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Anastacia Mary and James Davis were the children I observed. I chose the two children since their general social skills and verbal development are extremely different. Anastacia is three years old and has great language development, as seen by her ability to communicate properly and with simple gestures. James is still learning to speak, but he understands simple instructions.
Anastacia is a woman, but James is a man. James is taller than Anastacia, with fine short blonde hair and an olive complexion. Anastacia has almond-shaped eyes, a light skin tone, and long wavy hair. She is fat and average in height. They are both in preschool. James has a higher activity level and is interested in activities requiring intense activities. Anastacia is more interested in behaviors for socializing, and she is extrovert whereby she is outspoken and enjoy a lot when she is around and while talking to others. James is introvert as he enjoys doing most of the things isolated or when accompanied by few people.
I went to Emmanuel School which is a preschool around my hometown. I spent a whole day with the students who were aged between four to five years. The preschool is majorly centered on children regarding its organization as it incorporates activities directed to the children. I was much interested in the two children Anastacia and James. For motor skills, I made my observations as they went on with their activities within their classes and within their playground.
Gross Motor Abilities
James can walk with good balance, steady gait and agility and can run at a very comfortable speed in any direction and also when there are some obstacles (balance skills). Besides, he can stop, restart and have the ability to turn while running (movement skills). James loves football and can kick both a stationary and moving ball (coordination skills). Anastacia can aim and throw a huge ball and can catch with ease when one is thrown towards her direction (movement skills). She can also walk along or jump over objects like a balance beam, string or a line. She can hop several times on each foot (balance skills).
Fine Motor Control
Anastacia can comb her hair, brush teeth and get dressed without any help (handedness). She can button he blouse with ease (reaching and grasping). She can comfortably grasp objects, and by use of pencil, she can copy simple shapes such as square and circle (pencil grip). She can write letters of the alphabet comfortably and can assemble some simple puzzles. James can comb hair, get dressed and brush teeth with minimal help (handedness). He can pick up items like paperclips, coins, and a toothpick with ease (grip). James can skilfully utilize utensils for eating (reaching and grasping).
Perceptual Development Factors
James plays football and can use perceptual information in kicking movements and show complex sports skills. While at their playground, he can make wise decisions concerning the motor actions and a good example is where he adjusts running speed as a response towards a slippery surface. Anastacia utilizes perceptual information to balance with one foot and while she walks on a balance beam.
Both kids can carry, pull and push simple objects. They both have excellent motor skills for their age. Anastacia does have better perceptual capabilities as compared to James as she shows better coordination and has a positive self-image. James, on the other hand, has reduced awareness of his body and seems to be less confident.
In my observation, I noted that the teachers helped the children to develop gross motor skills by involving them in activities such as running in various speeds, rope jumping, catching and tossing balls with different sizes, pulling and pushing toys, and by pedaling riding toys. Such activities will improve motor skills for both kids.
Among the activities provided by the teacher for improving motor skills includes puzzles, painting by brushes, finger painting, modeling with clay, cutting different shapes with safe scissors and arranging varying stack sizes. One challenge I found is the use of markers instead of using colored pencils. This is because they do not need a child to push very hard to produce something on a paper which hinders the development of the muscles in their fingers and hands. Such could be very helpful to James.
Cognition and Language
For cognition and language, the observation took place in the classroom. The teacher interacted with the children whereby the children were using cookie cutters to come up with different shapes. The teacher engaged them further by asking them the kind of shapes they made and the number of shapes they had.
Following Piaget's theory, the two kids are in the Preoperational stage. Egocentrism is seen to exist in this kids. When the teacher asked them to pluck flowers yellow, James and Anastacia brought different flowers which they found interesting. Animistic thinking is seen in the children as when James carried a ball from the playground arguing it will be lonely without him. Centration was observed during their meal time when Anastacia seemed to be dissatisfied when her ice-cream was put in a large bowl. Upon transferring the same to a minimal bowl, she was delighted, yet there was no ice-cream which was added. During free play, James pretended to be a superhero during a make me believe play and pretended to help Anastacia.
