The preschool that you are considering for Melody offers low-priced developmental
assessments. Melody is able to enroll when she becomes reasonably well potty-trained.
She is 19 months old now. Just to find out how Melody's development compares to
other children of her age at this point, you have an assessment done. The early
childhood specialist observes Melody in free play with other kids and does a little testing
of cognitive skills. She reports the following:
After she got warmed up, Melody seemed to get along very well with the other kids, and
was unusually cooperative for a child of her age. The examiner thought that Melody
would adapt well to the preschool environment.
The specialist noted that Melody seemed insecure and uncertain about Mom's
attentions, and tended to cling too much and to be hard to soothe when upset. She
recommended being a lot more consistent and reliable in paying attention to Melody
and giving her comfort and affection.
The specialist noted that Melody readily engaged with her socially and made good eye
contact. She seemed at ease with the examiner throughout the session.
Melody was generally in a positive mood during the play sessions, but occasionally
could be irritable or impatient when things did not go her way.
Melody scored at about the 18-19 month range for communication skill, language
comprehension and language production. This is age-appropriate of course, but the
examiner recommended that because Melody was in such an important period of
language development, that you spend as much time as possible talking with Melody,
asking questions that require some kind of extended answer (rather than just "yes" or
"no"), and looking at and naming things in picture books, etc.
Melody was below age-norms on tasks such as building a block tower to model one
made by the examiner and other spatial skills such as copying shapes, coloring within
the lines and solving picture puzzles. The examiner said that if Melody was interested,
you could work on these kinds of activities more, but not to push them. In that case, just
cmaking the materials available as an option would be a good idea.
Melody was about average for gross motor development. The examiner recommended
that you give her plenty of opportunities to play on indoor and outdoor play gyms and to
play games of catch and kickball with you.
The examiner commented that Melody was able to concentrate very well during all of
the informal testing, and if this continues, she would be more than ready for preschool-
type activities, which typically require children to stay on task or remain in "group time"
for 10-15 minutes. She also recommended getting Melody to follow simple directions at
home, gradually increasing the complexity and length of the directions.
When Melody was 24 months old…
You notice that Melody has some new emotions over the past few months. Some things
you have noticed are shy smiles when asked to be in photographs, looking guilty when
she breaks something, and embarrassment when she has a potty accident. You realize
these new emotions are related to her developing self awareness.
Melody has been riding her "hot wheels" tricycle a lot lately, but recently has avoided it
completely because of a scary accident in which she went off a curb in the park and got
scratched up. You don't push Melody to get back on the tricycle. You figure she will get
back on it when she is ready.
Dad is spending more time with Melody lately. Money is tight, because you are saving
to buy a house, but Dad and Melody have fun in inexpensive activities like going to the
zoo, the petting farm, museums and the park.
Melody fell off a swing at the local park. Since then Melody has been fearful of the
swings as well as the climbing gym.
When Melody was 2 years 6 months old…
You just found out you are pregnant! You are holding off on telling Melody for a while
until the pregnancy become more noticeable. But sooner or later you'll have to face the
inevitable question of 3-year old inquiring minds: "how did the baby get in there?"
Melody is toilet trained now, and rarely has any accidents. She is communicating better,
but has difficulty understanding other people's perspectives. Melody knows her gender
now, and has begun to categorize behaviour and objects as suited to boys or girls. She
prefers playing with girls, but gets along pretty well with boys. You figure she is ready
for a more structured preschool experience.
Melody can remember recent experiences and provide simple descriptions of what
happens, such as a trip to the petting zoo or the amusement park. You are impressed
that her memory is working so well, and you suspect that she has had the ability to
remember these experiences for quite some time, but hasn't had the ability to express it
Melody is going to be starting in a new preschool program soon, so you take advantage
of the fact that a friend of yours is an early childhood development specialist. You ask
her to evaluate Melody, who is 2 1/2 years old. The specialist evaluates Melody's
language, motor and cognitive skills using some developmental scales, and observes
Melody interacting with other children in a toddler play group. This is her report:
Melody was somewhat hesitant in the group of children and spent a few minutes
watching them before joining in. After a while she latched on to a couple of the other
children and had a good time. By the end of the session they were smiling and imitating
Melody was generally not very aggressive with the other kids, but would sometimes say
"Mine!" if there was a toy both children wanted. However, Melody would usually smile
and give up the toy a few moments later and seek out a different toy. The specialist said
that Melody was ready for preschool already in terms of aggressive behaviour.
When given some challenging problems by the examiner, Melody became frustrated
and refused to cooperate. The examiner had to take a break to allow Melody to calm
Melody's scores on measures of language comprehension and production were in the
average range, and she was beginning to show more consistent use in conversational
speech of grammatical markers such as past tense, plural, etc. The specialist
recommended you continue to converse about anything of interest to Melody, read
favourite books to her and go on outings.
