On Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 I visited Wiley Mildred Family Day care center to observe a group of children that I have never met at a house I have never been to. Throughout my hour that I spent at Wiley Mildred I observed a group of children interacting with each other as well as the caregivers as they were having their outside privileges. As I conducted my observation I studied children’s actions and noticed the practicing of the Sociocultural Theory, the Social Learning Theory, the Cognitive Theory, and the Psychoanalytic Theory. All these theories were able to be observed through actions this is due to their environment around them and the activities they were engaged in. The observation taught me how significant an action can be for a developing child and how important it is for a child in a care center to be mentally and physically stimulated.
Wiley Mildred is an average family home in a quiet residential area in Victorville, CA. Upon arriving at the house I noticed the establishment had gates separating the front-yard and backyard that were securely locked and baby-proof. As I rang the door-bell I was greeted into the house with smiles and warm greetings. The director of the facilities name is Gloria, a Latina woman with a very thick accent; she had an assistant whose name was not given. Right away I was taken to the back-yard as it was “recess time.” Gloria’s backyard was very open and large it contained a grassy area, a woodchip area and a concrete area as well, in each area different toys and materials were in use. In the grassy area there were two smaller slides, small chairs, and many toys that children must use their fine motor skills to operate. In the woodchip area there were larger structures; my favorite was the teeter-totter in the shape of a plane that fit a total of six children. There were three different play structures of moderate sizes, some with slides and some with platforms to climb and stand on; all requiring a child’s gross motor skills to operate.
The concrete area had multiple small teeter-totters, along with two merry go rounds, a girl’s play house, and three tricycles. The children at the day care were surprisingly of all different ages, ranging from age one and a half all the way to age eight; the most common age of the children was age four. I noticed that on a small table all the children had their own specific cup and were all given plenty of water throughout play time and they drank it very willingly. Gloria explained to me that she only let’s them drink water, especially during outside time when it’s so hot and they need to stay hydrated. Gloria had a very open backyard, no area being to separated from one another, this made it very effortless for all the children to play together, all being stimulated simultaneously; no matter what their age, sex, or race were they all involved in playtime. As all the children were playing Gloria and the assistant constantly were talking to all of them, playing learning games such as guessing colors and shapes; they also used both English and Spanish when talking to all the children, not just the ones that already knew Spanish.
During my observation, I took a trip to the bathroom so I could get a look around the house and to see what the sanitation and safety of the facility was like. As I walked through the house I noticed how extremely clean the house was, and the bathroom was just as clean as well. Each potty training child brought their own toilet trainer seat with them every day to ensure cleanliness, and the babies in diapers were always changed in a specific room. On my walk back to the backyard I examined that every door knob, cabinet, drawer and electricity plug were completely baby-proof. After completing my observation, my personal conclusion on Wiley Mildred Family Day care center was more than positive; it was a very nurturing environment for the children of all ages to grasps the idea that a child must always be safe, clean, and stimulated when in the care of others. I began my observation with seven kids and throughout the hour it reached ended with a total of twelve kids.
Each child was unique in his or her own way but all had similarities as well. A few of the children could be grouped with a much larger class because they had the aspects for a certain theory. The first theory I notice could be applied was the Psychoanalytic theory; the idea that an individual’s actions and initiatives derive from unconscious inclinations. I observed a little boy around the age of two looking at a bird that had landed at the top of the gate, at first he seemed fearless but as the bird flew away it frightened him and he instinctively clung to the care givers leg. This relates to the psychoanalytic theory because when frightened he impulsively grabbed onto an adult he is comfortable with, this can mean that finds safety in adults or was scared a great deal as an infant making him more timid and afraid than other children. Next, I observed the Social Learning Theory being put to use; the concept that behavior is learned by the behavior of others. For this theory I watched the youngest child which was about a year and a half old. When she was told to go down the slide she was shy and hesitant but, subsequent to watching an older boy go down the slide with pleasure, she went on the slide and persisted to go on the slide repeatedly.
