Time: Started1.00pm Finished1.10pm
Number of Children Present:4
Number of Adults Present:2(including myself)
Ages of children observed:2:6 years
Aim & Rationale of observation:
My aim while carrying out this observation was to observe a group of children, specifically the 2nd youngest child, aged 2yrs 8 months and his cognitive response to an activity involving numeracy. The type of cognitive skill I was looking for is what cognitive developmental stage children need to be at to be able to conserve and my colleague used Piaget’s Conservation Test involving Numbers to determine this.
I am using the narrative method for this cognitive observation. The room in which I carried out this observation was a pre-school room. It is a bright, friendly room with lots of art work, made by the pre-school children on the walls. There are also some educational posters on the walls, a home corner and a reading/quiet time corner. There is a lot of Montessori educational material on the shelving units in the room. The 4 children with the group that I am observing are all attending the service on a full time basis, i.e. 8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Child A, male, the 2nd youngest, on which I mainly based this observation, has an older sibling and a younger sibling. Child A lives at home with both parents and both siblings. Child A attends the crèche 5 days a week. His older sibling attends the afterschool club and his younger sibling is attending the baby room.
There are 4 children sitting at a table. The teacher is setting up an activity for them, involving counters. This test/activity she is using is from Piaget’s Theory of Conservation. Conservation refers to a logical thinking ability which, according to the psychologist Jean Piaget, becomes evident in children aged between 7years and 12 years, during the concrete operations stage, of their development. It is part of Piaget's theory of cognitive development, to logically determine that a certain quantity will remain the same despite adjustment of the container, shape, or apparent size.
The activity is set out to see if the children, Child A in particular, who are of different ages, have the ability to conserve. The teacher has set the test out on a table using some red counters and blue. She set out a line of ten red counters and another line of 10 blue counters, each counter in each line spaced at exactly the same distance apart so both lines of counters look exactly the same length. She asks Child A to count the number of counters in each line, beginning with the top line. Child A starts counting the counters, using his index finger and going from left to right he counts from 1 – 10. He then counts the 2nd line, of blue counters, underneath the line of red counters and confirms to the teacher that both lines have 10 counters.
She then asks Child A to now go and sit at the other table with the other 3 children. She proceeds to moves the line of blue counters a further distance apart from each other so both lines are of different length but still had the same amount of counters.
She instructs Child A to return to her and she asks Child A to look at both lines of counters and knowing that there were ten counters in each line did he still think there was the same amount of counters in each line. As he looked in the direction of the lines of counters on the table he told the teacher that there were now more blue counters in the 2nd line as it was bigger than the line of red counters.
The teacher then carried out the test on the other 3 older children. Requesting each child, in turn to count the counters, determining that each had the same amount of counters and then after re-arranging them asking them if both lines still looked to have the same amount of counters. The...