Melody is above average in solving problems with more than two steps, and grouping
objects together in categories. The specialist recommended that you respond to
Melody's interests, whether it be building things, learning about animals, going to the
children's science museum, etc, and that you encourage Melody to think about things by
asking questions (e.g., at the zoo, you could ask "what is the monkey doing", to get
Melody to focus on and talk about the animal's behaviour).
She is below average in copying shapes with a pencil, working with picture puzzles and
constructing things out of blocks. The specialist recommended enjoyable and
stimulating activities, such as working on coloring books and simple jigsaw puzzles
Melody's gross motor skills were typical for her age, and varied from slightly below
average (climbing) to slightly above average (throwing and catching a ball). The
specialist recommended more outdoor activities and games of all types.
Melody was able to focus on the tasks given by the examiner for the entire 40-minute
session. The examiner said this was unusually good for the age. She recommended
that you ask Melody to carry out more and more complex daily tasks (such as getting
dressed) and read longer stories in preparation for preschool.
The Virtual Child Assignment Part 1
The Infant Years (Birth to 19 Months Old):
A) How do your baby’s developmental domains compare to the Developmental
Milestones patterns? Is it typical? Support with examples.
Compare my baby’s developmental domains to the Developmental Milestones
patterns, my baby develops typically, and everything is on the right track.
First, for the physical domain, the Developmental Milestones patterns indicates that
when child is at four months, she sleeps about 6 hours before waking during the night,
and follows a moving objects or person with eyes for physical domain etc
(Developmental Milestones Pattern). At age of 3 months, Melody slept 6 hours at night.
That’s the regular sleeping hours for Melody. Also, she was able to focus her eye on me,
even the familiar people. Next, based on my virtual child report, Melody’s motor skills
were typical for her age when she was 8 months. She was able to crawl, sit up and stand
up, but not walking yet. Compare her physical development to the Developmental
Milestones patterns which says that a child sits alone without support and rises up on
arms and knees into crawling position, so Melody’s physical development is typical.
Second, based on the Developmental Milestones patterns of social and emotional
development, when a child is 4 months, she/he returns a smile, responds to peak-a-boo
games, and cries to communicate pain, fear, discomfort, or loneliness (Developmental
Milestones Pattern). For example, Melody smiled at familiar people and toys, was able
to laugh at surprising or funny things. This situation could be considered as returning
smile. Also, she cried when she had diarrheal because she knew to express her feeling
by crying. In addition, when Melody was 8 months old, she had typical emotional
reactions for her age, such as fear of total strangers, separation anxiety and a quick and
loud cry when upset or in pain. Compare to the Developmental Milestone Pattern
“responds differently to strangers and family members when child is 8 months old”, her
reactions are appropriate for her age. Furthermore, from the Developmental Milestone
Pattern, it says that at age 12 months, child imitates adult actions. When Melody was 12
months old, she was able to imitate new words and actions.
Finally, from the Developmental Milestone Pattern, at age of 8 months, child is able to
search for toys hidden under a blanket, basket, or container. When Melody was 8
months, she loved to play hiding game, and she was able to find a hidden object. Beside,
according to the Developmental Milestone Pattern, when a child is 12 months old,
she/he is able to say first word. Yes, Melody also did it when she was 12 months old. She
understood a few words and point to something she wanted.
All in all, Melody grew typically and healthy during her infant years.
B) Identify specific health and safety considerations that you will have to consider during
the infant years. How will you address these issues?
I will have to be aware of Melody being ill during her infant years. Melody has an
immature immune system. She has weak physique and is easier to get sick than other
infants because she was born three weeks early, and she weighted only five pounds
when she was born. For example, when Melody was 8 months old, she has been ill
several times from colds and digestive upset. Whenever Melody gets sick, she tends to
be very cranky and inconsolable, and she refuses to eat. I am so worried about that she
doesn’t get enough nutrition. Therefore, I think during the infant years, I have to
consider about the infant gets enough nutrition throughout the body and enhance the
immune systemin order to avoid illness.
According to the Developmental Milestones patterns, the infant starts learning to
walk at 12 months. “Infants and toddlers are developing stronger grasps, and those who
can stand, crawl, or walk put themselves at risk of falling down stairs, pulling off small
parts from a toy or choking etc” (Pimento and Kernested 359). That’s excited for parents
to know about their children learn to walk, but at the meantime, we cannot ignore that
children may encounter dangerous situation while they are learning to walk because
they may fall off badly. Here, I use my virtual child Melody as an example, she is very
active, and also is an efficient crawler. When she started learning to walk, she always did
something potentially dangerous, such as walking out into street or climbing the couch.
According to my virtual child report, “Melody has a tremendous drive to use her motor
skills. You have to keep an eye on Melody because she will quickly toddle off into the
crowd at public places or even into the street!”(Report) In closing, I will have to keep
eye on infants’ safety during the time they learn how to walk.
The Toddler Years (24 Months Old):
A) How is your child progressing based on typical toddler development? Give specific
examples in all developmental domains.
