3 Settings for 30 Minutes
3 Settings for 30 Minutes
3 Settings for 30 Minutes
Child’s pseudonym: O’Keefe
Age: 4 years and 4 months
Grade level: Pre-school
Description of lesson/activity observing: Playroom and Playground
Class or group size:
Time: 8.30 a.m
Length of the observation: 30 minutes
Actions and Behaviors
- On arriving to the classroom, O’Keefe was able to find his seat and settle down.
- To unzip his sweatshirt, he used his hands to undo the zipper.
- He resorted to push the hood of his sweatshirt over his head after observing that the zip was stuck and he could not undo it completely.
- When playing with the Lego, O’Keefe pushed it together to construct his spacecraft.
- He played with Augury as they constructed the spaceship. After finishing with assembling the craft, the boys proceeded to chase each other in the room making spacecraft noises.
- When playing with a wooden bed truck, O’Keefe was crawling on the mat while pushing the toy.
- When he was given a fake toolbox, he tried to fit a real hammer into the box. One realizing it could not fit in the hammer slot; he decided to request assistance from Miss Oliver.
- At the Cozy Corner, O’ Keefe skipping and running with other children in the room. He also climbed up and down the staircase as they chased each other across the playroom.
- When the children were allowed to go to the playground, O’Keefe was running all around the entire area.
- In the playground, O’Keeffe stumbled on a rock, which he collected and observed for a few minutes.
- He also joined a group of boys to play. They pretended to be pirates and made funny gestures together.
- In the play mat, the children were not wearing shoes. After playing, O’Keefe used his hands to fit his shoes back on
- After going back to the playroom, I observed that O’Keefe removed his sweatshirt and returned it in his cubby.
- When playing with the blue toy cash register, Linda, a girl in the class, asked O’Keefe if she could buy a cell phone. He answered by asking her which of the phones she wanted and proceeded to transact the purchase. He closed off the interaction by saying “thank you.”
- During the entire time when O’Keeffe was playing with other children, he was consistently smiling and laughing except one time where I observed him pretending to cry when Tiana took his truck to give to Augury
- When his mother came to pick him from the playroom, O’Keeffe giggled and laughed as she kissed and hugged him. He looked sad leaving the friends he had made especially after having a splendid time during playtime.
Observations made on O’Keefe’s behavior and actions indicate that he is still in the preoperational stage. As explained, in this stage, a child is unable to comprehensively grasp logic, process or manipulate information provided (Barrouillet, 2015). This is observed when O’Keefe fails to fully unzip his sweatshirt. It indicates that despite knowing that the sweatshirt can be unzipped, he cannot be able to focus on ensuring that the zip is undone. The pretend play is also identified, which is characteristic of this stage. O’Keefe pretends to be a pirate in the company of his friends. According to the theory forwarded by Piaget, the pretend play is technique or element explored by children when they are unable to cognitively manipulate information (Barrouillet, 2015). The element of egocentricity is also indicated in the observation. This is considered an elemental constituent of the pre-operational stage. When O’Keefe pretends to cry when Augury tried to take his spacecraft, it is indicative that he is egocentric and fails to understand the perception of other children.
The symbolic function substage is also exemplified through O’Keefe’s actions. As explained by Piaget, at this stage, a child develops heightened sense of socialization. This is indicated by increased playing and role-playing. In this case, O’Keefe pretends to be attending to Linda, as a customer who wants to buy a phone from him. He even ends the conversation or rather the transaction by thanking her. This is clearly showing that the two children in question are role-playing, which validates this theory. Animism is also a trait that is observed in O’Keefe’s activities. Piaget describes animism as the ability of a child to believe that an inanimate object or item has human like attributes such as movement (Barrouillet, 2015). In the case study, this is observed when O’Keefe and Augury are playing with the spacecraft. It is evident that they assume that the craft can fly as they observe in films. However, the item is inanimate and incapable of motion.
