ECE 205 – 020 Patrick Lewis November 22, 2007
Observation of a Child in a Preschool Setting (Ages 3 -4)
Westhill Church Preschool (Happy Heart?)
November 1 2007
Running Record Sample – 1 hour
This is an observation of child A., a young three-year-old Caucasian female in a preschool room of a church. The one-hour observation includes the child listening to a story, and playing during “center time” with the interaction with other peers and Mrs. H., the teacher. Both the peers and the teacher are of Caucasian background; in addition, there are no children from multicultural backgrounds.
1:50 Children come marching into preschool classroom and bolt towards the chairs by the bulletin board. Mrs. H. excitedly announces the story “A Bed for winter” that she is going to read. Once children are settled, all the children boastingly sing “eyes open, ears open, mouths closed, hands on lap, look forward” and this is were Mrs. H. starts reading her story. In addition, I focus my attention on A.
Based on the incidents above I believe that this classroom is well directed and the teacher has much control over the students (as no one got out of line, and if the children did go out of line, Mrs. H. was sure to tell them otherwise). (Wasserman)
1:53As Mrs. H. is reading the story A. is not paying attention. When Mrs. H. starts asking questions about the story, A. is the only one who does not say anything. This continues for a couple of minutes with A. playing with her pigtails, looking around the classroom and is fidgeting non-stop.
A. definitely shows her need for movement. I think since A. is the youngest girl in the classroom feels inferior to the other children therefore she does not feel the need to respond. I also think that when A. is not listening she is exploring the environment around her to get a better understanding of it and her peers.
2:00After Mrs. H. is done the story she once again asks questions. In addition, she applies the story to other animals and objects that may need a “bed” during the wintertime.
Through interpretation of other animals and objects, the children learn how to apply once concept to a different one to produce an intense collective knowledge system (cognition).
I have taken this topic from my EPSY textbook by Berk where she comments on how children develop schemes on one subject but then organize them and link them to other concepts to have an intense interconnected cognitive system.
2:05Mrs. H. announces that it is time for “CENTERS.” The “leader” student (the teacher goes through the class list alphabetically, so each child will become a leader while the children are at preschool) is the first to pick what center he wants to work at, then the other students follow. When all the other children have picked a center, A. looks around and slowly walks over to the puzzle/pumpkin/play dough table, which happens to be empty.
Mrs. H. allows the children to pick their own activities indicating a “can-do” classroom as well as “can-do” students. (Wasserman) Once again, I would like to bring up the issue of A. being inferior and intimidated by the other students. I think this is shown when A. wants to work quietly by herself at the puzzle table. Although the other students intimidate A., she is aware of her surroundings as well she is able to make her own decisions.
2:07As A. is working patiently and quietly at the table, Mrs. H. looks over at her and notices A. having trouble solving a puzzle. Without hesitation, Mrs. H. walks swiftly over to A. to help her. A. looks up at Mrs. H. then back down at her puzzle. Mrs. H. quickly asks A., “What are you working on A.?” A. does not reply but just points at the puzzle. Mrs. H. then comments, “Try turning the pieces.” A. does as Mrs. H. tells her.
As already mentioned A. is a “can-do” child. We can see this by her picking her own center to work at, and the teacher allowing her to work on the puzzle by herself but with a little guidance. (Wasserman) Mrs. H. has used Vygotsky’s scaffolding method in his Zone of Proximal Development (where children cannot accomplish a task completely but can complete it with the help of skilled others). Here we can see that A. cannot yet complete the puzzle by herself but with the help of skilled others (Mrs. H.) she can easily complete the puzzle. In addition, A. is developing her fine motor skills through interaction with the small pieces.
2:09A. finishes the puzzle and Mrs. H. excitedly says “Good Job,” “That was a tricky one!” A. dumps the puzzle, grabs another one, and starts it. Mrs. H. walks away.
Through interaction with the teacher, A. seems to be working more efficiently. This encouragement also made her look happy and eager to complete the puzzle.
2:10Other children join the table. A girl (B, female, age 4) starts playing cashier and immediately yell out, “Anybody coming to pay?” A. harshly and abruptly says, “NO,” and goes back to working on her puzzle.
It seems that A. is more interested in learning about developing other areas of physical development rather than interacting with her peers. As she ignores them and continues to work on her puzzle.
2:12A female student, age 4 (C.) comes to table and helps A. C. bursts out, “A. I’ll help you, do this, and then you do that.” “Okay,” says A. C. tells A., “There all finished now.” A. replies, “Wow, now let’s clean up.” They both start laughing and A. claps her hands excitedly knowing that she has completed the puzzle. C. watches while A. picks up the puzzles pieces by piece. After A. is done cleaning up she gets another puzzle and both girls start working on it together.
