Child Development Essay

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Child/Family Observation Paper
Sarah Walker
Morgan O’Leary
PSYC 2103: Human Growth and Development
October 13, 2011

This paper is a child/family observation and assessment of a child in the life-span development stage of early childhood, so between the ages of 2-6. In the early childhood stage, children are entering the “play” years. They have vivid imaginations and rapid growth in language and cognitive development. Observation in the assessment of a child is very important because that is how you get to know a child better. While observing how a child interacts with their peers, adults, and how they behave in different settings, you are getting to know the child without speaking to them. It also provides us with information by helping us to determine where a child stands in his or her development. In this paper we will provide a brief overview of two prominent theories of physical, cognitive and social development in early childhood and how they relate to the subject we observed.

Observation Summary
For this project, we went to an arcade called Fun City on September 22, 2011 at 4:15 in the afternoon. The observation lasted right at 50 minutes. We observed a caucasian little boy by the name of Mason. We determined he was Caucasian because he was light skinned, has blonde hair, and blue eyes. He seemed to be middle class, he was wearing nice, clean jeans and a polo shirt with sketcher tennis shoes. We based his age on his height, weight, verbal ability as well as his cognitive thinking skills. Because after a child turns 2 years old they tend to grow about 2-3 inches and about 5 pounds each year and because he weighs approximately 40 pounds and is approximately 36 inches in height we estimated him to be around 3 ½ years old. In our assignment we covered milestones in physical, cognitive, and social development. In Physical development we looked at the development of fine and gross motor development (Berk, 2010, pp.171), as well as physical growth (Berk, 2010, pg.165). Mason displayed well developed gross and fine motor skills for his age. Another reason that the child fits into early childhood development is his height and weight. (Berk, 2010, pp.165). When looking at cognitive development we looked at Piaget’s Theory/Stages of cognitive development (Berk, 2010, pp.173) and Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory (Berk, 2010, pp.179). Throughout our observation it was apparent that our child fell into the preoperational stage of Piaget’s cognitive development, specifically the development of make-believe (Berk, 2010, pp.173). Mason demonstrated Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory through private speech (Berk, 2010, pp.179). When playing some of the arcade games, Mason would talk himself through the steps of how to play the game. The last area of development we looked at was social development. Within social development we focused on the development of self-concepts (Berk, 2010, pp.199) and the emergence of self-esteem (Berk, 2010, pp.199). 3-4 year olds self-concepts are very concrete. They tend to focus on things that are observable like, their name, appearance, possessions and everyday behaviors. In the emergence of self-esteem, 3-4 year olds cannot distinguish between they are actually good at and what they think they are good at. They usually state their own abilities as higher than what it may be.

Learning Outcomes
Sarah’s Learning Outcomes
After doing this project I, Sarah, learned that early childhood focuses on the development of a young person who can take care of his or her own body and interact with others effectively. By observing, I noticed many things about children that I would normally not take the time to see. I learned that early childhood is a time of tremendous and rapid growth across all areas of development. I learned that the importance of development in early childhood needs to be stressed to parents because it impacts those children later in life. We were assigned a...
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