Child’s pseudonym: Shelley
Age: 6 years
Grade level: First Grade
Description of lesson/activity observing: English Lesson
Class or group size: 15 students
Time: 10.30 a.m
Length of the observation: 30 minutes
Actions and Behaviors
- In the beginning of the class, Shelley was holding her English book using her left hand. She was writing notes down with her right hand, which held her pen.
- During the course of the class, Shelley was actively participating by asking questions and raising her arms to answer quizzes.
- As the class progressed, I noticed she was twirling strands of her hair with her thumb and right index finger
- When she was asked to answer a question on the board, she stood up and walked across the room without losing her balance or wobbling.
- Shortly after the students were asked to sit down on the floor for a meeting, I observed that Shelley was rocking herself back and forth.
- The class started with the students handing in their assignments on being a good friend, Shelley was confident to hand in her paper, which was six pages long and well written.
- The class book reading was from the book “Charlie the Caterpillar.” When asked to provide details on the previous class reading, Shelley was able to reiterate almost all of the details about it.
- In the work sheet practice, the students were supposed to unscramble a couple of words. Shelley managed to unscramble the words faster than her classmates did.
- When Mrs. Carolyn asked what the monkeys in “Charlie the Carpenter” should do after being mean to Charlie, Shelley raised her hand quickly and answered that it is appropriate for someone to apologize for teasing another person.
- As the class progressed on, Shelley interrupted Mrs. Carolyn to inform her that her group was next in line for selecting the books for the reading session the next week.
- She apologized for interrupting her teacher when they were asked to search for certain books. She also requested for help when she could not find a particular book.
- During the morning meeting, I observed that Shelley was holding hands and hugging her classmate called Caitlyn. She was also very attentive during the class session with Mrs. Carolyn.
- The whole duration of the class, Shelley keenly looked at me from time to time. On responding to her gaze, she smiled happily.
Based on the observations outlined concerning Shelly’s conduct in the classroom setting, it is evident that she is in the intuitive thought substage that is part of the pre-operational stage. According to Piaget, the theory that explains children who fall under this category explore their primitive reasoning capacities hence the inquisitive nature observed (Barrouillet, 2015). In the case study, Shelley shows her inquisitive personality through her active performance and participating in class. She asks questions as well as answers queries directed to the class by Miss Carolyn. At this stage, a child focuses on understanding the manner in which things and people function and the manner in which they interact. This is exemplified when Shelley hands in her paper of six pages. It is an indication that she has thoroughly researched and understood the facts about the assignment.
The aspect of centration, which is synonymous with this substage, is indicated in Shelley’s observations. It is important to understand the theory of centration elaborates the manner in which a child directs all their focus on one central activity or element and disregards everything or others. Shelley validates this theory when she interrupts her teacher after she fails to find the book she was searching for. This means that she had directed all her focus on the search and disregarded what the teacher was saying in order to ask for assistance. Another aspect about him intuitive thought sub stage that is observed in irreversibility is whereby the child fails to understand how to reverse the sequence of occurring events (Plass, Moreno & Brünken, 2010). For instance, Shelley was the first student to unscramble the words provided by the teacher. However, she was unable to put them back together. This is validated by the fact that children are more reliant on visual presentation as compared to logical reasoning. However, the latter develops later on in life where the child is able to recognize the reversibility of events.
Based on observations, it is clear that Felicia is also entering into the concrete operation stage. At this point, Piaget notes that children are able to show somewhat logical reasoning, which is also described as inductive. He opines that a child is able to exhibit adult-like traits that set them apart from other age groups (Plass, Moreno & Brünken, 2010). Additionally, they are able to generalize after inferring from the observations made from their environments. The justification of this theory is illuminated when Felicia apologizes for interrupting her teacher as well as her inferring that the mean monkey characters in the book reading should apologize to Charlie. This is indicative that she observed her behavior and those of the monkeys. She inferred that both actions were inappropriate hence requiring rectifying through offering an apology.
Child’s pseudonym: Felicia
Age: 3years and 5 months
Grade level: Preschool
Description of lesson/activity observing: Play Session
Class or group size: 3 students
Time: 12.00 p.m
Length of the observation: 30 minutes
Actions and Behaviors
- Felicia uses her fingers and hands to join the toys she is playing with together.