A .seems that she is using motivation (from other peers) to complete tasks to gain personal pleasure. (Freud) In addition, it seems that A. has learned a habit. This habit is cleaning up. Without being told, she knows not to leave a mess behind.
2:15A. looks around the classroom. She slowly gets up and walks over to Mrs. H. who is standing by the play area in the back corner. “Mrs. H., Mrs. H. can I play at the play dough center,” asks A. quietly. Mrs. H. replies, “Sure A., go stand by L. and work there.” A. looks down at the floor then strolls over to the play dough table.
As we have already noticed a couple of times before, this time log indicates another “can-do” classroom. (Wasserman) The teacher lets A. picks her next activity without hesitation.
2:20A. is working with the play dough. She grabs the rolling pin and squishes the play dough into a flat sheet. Mrs. H. comes over and asks A., “What are you making?” A. excitedly replies, “A star, it smells good.” Mrs. H. says,” that is good A., what about trying this shape, or this one? Try them and I’ll be back.” Mrs. H leaves the table A. is working at.
Working with play dough seems to be developing A.’s fine motor skills. Using her hands is a good way to explore and experience the environment around her. A. also comments on the smell of the play dough. This could indicate that she is developing her sense of smell more intensely at age three. (Berk)
2:30A. continues to working with play dough. She still has enthusiasm to squish the play dough into different shapes. Mrs. H. continues to check on her and help her. Once she has made a shape she delightfully claps her hands and gives a cheerful smile.
Once again, we see that A. gets personal pleasure from completing shapes with the squishing and pulling the play dough. (Freud) In addition, Mrs. H. continues to check on and help A. even though she is watching and helping other students. Maybe A. has become too dependent on Mrs. H. for the help for her to complete tasks.
2:45Mrs. H. announces that it is clean-up time. A. looks around and notices that other students are cleaning up, so she starts putting away her play dough and cleans up the mess around her. A. looks down at her hands and notices there is play dough sticking to her hands, she picks up the face cloth and wipes her hands off. Once she is done cleaning, she goes and sits in the chairs by the bulletin board.
When A. notices the other students, cleaning up she immediately puts her stuff down and starts cleaning up as well. This shows that she has awareness for other students in the classroom. It also shows that she has developed as habit, as well as the other students have (cleaning up). A. has also developed a sense of cleanliness, as she cleaned her hands after she was done playing with the play dough.
2:50All the children are sitting on chairs in front of the bulletin board. Mrs. H. starts to read another story and all students start listening to her intensively.
Although the Centers are done, A. has realized it is time to go back to the normal classroom and learn about everyday environmental issues and sits and listens intensively to the story.
Observation of One Child in a Family Setting (Age 4)
November 3, 2007
This is an observation of a child B., who is a four-year-old Caucasian male, who is playing arcade games at Chucky Cheese’s with his Mom for his birthday party.
B. frantically runs around Chucky Cheese’s hopping on and off various arcade games, with his mom following shortly behind him. She even plays a couple of the ‘big kid’ games with B. For the whole time that they were there, B. got to pick the games he wanted to play. B. decided to climb onto a game that involved using B’s gross motor skills (pedaling a bike, which uses full movment of his legs, and turning of a wheel, which uses full movement of the arms). The mom tells B., “you have to make small Chucky ride his bike really fast around the circle.” B. looks up at Chucky on his bike then looks back at his mom and smiles. The game starts and B. starts pumping his arms and legs fast to make Chucky go around and around. Mom says to B., “Good job B.! Keep going! How fast can you make Chucky go B.?” After hearing this B. starts pumping faster and faster, and then starts laughing hysterically after he realizes his accomplishment.
I would like to mention that the mom in this observation is my step-cousin and she happens to be my hair/nail stylist, so I know the family very well. Upon their arrival to Chucky Cheese’s, (as I got there before them) everybody said hi to me except for B. I immediately thought that he is just being shy, but after doing the observation, I realized that he could have been experiencing stranger anxiety (Berk, pg. 186). Since I was with my friend during the observation, who B. has never met before, I think that he was expressing fear or anxiety in response to my unfamiliar friend. When the mom was allowing B. to have free choice of what activity he wanted to do, this reminded me of the Montessori’s approach. I also noticed that the mom was providing a lot of support and encouragement towards B. This indicated to me that their family was loving and caring of one another. In addition, this encouragement allowed B. to complete the tasks and for him to show happiness or personal pleasure (Freud). As my friend and I were leaving, we said goodbye and B. said goodbye back indicating that he had overcome his stranger anxiety.