My child has a typical social and emotional development during toddler years. When
Melody was 19 months old, she was able to imitate actions or words that she has seen
or heard days before. Also, Melody has abundant emotion when she encounter
different situation such as she behaves a shy smile when asked to be in photographs,
she looks guilty when she breaks something, and she is embarrassment when she has a
potty accident. For example, Melody fell off a swing. Since then Melody has been fearful
of the swing. Also, Melody shows high interest on playing two-story doll hour and mini
Melody’s physical domain has developed so well. According to report, “Melody’s
gross motor skills were typical for her age, and varied from slightly below average
(climbing) to slightly above average (throwing and catching a ball).”(Report) According
to the Developmental Milestone, this age of children will learn to use toilet. For example,
Melody is in potty training, and she uses the potty about 60% of time.
For intellectual domain, the Developmental Milestone indicates that when a child at
age 2, she/he enjoys simple stories, rhymes, and songs, and uses 2-3 word sentences,
and tries to sing etc (Developmental Milestone). Melody is sometimes interested in
dancing or singing when she hears the music. Also, her communication skill is growing.
She was able to speak 2 to 3 word into a sentence. In addition, Melody has a very good
memory. For example, one time, Melody went to zoo with her Dad. When I ask her what
you did at zoo, she could remember recent activities, and provide simple description of
B) Have there been any environmental events in your child’s first 2 and half years that
you think might have influenced his/her behaviour and development? Does this create
any health or safety concerns for yourtoddler? Please explain!
When Melody was 18 month old, my husband was laid off, so we moved into a smaller
apartment in a noisy and crowded area downtown. During this period of time, Melody
reacted totally different than before. She became less cooperative and more moody. I
think this living environmental change has influenced her behaviour and development.
During this period of time, Melody has become resistant sometimes to my requests for
cooperation. For example, she said “no” to refuse things that she accepted before such
as food or bath time. I felt very stressed and frustrated when Melody refused to eat
because she is a premature, and has a sick body. Whenever she doesn’t get enough food
or sleeping, she may get sick. Furthermore, this area which we lived in has poor security.
There were a couple of robberies a few months ago. At this situation, I am afraid my
child may be kidnapped by stranger.
Melody has completed her infant and toddler years perfectly. I have nothing to worry about
that at all. There is a new challenge for me. Melody is going to be starting in brand new
preschool program soon. Afterward, she will go to kindergartner. In my opinion, I think Melody
has no problem to adapt now environment at preschool, but there are some health and safety
issues that I still need to concern.
First, I think Melody can eat well at preschool because she can use spoon to feed herself.
Based my observation during her infant and toddler years, she didn’t have any eating disorder.
The only time she doesn’t eat is when she gets sick. Here, I predict that she may get sick a few
times because she is a premature infant. Her immune system is weaker than other children. It’s
easy for her to get ill. I still remember that she has been sick and had digestion problem badly
when she was 8 and 12 months old. Therefore, I think she may get ill during preschool; however,
I try to prevent her from getting sick.
Second, I predict that Melody will get well along with other kids during preschool and school
age. She will share toys with other kids. I think she is good at socialized because I have fostered
her to engage with different people such as friends, neighbours and relatives from the time she
was born to now. According to her developmental report, “Melody was generally not very
aggressive with the other kids, but would sometimes say “Mine!” if there was a toy both children
wanted. However, Melody would usually smile and give up the toy a few moments later and seek
out a different toy (My Virtual Child Report)”.
Third, I think Melody’s communication skill and language comprehension will get improved
during preschool and school age. The reason why I think this way is that when Melody was 2
years 6 months old, she began to show more consistent use in conversational speech of
grammatical markers such as past tense, plural, etc. I can see that she is eager to learn more
Fourth, I speculate that Melody will be concentrated and intellectual kid. When Melody was 19
months, the examiner gave a test to Melody. The result shows that Melody was able to
concentrate very well during all of the informal testing. For preschool-type activities, it requires
children to stay on task for 10-15 minutes. I think Melody will reach that require. In addition, I
think Melody is an intellectual kid. Based on her developmental report, Melody is above average
in solving problems. Problem solving is a good skill for a kid to develop intelligence. I think she
have potential to become little leader in her little group no matter she is in preschool or school
Finally, I think Melody will begin to take more responsibility for herself. For example, she can
get dressed by herself. “Most preschool children have extraordinarily high self-esteem; they are
full of self-confidence and eager to take on new tasks” (Kail and Zolner 293). At preschool age,
children show us high self-confidence. They are interested and curious about new things. For
example, they may have a role playing of family members, and they act themselves as adults
such as mother, father, brother etc. Because of curiosity, children may explore the new things
such as father’s responsibilities or what mother’s duty. From this way, children may learn some
basic philosophy of life.
L. Oesterreich, B. Holt and S.Karas. Ages and Stages: A Brief Overview-Birth to 12 Years.
National Extension Service Children Youth and Family Educational Research
Barbara Pimento and Deborah Kernested. Healthy Foundations in Early Childhood
Settings. Toronto: Nelson Education Ltd.
Robert V.Kail and Theresa Zolner. Children: A Chronological Approach. Toronto: Person
Canada Inc. 2009
My Virtual Child Report