The Child Study data I have gathered comes from the observation I have completed at Mission Bell Elementary School. Mission Bell Elementary School is a local school in Riverside. In the P. M preschool class there are 24 students, one teacher, and one assistant. The child I decided to observe is names Zoe. Zoe is 4 years and 10 months old. I immediately was drawn to Zoe because she had such a big personality, was very social, and smart. I am glad that I choose to observe Zoe because she was able to make my observation process smooth and easy.
While observing her I had to pay close attention to her biosocial development, motor skills, cognitive skills, communication skills, emotional development, social interaction, and her self-esteem. As I share my observation data, I will give examples of Zoe’s skills and overall development thus far in her life. Biosocial Development: Physical Description According to biosocial development norms Zoe is average. She is just the size she is suppose to be according the growth chart and development norms. Zoe is tall and lean. She is on the skinny side and has long arms and legs and a flat stomach.
Zoe weighs 36 pounds and is 39. 75 inches tall. On the growth chart Zoe is in the 50th percentile (CDC 2000) when it comes to her weight and is in the 25th percentile (CDC 200) when it comes to her height. From these percentages on the growth chart Zoe is falling right in the middle when it comes to her physical development, showing that she is growing at a normal expected rate. Zoe displays an above average activity level in comparison to her peers. She has such a high activity level compared to the other children because out of them all she is the one that keeps busy.
When indoor play time comes around Zoe is sure to play at as many play stations as she can. Zoe averages about 5 to 6 play stations. Zoe chooses to play at a number of different areas, whereas, many of the other children just get around to two different play stations. At each station Zoe spends 41/2 to 5 minutes playing, showing that Zoe’s ratio of active running around periods out weight the inactive sitting and playing periods. Motor Skills Zoe does a does a good job at controlling her gross-motor skills as well as her fine motor skills.
Zoe has good balance and speed for a 4 year old. When Zoe’s gross-motor skills are compared to her classmates you notice her advancement. She does not stumble over her feet or object such as the carpet, as much as her peers do. When Zoe is outside her favorite activity is to play on the jungle gym. This activity is able to show Zoe’s good development of gross-motor skills because of how she is able to climb up and down the stairs of the jungle gym and with such speed. “Many children by age 2 become smooth and rhythmic – secure enough that soon they leave the ground. (Berk, 2007, P. 224). Zoe has mastered her fine motor skills.
Zoe is able to correctly hold writing objects such as markers and crayons; she also holds glue sticks in the writing position. She holds the maker or writing object in between her thumb and her middle finger and allows her index to help support her writing tool. By having this technique down Zoe is able to control the lines that she makes on her paper as well as how dark her lines will be. She is also able to manipulate how much glue is going to go onto her paper and where it will go.
In comparison to Hayliegh (3-8), who is still holding her writing tool with her palm, Zoe shows she is more advance in her fine motor skill. While playing at one of her favorite indoor play stations, which is play dough, Zoe uses her hands to manipulate the play dough into various shapes and objects. The way she is able to grasp and squeeze the play dough shows her sensatory skills, which are in connection to her fine motor skills. These two examples show that Zoe has master over her hands and how they will work to her advantage.
As Zoe continues to play her favorite activity, the jungle gym, with such balance and speed she shows that she is comfortable with her movements. This is one of her favorite activities because it allows her to run around and get out her energy. Zoe favorite game, and only game she plays, are the computer games. Zoe will avoid such games as board games but will go and play on the computer when she can. The games on the computer help her to learn how to control an object such as the mouse and pointer. This helps Zoe in the development of her fine motor skills.
Zoe’s favorite table game is play dough. The play dough station is always the first station that Zoe goes to if she is picked to go their. At this station Zoe again uses her fine motor skills to create all different types of objects with her play dough. Cognitive Skills While closely observing Zoe’s cognitive skills she showed evidence of Piaget’s preoperational stage. Zoe’s cognitive development is shown through her make-believe play. “Piaget believed that through pretending, young children practice and strengthen newly acquired representational schemes. ” (Berk, 2007, P 227).
When Zoe plays with her play dough she pretend that she is making pizza. She begins by taking a handful of play dough and placing it on the table, she then get a small rolling pin to roll the play dough out flat. Once the play dough is rolled out completely flat she uses little Lego’s to represent the pepperoni that tops most pizzas. Next she takes the finished pizza and puts it on the side of the table and pretends to heat it in an oven. The takes the play dough and begins to feed her friends. When Zoe decides to not just feed herself but her friends as well she is showing development of no longer being self-centered.