This grasps the concept of the Social Learning Theory for the reason that without seeing the little boy go down the slide to know that it was secure and enjoyable the little girl would of by no means went, she learned the concept of going down the slide from another individual and mastered the skill personally. The Sociocultural Theory deals with the growth and nurturing of children through cultures and societies. The caregiver as explained had a heavy accent and was more comfortable with Spanish than English; Gloria watched over Latin-American children as well as African-American children, and she spoke Spanish to the both of them. This is an example of the Sociocultural theory because although the African-American children were obviously not fluent in Spanish they were being engaged in languages and cultures of another country, and the oldest of the African-American children even wanted to learn more Spanish.
The last theory I observed was the Cognitive Theory, the proposal that thought procedures are influential weights on an individual’s attitude. As the birds were perched on the fence in the back yard another young child around the age of three was staring intensely, not sure exactly what it was she was looking at. With the aid of the care giver using assimilation and reassuring her that is was a bird, the child was building “schemas” in her head so that equilibrium can occur. As the bird left and came back shortly the child was ecstatic and repeating, “Bird!” An aspect of the cognitive theory is the child’s process of learning something new and mastering a new skill with the help of assimilation. Each child throughout their development can be a part of any one of these theories; observing children truly shows how much can be observed and learned in such little time.
Due to the fact that I observed the children of Wiley Mildred Family Day Care Center during their outside time I was able to observe multiple developmental appropriate activities for the reason that playtime is when the children apply their developing skills the most. The children engrossed themselves in various developing activities, some dealt with their fine motor skills, some involved their gross motor skills, and other activities dealt with coordination and cognitive development. The gross motor skills required activities were the easiest to observe and document such as; using the teeter-totter, going down the slide, racing, climbing up the play structures, playing basketball, spinning each other on the merry-go-round, and riding the tricycle. Activities relating to gross motor skills were the largest to be observed mainly because during active play children engage themselves in more vigorous doings, which generally deals with larger, whole-body muscle engagement rather than minor muscle utilization.
I then looked for fine motor skill related activities; although they were less to see compared to gross motor skills I did observe them. I noticed a young boy picking up little rocks about the size of a ping pong ball, and transferring them to the other side of the yard, little girls played patty cake with the directors assistant; enjoying when they had to engage their hands in the process of “baking a cake.” The most amusing use of fine motor skills I observed, was a little boy trying to blow bubbles, he could not hold the stick and kept dropping it and picking it up continuously until with assimilation from the director he learned to hold the handle and not the end you blow bubbles with.
The last observations I made dealt with coordination and cognitive growth, the younger children played a game that required them to match an animal sound with the certain animal this dealt with their coordination as they are learning to match one object with its corresponding sound. Role-playing is a sign of cognitive growth; it shows the child not only becoming self-aware but it also shows them beginning to realize that not everyone thinks and acts exactly as they do themselves. Outside play time not only entertains children but is a prime moment in time for the attaining of necessary skills children will continue to use for the rest of their life.
After conducting my observation and taking time to reflect and research on what I saw I can unquestionably say that I have learned first-hand that a child is a fragile and divine creation of their own and if they is not given the necessary stimulus, encouragement and basic precautions a divine creation can turn into what you can call a beautiful disaster. Through the duration of my study, I was able to relate multiple theories to real-life situations rather than just reading about them in books; theories such as Psychoanalytic, Sociocultural, Cognitive, and Social Learning.
All theories support the research and observations of great psychologists such as Piaget and Vygotsky; after carrying out my own personal observation I have taken minor steps on the ongoing path these psychologists have traveled on and contributed personally to the persistent development of child development as a whole. All in all, Wiley Mildred Family Day Care Center was a demonstrative, cultivating environment that is a prime environment for a child to grow and develop with other individuals and as well as themselves through engagement of attributing skills. If you would personally like to contact Wiley Mildred Family Day Care Center they are located at 14623 Karen Dr. Victorville, CA and the director Gloria can be reached at her facility by the number, (760) 951-2781.