- When playing with the half-spiked ball, she used her superior forefinger to grasp it.
- When she wanted to have some cheerios, she used a pincer grasp to pick some of the pieces on the table.
- She held her sippy cup tightly during the snack time using one hand as she drank.
- She was given a toy guitar to play with, which she held together with the strum used to pluck the strings
- When playing with the Lego toys, Felicia crawled on the ground pushing them towards one direction.
- She wanted to play with an additional toy, so balancing on her knee with both hands on the floor she reached out for the doll laying beside her.
- She imitated her mother as she drummed the toy drummed that was in Felicia toy collection.
- She loved playing with her plush bunny so when her mother pushed it under the table, she crawled under it to retrieved the bunny.
- When her mother brought her Cinderella doll and ballerina costume, she wore it and pretended to be dancing in a ballerina performance.
- After playing with the dolls, she put them in a basket specifically designated for her toys.
- She took her blocks and started playing with them. I noticed that she immediately knew which blocks fit together. She especially linked the blocks with the same color such as green with green, red with red and yellow with yellow.
- Her friend, Melanie, joined her shortly and they started conversing, and reading a book titled “Brown Bear Brown Bear.” As they were reading, the giggled in between the session and showed me the picture of a blue horse and gold fish as well as butterflies.
- During snack time, I observed that Felicia was having a hard time opening her monkey-shaped lunchbox. I observed she approached one of the teachers and asked for help.
- During the class session, Felicia was actively playing with the other girls as they pretended to perform in a concert. She played her part with the guitar while other played other instruments.
- When the session was done, Felicia’s mother came to pick her up; she ran towards her smiling and kissed her on the cheek expressing how she had missed seeing her the whole day.
Considering Felicia’s age, one can categorize her as toddler. According to Piaget, this stage is marked by coordination of secondary circular stages that are elaborated as reactions. At this age, the child is aware of the environment through indicating coordination of the hand and eyes as well as of intentionality and schemas. In Felicia’s case, this coordination is exemplified when she holds her sippy cap with one hand as she drinks with the other as well as the instance where she is reaching out for an additional toy. According to the theory of cognitive development proposed by Piaget, Felicia’s development can be described as sensorimotor as well as pre-operational (Plass, Moreno & Brünken, 2010). Piaget opines that the sensorimotor stage involves a child being able to coordinate their experiences as a means of understanding their external conditions (Barrouillet, 2015). This is achieved through interacting their senses with objects and items in their surrounding. In Felicia’s case, this interaction is observed through the physical contact through out her evaluation. Firstly, she uses her hands to play with her toys. This is expressed when she stretches her thumb out to touch the spiked ball.
At this stage, Piaget also opines that children learn their individuality in that they are part of the environment but not a constituent. This is termed as object permanence where the child understands that physical objects they interact with are continuously in existence even when they cannot be seen within the vicinity. One of the primary tests that have been outlined as validating this theory is the peek-a-boo game where a child understands that the face of the person playing with them exists even though they cannot see it hence the reason why the reach out for the fingers to see what behind them (Barrouillet, 2015). In the case study, this is elaborated when Felicia tells her mother that she had missed her. This simply means that she knew her mother was not in her vicinity but was somewhere, that is, in existence.
The preoperational stage is also indicated in this case study. It is valid to state that Felicia is at the peak of this stage. This is observed when she expresses how much she had missed her mother. Another situation that captures this aspect is when she converses with her friends with whom she forms a group with and pretends to be playing guitar. Piaget theory supports this claim when he reiterates that due to the sole factor that at this stage a child cannot clearly process information, they tend to play and pretend a lot (Plass, Moreno & Brünken, 2010). In terms of pretending, this means taking another character as a form of role-play. They might pretend to be doctors, Barbie dolls, nurses amongst other roles. This stage is also diagnosed as symbolic function substage. There are several reasons that justify this claim. Firstly, at this stage, which is commonly observed in children between the age of two and four, a child is unable to intricately manipulate the information within their surrounding (Barrouillet, 2015). Hence, their processing of information at this stage is represented as pretend play and language. The symbolic aspect of their play is when they engage their friends in role-play or create imaginary friends. At this point, the child’s social abilities are heightened as well. These observations from Felicia case prove that she falls under this category.