Anastacia level of language ability is advanced. With minimal mistakes, she demonstrates an excellent control for simplified grammar, syntax and semantics by utilizing future, present, and past tense. She can utilize simple adverbs, and I heard her explaining, "I went to the shop and bought socks, and I am wearing them." James level is delayed where he uses telegraphic speech. During lunch time he said, “No lunch” where he meant he did not want to eat lunch.
During class time Anastacia showed overextension when she described a truck like a car. She also showed over regularizations when during meal time she said, "I want some mores ice-creams." James was referring to those who served them with food as mum which shows under extension. In addition, he used slang when he asked if there were “Yummies” for lunch which refers to specially enjoyed food.
Adult Child Interaction
The teacher engaged with the children both at a personal and group level.
The teacher aid the students to understand concepts that are hard for them to understand independently. However, she first allows them to complete as much as they can without any assistance and aid for tasks beyond the children's current capability. Where errors arise the children are corrected, and it is with the feedback that the children complete their tasks. The teacher mainly utilized open-ended questions, encouraged problem-solving, used descriptive praise and reinforcement. Most of her questions had multiple choices. She also answered the children concerning what was of interest to them where she balanced child initiated together with adult initiated conversations. All the questions asked by the children were received with positive attention. She was always circulating across the class and displayed appropriate affection to the children and was fast to enjoy and appreciate them by smiling and laughing as they shared their milestones and discoveries.
Results of Interactions
The teacher was within the children zone of proximal development as Anastacia was having difficulties reading some words. She worked with her and taught her ways of sounding words and utilizing other words recognition strategies. With that, she learned how to read them. James was having challenges as he tried to fit a yellow part into a puzzle. The teacher asked him if the shape outline did match the shape he tried to put in. The question helped him to solve the puzzle.
Anastacia has a problem with paying attention. However, she has a good memory, and the teacher needs to keep reminding her to be attentive. James is good in paying attention but has a challenge in processing whatever is being taught. He also has good memory retention but is faced with a problem of sequencing. Anastacia has excellent skills in speaking, reading, and writing but she is poor in listening. James, on the other hand, is good at listening, average in writing but poor in speaking and writing.
For emotions, I observed the children while at class, playground and as they took their meals.
James character can be termed positive emotional regarding activity level as he involves himself in physical activities and intense motion as he performs his duties. Concerning behavioral inhibition, he can be termed to be negative emotional as he is hesitant to new people, foods, places, and situation which could have affected his speech. For everything, he does he shows positive emotionality by applying much energy. Regarding effortful control, Anastacia cannot concentrate for long and can be easily distracted. She responds to the slightest stimulation and concerning mood she has a high degree of pleasantness.
Goodness of Fit
The environment tries to accommodate each child’s temperament. Teachers are well trained on expectancies of young children providing an appropriate environment which will enable flourishing of growing curiosity, balanced personalities, and even temperaments. Anastacia is outgoing, friendly and gets along well with other children and adults. James, on the other hand, is shy, quiet and does not feel comfortable in new places or experiences. The teacher encouraged James to play with other children which will allow him to make more friends. The teacher reminded Anastacia to keep quiet while she was talking which was crucial in enhancing her attention.
James has a fixed mindset and seems to have characters, personality, intelligence, abilities fixed. That is why he put so much intensity in all his activities. He does not seem to attempt ways of regulating his emotions. Anastacia has a growth mindset and is eager to learn and adapt to new situations. She seems to control her emotions and for that reasons gets well along with other people.
James involves himself in solitary play where he goes to the extent of playing with his ball alone. Anastacia is interested in sociodramatic and straightforward social play as she is more interested in those she plays with and as a result, she has strong social interactions.
Adults need to understand emotional sensitivity in children and acknowledge their temperament. Each child is unique and should be appreciated, and positive messages should be sent to appreciate their unique being.
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