This whole make believe shows how far Zoe’s Cognitive skills have developed. She is able to take something she see and act it out and think about the order in which she acts out each piece. Zoe has knowledge of classification and seriation along with her representation skills. Zoe shows that she is capable of classifying objects as well as putting them in sequence. She shows evidence of classification during clean up time. When it is time to clean up each toy has its own space and toys that are a like go into spaces next to each other.
Zoe is able to identify objects and according to the likely ness of one to the other she can tell weather or not the go in the same area. For example Zoe is able to identify that the blocks and the Lego’s go into the same area but that they are different. She is also able to recognize that the entire book are books but able to classify them according to their size. She put away all the big books on one side of the bookshelf where they belong and all of the smaller books on the oppsite side where they belong.
Zoe also knows sequence of numbers. She shows this when she is called up to be the calendar girl for he day. Zoe takes down all the numbers from one to 15 off of the calendar. Then one by one puts them back up in sequence. She also recognizes the patter of the numbers. Each number is written on an insect. As she puts up the numbers she realizes that the patters of insects are caterpillar, lady bug, butterfly, caterpillar, lady bug, butterfly and so on. Zoe shows the ability to imitate real life through her play. When she creates pizza with play dough and Lego’s she is showing that she understands how to create something from what she has seen and experienced.
She shows that she understands how something that is not the original object can symbolize or represent the original. Zoe also shows role play during her play. She does show by pretending to be the baby while her friend Savanna (3-11) plays the mother. This type of role play shows that Zoe understands the various roles that people play in life. Through this role play you are able to see her ideas on life. Zoe shows her perception of how a baby is to act and how they should respond to their mother. By Zoe crawls around on the floor and talks baby talk shows how she views babies.
Lastly Zoe shows special interest in activities that involve imitation play. She likes to create things that she sees and experiences in her life. This ability to imitate reality shows her cognitive growth. Communication Zoe uses wide variations of communication. Zoe uses her body language, facial expressions, and verbal communication all at once when she is explaining or expressing herself. All these combined show off Zoe’s personality. When Zoe hurt her foot on the table Zoe used her body language to show that she was in pain. She immediately bends down to rub her foot in try to make it feel better.
Then her wincing face showed that it was not helping. As Zoe dragged her body over to the teacher she then verbalized the pain that she was in. She expressed the teacher, “I hurt my foot”. Zoe is very good at exaggerating her expressions and really showing how she feels on her face. If she is happy she has a big simile, if she is shad she is frowning, and if she is hurt she is wincing and showing pain on her face. Her facial expressions do a lot of the verbal communication she might not do or it tells her feelings before her words do. When Zoe interacts with her friends she is very animated and humorous.
She is very big in her movements and throws up her arms and puts out her hands as gestures when she is speaking. When she is very excited about what it is she is telling her peers she is very big in her gestures and when she is calm she uses one hand when gesturing. Zoe has a very good vocabulary and is the talkative one of the group. She is also known for her slang vocabulary. Sometimes this slang that she uses from time to time goes a little too far and she can get into trouble. Hector (3-5) did jus that told on Zoe and got her into trouble.
Hector told the teacher that Zoe told him, “What the heck. ” Zoe was then told that she should not use that word. Zoe is also very descriptive in her speech. She once told the teacher, “Mrs. Contreras, I made a red strawberry”. Zoe is extremely talkative and this helps aid her in learning and broadening her vocabulary, as well as learning how to express her self. Emotions Zoe is at the Initiative versus Guilt stage according to Erikson’s personality development theory (Berk, 2007). Evidence of this is show when Zoe is eager to join her class peers in various activities.
In particular when it is library time Zoe likes to thumb through her book initially by herself like she is told to do but it excited when she is able to share her book with a few surrounding friends, or listen to a surrounding friend share their book with others. When it comes to creating a new picture or trying a new activity Zoe becomes excited to participate and learn something new. This took place when she had the opportunity to create a caterpillar. She learned how many circles she needed to make the caterpillar and where to glue on the legs of the caterpillar.
Zoe also shows evidence of autonomy because she is able to use her mental development and sense to determine and recognize that she has to use the restroom. When it comes to Zoe’s Temperament she is not moody. She consistently is happy and friendly unless she gets hurt or someone copies her. She is usually very approachable and social with everyone. Her response positively when it comes to playing with someone new at each play station that she goes to. She also is good at sharing. For example, when Zoe goes to play on the computer she shares the mouse with the other student and takes turns clicking on the computer.