The observations made when observing the three children indicate the applicability of the theory on cognitive development of children. Piaget opined that the manner in which a child is raised influences their level of intelligence during adult years (Feldman, 2004). Seemingly, based on the observations, one can deduce that despite the subjects being of different age bracket, it is likely to determine the extent to, which their intelligence has manifested. It is also evident that the subjects differ in terms of stages with the older one being able to show understanding of logical reasoning as compared to her counterparts. This progressive development of the cognitive reasoning in terms of mental process is thus justified to be a valid life process that occurs as intelligence is gathered.
From all the observations, the common feature observed and resonates with the theory proposed by Piaget is physical interaction of a child and the environment as an imperative factor in enhancing intelligence as well as developing logical and rational thinking. The children from three settings indicate some sort of interactions with the people around them, the toys, and the environment (Plass, Moreno & Brünken, 2010). This indicates that they gather experience from interactions that empower them with the ability to further comprehend the world around them (Feldman, 2004). I have learnt that the stage of development a child is in generally determines the sort of interaction they will have with their surrounding. During the sensorimotor stage, a child is more restricted as they are incapable of communicating effectively with their surroundings. As elaborated, they are better at interactions that are centered on senses such as hearing, smell, touch, and taste. Hence, due to this, their activities are limited to sucking, grasping, and steeping. However, the aspect of separatism of object permanence encourages further interaction as children are able to realize that there are separate entities from their environment.
The existence of the sub-stages within the sensorimotor category allows more evaluation to be conducted on the subjects under observation. Simple reflexes were observed in all the case studies primarily because a child develops them from birth (Plass, Moreno & Brünken, 2010). The second part, which is the primary circular reactions and habitual patterns are observed after six months (Feldman, 2004). O’Keefe who had formed a habit of removing his sweatshirt and storing it in his cubby specifically exemplifies this. I have learnt that these habitual patterns are developed within the first year of birth. The third substage further explains the development of habits within children. The age range where this phenomenon is commonly seen is between four and eight months. However, it is highly likelihood to observe habitual trends amongst young children.
Coordination, in terms of secondary circular reactions marks the forth substage. At this point, a child is capable of coordinating vision and touch, schemas, hand and eye as well as intentionality. This has been observed in all the case studies evaluated above. Coordination takes the form of being able to reach out for toys while balancing oneself from falling, twirling strands of hair while writing on a book amongst other activities. The fifth substage is developing curiosity, novelty and tertiary reaction (Plass, Moreno & Brünken, 2010). Felicia who keeps on asking questions during the class session exemplifies this. Lastly, the process of internalizing schemas forms the fifth substage. In this stage, a child is able to perceive mental representations (Feldman, 2004). Additionally, aspects such as creativity and insight are observed. Felicia elaborates this when she is able to deduce information from the class reading and conclude by stating that the monkeys should have apologized. Ultimately, although the aforementioned stages are developed earlier on in life, it is possible to observe that they are retained over the course of time in order the human knowledge to be maintained.
All the subjects under observation can be categorized under the preoperational. Felicia happens to fall in this category as well as the concrete operational stage. In the theory of cognitive development, preoperational stage is described by factors such as transitive inference, class inclusion, irreversibility, centration, and conservation (Feldman, 2004). Based on the observations made, most the subjects indicated that they possessed centration and irreversibility. Hence, the theoretical frameworks developed by Piaget are applicable and sound.
Barrouillet, P. (2015). Theories of cognitive development: From Piaget to today. Developmental Review. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2015.07.004
Feldman, D. (2004). Piaget’s stages: the unfinished symphony of cognitive development. New Ideas In Psychology, 22(3), 175-231. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.newideapsych.2004.11.005
Plass, J., Moreno, R., & Brünken, R. (2010). Cognitive load theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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