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Child Observation

Child Observation

Observe a child between the ages of birth to 3 years of age for at least two hours. You may select the child’s home setting, the child’s childcare or “school” setting, or another venue where the child usually spends time. Write a 3-5-page paper on your observations using the guidelines for writing papers in your syllabus.

It is very important that you use the correct format for your document and that you edit your paper for spelling and grammar; otherwise, you will lose points. Once you have conducted your observation, add the following points to your report: -age of child -specific behaviors you observed -description of place where observation took place -discussion of whether you feel the behaviors you observed are typical of the age-group -if the behaviors are not typical of the age group, discuss why you think this is so Guidelines for observing young children Child Study/Shadowing Age of child _______________________ Child’s Gender _____________________ Personal Information (of child): IMPORTANT NOTE: When observing very young children (infants, toddlers, 3 year olds to 8 year olds) it is very important that you make your goals and motive honestly and explicitly to the parents of the child. It is also critical that the child is aware of these goals and motives. We must remind ourselves that children are little people with feelings, ideas and motivations of their own and therefore our work must be respectful to this personhood. Social Development: In this section, you will include all observations of the children that describe their skills, including their ability to communicate needs with others, to be able to interact with other children, with adults [age is an important factor since infants and toddlers have a different way of demonstrating these skills.] Observe how the child interacts with her/his family that may include siblings or other extended family members. Does the child interact with peers (not family members)? Observe the child at play and note her/his social skills in this context. Another factor is culture. Different families, depending on their cultural lens, will encourage certain social behaviors that may be different from your own. In addition, you may want to include areas that are specific to the child, his/her temperament, sociability, [are they alert in the morning more so than in the afternoon or evening, or vice versa?] Try to elicit the parents’ views about their child; it will help you understand other culturally relevant information about the child and his/her family. Emotional development: In this section, you will include observations of the child that describe behaviors when he or she is dealing with anger, sadness, stress, conflict, frustration, joy, excitement, etc. Again, age and cultural background will be a factor in his/her level of development. Be aware of how the behaviors differ when the child plays with peers, family members, and with adults. Coping is a critical factor in development. How does the child cope? What is his or her threshold? Physical[Psychomotor] Development: In this section, you will include observations that describe his/her skills in areas of gross and fine motor development. These include walking, jumping, climbing [stairs, outdoor and indoor equipment/furniture]. You are observing the use of the large muscles. The child may already be batting, skipping, and twisting and bending as in gymnastics. The small muscles, while not very developed in the early years, are already developed so that children can hold utensils like forks, spoons, knives, pencils, crayons and scissors. In addition, children are beginning to learn self-help skills such as putting on shoes, socks, clothing, zippering, buttoning, etc. Age and culture are important to consider in this area as we observe that in some cultures, parents (and teachers such as in a child care or Head Start program) promote independent behaviors while other parents or teachers do not. This cannot be judged good or bad, but rather contextualized to the culture and background of the children themselves. Cognitive/Intellectual Development: In this section, include observations that describe the child’s thinking process. Does the child solve problems? How does he do this? How does he/she access adults, or objects to figure things out? Include language she/he uses to let you know what he or she already has learned about his world. What concepts does he/she know? Give specific examples, i.e., cold, hot, big, small, tired, hungry, day, night, etc. Remember that experiences play a great role in cognition. Therefore, be sensitive to the peculiar setting, and world of this child. His culture, language and social class status determine to a certain extent what the child has learned about adults, things and his world. Cognition includes a child’s ability to comprehend at his or her level of development. Be cautious not to judge a child unfairly if he or she does not understand number, volume, weight, time, etc. Very young children have a different way of thinking about these concepts. Language/Literacy Development: What language or languages does the child speak? Give specific examples of his or her speech. Is the child asking questions, making commands? It’s important to remember that very young children communicate in different, but definitely important ways. Knowing how very young children do this lets us know the level of knowledge they have constructed. It helps us understand how she or he is constructing language and meanings she or he has already attached to her or his world. What types of communication does the child use to solve problems? What types of communication does the child use to access a toy, food your attention, his/her brother’s attention, his brother’s or sister’s or mom and dad? Notice when he/she does the most talking or communicating (infants talk in their own special way). Also, notice how he/she listens. How does he/she attend to other’s conversation? Include examples of the child’s communications. It helps us understand what he/she knows. Remember that words/labels and other forms of communication describe what we know about things/concepts in our world. Age and culture play an important role in the development of these forms of communication. What is literacy at the very young levels (remember that younger children do read—at their level)? Is he or she writing (remember that younger children do write—at their level)? Remember that these processes occur simultaneously as language/literacy develops. Even a very young child may have learned about reading and writing and actually imitates the “act” of reading or writing. Literacy is also contextual. Children, depending on their culture, language, geography, etc. will comprehend these literacy processes differently. Be open to “seeing” the child as a literacy-seeking person. Curiosity, remember, is key at this age. DATA COLLECTION [Methods of collection] • Observations [conducted in naturalistic settings] • Audio recording • Video recording • Interv

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