The male child W was observed four times, over the course of two weeks, totaling four hours. He was placed in a classroom designated for 2-year-olds along with about 12 other children, staffed by two full-time teachers, and a part-time teacher. The classroom was a very loud, and over decorated environment. Not only were the walls completely covered with posters and pictures, but there were art projects hanging from the ceiling as well.
The classroom was divided into specific areas for play, eating, and story time; however, there was not enough room for the children to freely run around. The children spent time outside on the playground in the backyard that had picnic tables, toy houses, trucks, cars, swings, and many other toys. The 2-year-olds shared their outdoor time with infants that were pushed around in a large stroller. When the children were brought outside there were a total of 4 teachers outside supervising them. Cognitive/Language
The child W was able to effectively back up the toy car he was driving after becoming stuck. He performed this task multiple times. He also frequently engaged in make-believe play with the other children, such as driving a racecar and motorcycle, sailing in a boat, and cooking in a toy kitchen.
Throughout the observation, the child W spent a great amount of time watching the other children play, and learned through his peers what not to do. For example, when another child fell off the top of a table, the child W immediately got down and was never observed standing on top of a table again. The child also showed a wide range of vocabulary throughout the observation.
He was able to form simple sentences, such as “Sit down or fall down” when one of his playmates was standing on top of a table, and “No, stop that” when a playmate tried pushing him around in the toy car. The child W also used simple descriptive words like “really really loud,” when a motorcycle passed by and when a plane flew overheard.
He made many sounds relating to the toys he played with or actions he was making, such as “vroom” and “beep” when driving a car, and “swish” when running. The child W was also observed mimicking noises and words the teachers would say, such as “playground,” “change diaper,” and “be quiet.” Physical/Movement
The majority of the physical movement observed falls into the category of gross motor skills. On the outside playground, the child W was consistently observed pushing and pulling toys. During each observation he was seen riding bikes and cars, pushing a toy lawnmower, as well as rolling miniature cars and trucks on the ground. When he was riding the bike and car, he used either his feet or the pedals to propel himself forward and backwards. One time, the child W and another child were observed jumping in and out of the doorframe of the toy house for several minutes.
They then climbed out of the window, with the child W leading the way. When moving around the playground, the child W was observed mostly running from one activity to the next. However, when he was inside, he was usually observed walking. During an inside recess, the child W spent a lot of time playing with a toy camera, pretending to take pictures, and saying “cheese.” He also spent several minutes slowly and carefully riding a tricycle around the perimeter of the large rectangular carpet, making at least 3 full laps.
Since the majority of the observation time was spent on the playground, this observer did not have many opportunities to observe the child’s fine motor skills. However, when presented with linking blocks during a class activity, the child W was observed having difficulty connecting the toys together and asked for help. When asked to put on his sweatshirt, the child could not get his head through the hole, and asked for help again. Social/Emotional
As previously indicated, the child W was observed seeking assistance from his teachers many times. During each observation, the child W asked a teacher to push him on the swings, to pick him up and hold him, and to sit on her lap during story time. When first introduced to this observer, the child W casually walked over and began talking, showing no hesitation.
When on the playground, he was often observed watching the other children play. He would walk over to see what another child was playing with, and then walk away to play by himself again. Not only would the child W carefully watch his peers, but he also showed compassion for them when another child was hurt. When a child fell off a swing, the child W sat down next to her, said “It’s okay,” and then pointed to his knee saying “ouch” just like his injured playmate.
The child W was observed getting along nicely with the other children the majority of the time. However, there were a few times during one observation that he showed more aggressive behavior. For example, when another child started to push the child W from behind on a tricycle, he turned around and hit the other child’s hand yelling, “Stop!” He did this several times until the other child walked away. On that same day, the child W was observed pushing another child onto the ground inside the classroom. Conclusion
Assessing the child W’s cognitive skills, this observer noticed that he engaged in make-believe play, using simple actions like pretending to drive a car or cook in the kitchen. The child W could solve simple problems, such as backing up his bike after hitting a wall; he would also imitate his teachers, like pretending to position the doorstopper to prevent the door from closing.
This observer cannot accurately assess the child W’s ability to find hidden objects, and sort objects into categories, because the child was not observed performing these tasks. Along with the child W’s cognitive skills, this observer believes that his language skills were developing typically as well. The child used a growing number of words and was able to put some words together making short phrases. He paid attention to and participated in conversations with his peers and teachers.
The child W showed typical development in his gross motor skills, but seemed to be lacking in his fine motor skills. The child was observed walking, running, jumping, hopping, and pushing riding toys with his feet.
The child W performed at a three- or four-year-old’s level when pedaling and steering a toy car (Berk, 2008). However, when it came to more fine motor skills and self-help activities, such as putting on his jacket or connecting blocks together, the child W struggled. Lastly, when assessing the child’s social and emotional skills, this observer believes that the child is developing as expected in the areas of seeking support of familiar adults, watching and playing briefly with other children, and showing awareness of other children’s feelings.
The child also demonstrated self-control when other children tried to take a toy from him. However, this observer believes the child W relies too heavily on teachers for help when trying new things and needs to develop a healthy cautiousness toward unfamiliar adults. Overall, in the opinion of this observer, the child W was developing as expected for a typical two-year-old.