She works together with her peer to find the right answer to the question on the computer. Since Zoe is good at sharing this makes her approachable and fun to play with. When it comes to Zoe’s intensity of her reactions she is directly in the middle. She is not a loud child but also not quiet. She also is good at having self control and not having tantrums. She does have very out there over the top facial expressions and gestures but not so much to make her an intense child. Zoe is also positive in her mood. If she is hurt or irritated she will tend to come down from her usually happy smiley mood. Zoe is usually happy and playful.
Zoe is just about always in a very positive mood and a pleasure to be around. However, Zoe does show a broad range of emotions during her observation. She showed happiness while she was interacting with her peers, and she also displayed the feeling of being hurt, when she stubbed her toe on the table. Zoe displays knowledge of how to express herself emotionally. Social Interaction Zoe is very social and interacts with everyone. Zoe is always interacting with new peers when she is indoors going from one play station to the other. Zoe is a little different from the other girls in that she has no problem interacting with the boys.
Around lunch time Zoe joins in when Dillon (4-7) is pretending to be a superhero. Zoe joins in and pretends to be a super cat. When Zoe does interact with her peers it is in a small group of maybe 3 at the most. Zoe never tends to be around large groups. Mostly you will see Zoe one on one with another peer. Zoe tends to go towards the sensatory play then the make believe play. When Zoe has a choice of an indoor play station she always goes for the play dough first. After that Zoe will do arts and crafts that involve gluing or draw a picture. By the end Zoe always ends up at the Sand table.
These three types of play that Zoe consistently participates in are all dealing with her sensatory skills or fine motor skills. These are Zoe’s favorite types of play because she enjoys playing with things that involve her hands, since she is good at them. Zoe has a secure attachment to her mother, teachers, and peers. When Zoe’s mother came to visit the class she did not attach herself to her mother while she was present. Zoe recognized she was there and called on her if she needed help but she did not play at the table that her mom was at just because she wanted to be next to her.
Zoe continued to do her own thing. Zoe is also not attached to any particular peer in the classroom. She demonstrates this by sitting at a new lunch table with someone new with each observation. She also plays with someone new at each play station. Some of the other children especially girls are attached to one another each observation. They will always sit together at lunch and play together in both indoor and outdoor play time, but not Zoe. Self Esteem Zoe displays confidence and high self-esteem. She indicates that she has a very positive outlook of herself through her expressions.
When Zoe does something correct she wants everyone to know. For example when Zoe did a good job of cleaning up her mess and helping her peers pick up wooden blocks she went to the teacher Mrs. Contreras to show her what she had done. Zoe will not shy away form getting others to acknowledge her feelings weather positive or negative. This shows that Zoe is confident and knows when she is doing good and not doing well. Zoe is confident enough to speek up when she wants to. Zoe is her own motivation. She is a self starter and needs little direction.
When it is reading time Zoe will get her book and begin reading. While most of her other peers need a reminder to sit quietly and look at their book, Zoe doesn’t. Zoe will also do things when she is asked and will not need a motivation to do it, like and incentive or a reason. Zoe might need some help with staying focused for more than five minutes on one task, but when it comes to starting a task Zoe will not waste time getting to it and starting it. Zoe usually needs little direction and makes up her mind fairly quick when it comes to deciding where she wants to play and what she wants to do.
She needs little self direction and Zoe tends to play at areas where she will receive as less direction as possible. Zoe is independent and is able to handle her own. She has no problem with playing alone and being by herself. She enjoys the company from her peers but she is able to entertain herself. She doesn’t need to have other peers around her in order for her to have fun. She also is more of a leader and to be a leader you have to have an independent sprit. Zoe has other peers who follow her around and does what she wants to do. Since Zoe is not a follower she is showing she is not dependent on other but is independent.
Conclusion Zoe displays a number of strengths as well as areas that she can improve. Zoe is strong in her fine motor skills. The way she is able to control her writing tool and where her lines will go on her paper and how dark they will be. She is also able to stay inside of the lines. These examples show that Zoe has done a good job of developing her fine motor skills. Zoe is also very good with her communication skills. She knows how to express herself correctly and clearly. She is able to not only use her body language and facial features to let show one know what she is feeling but she is able to verbalize it.
Zoe can afford to improve on her attention span. Zoe tends to be easily distracted by the idea of moving on to something else. She needs to learn how to focus on one thing instead of trying them all. She needs to learn how to relax and be persistent in what she is working on. Overall I have enjoyed the opportunity of observing Zoe. She has taught me various things about the development of a preschooler. I plan on remembering this observation and using it as I go on to my future career working with children.