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Childhood Development

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Kabo0dle
Words 4146
Pages 17
Child Development Observation
Ashlene Pillay
3212715
Athabasca University
PSYC 228 Introduction to Human Development
March 8, 2016

Introduction
Naturalistic observation is a “measurement strategy that involves directly watching and coding behaviors.” (26) Naturalistic study is a general research strategy used by developmental scientists, “typically during childhood but also with impaired adults.”(27) Naturalistic studies are conducted in order to watch the behaviors of people, as they exist their natural environment, with no attempts at intervention from the investigator. There are no attempts of intervention so that the situation is not manipulated or controlled by the investigator, and so the situation is not initiated or created by the investigator. Naturalistic observations are useful as they allow the observation of behavior exactly as it occurs in the real world. Naturalistic studies are also useful as they can help to establish the external validity of the research findings. If behavior is seen to be present in real life, it’s easier to say that the results from the study extend to the general population and that the conclusions drawn from the sampling of behavior also describe people outside of the sample. It can also be useful for researchers to study situations and variables that cannot be manipulated in a lab due to ethical concerns. For example, while it would be unethical to study the effects of a school shooting by actually causing the event to occur, researchers can gather information by using naturalistic observation when it naturally occurs.
The aim of this paper is to use the naturalistic study method to describe the observations of children ages 1.5 and 5, and to see if this behavior can be generalized as typical for all children. The observations will then be broken down into categories of motor abilities, social skills and general style of verbalization and interpreted in reference to various theories of cognitive development as discussed by Belsky. Lastly, conclusions will be drawn in regards to the behavior of these children being typical of other children the same age, improvements to the experiment and an evaluation of theories and children. Consent of the parents of both children was taken in order to complete the observational portion of this study.
Setting
The two children chosen for this observation were Hamza and Kuljit. I chose to go to Julia Kiniski Park in Edmonton, AB on March 5th at 3:30pm. I chose this particular setting because I drive by it regularly and it is normally filled with children playing around. It is a nice park with a large open grassy area where children can run safely, a few park benches for parents to watch their children from a distance, and a play area with wood chips and equipment such as a jungle gym, several different swings, a slide, and monkey bars. Arrangements did not have to be made as I went to the park expecting to find children of the appropriate age to be playing; there were about 4 children in the park at the time. I spoke with a two parents before Roma agreed that I could observe her son Hamza for my report. One of the parents did seem very confused about the intentions of my assignment and asked why and how the results would be used before declining and the other mother nearby also declined. Tasavur, her two children Kuljit and Jia, and their dog Bowser, had come to the park around 12:50pm, so once I had completed my half hour observation of Hamza, I asked Tasavur if I could observe her daughter Jia, I explained that I was doing an observational report for my psychology class and she quickly agreed as she had done similar studies in Pakistan while doing her arts degree.
My behavior during the assignment was strictly observational, both children were not aware I was observing them. I had sat on the farthest of 4 swings from Hamza for the first twenty minutes and then moved to sit on a park bench closer to the jungle gym for the remainder of the time so that I would always be close enough to hear the conversations and observe the interactions of both children. My presence did affect Hamza for the first minute as he watched me very intently as I was swinging, but was quickly distracted by his brother who he tried to imitate for the remainder of the time I had observed him. Jia was not affected by my presence at all; I made no contact with her and the moments I asked for her mother’s permission to observe her, she was very occupied with watching her brother climbing the ladder to go down the slide.
Observations
Childs Name: Hamza Quereshi | Observation Date: March 5, 2016 | Childs Date of Birth: September 26, 2010 | Observation location and Setting: Julia Kiniski School Park. | Childs Activity | Others involved and Relevant Events | * Hamza walks around the entire park looking at all the different equipment and children playing |  Hamza watches his brother (age 9) who quickly got on the swing available next to me |  Hamza stands by the swing post |  Hamza is watching his brother swing | * Hamza watches as I swung | | * Hamza hops onto the swing holding both the chains and propping himself up into the seat | | * Hamza swings hard, rocking back and forth |  Hamzas brother is swinging very fast and high |  Hamza looks at his brother |  Hamzas mother tells him to slow down | * Hamza reduces his speed | | * Hamza looks back at his mom | * Hamzas mom is on her phone |  Hamza speeds up | | * Hamza laughs and tells his brother to look at him | | * Hamza laughs and swings harder |  Hamzas brother had started to swing higher |  Hamza makes a whining noise saying “mom” | * Hamzas mom tells him to slow down again |  Hamza keeps swinging quickly |  Hamza looks at his brother |  Hamza reduces his speed |  Hamzas mom tells him to slow down in a more stern voice |  Hamza swings at a leisure pace for about 5 minutes laughing and watching his brother | | * Hamza looks at his mom |  Hamzas brother jumps off the swing when he is high in the air |  Hamza slows his swinging to a stop |  Hamzas brother runs to the swings |  Hamza runs after his brother and follows him |  Hamzas brother goes down the slide |  Hamza climbs the ladder and yells at his brother |  Hamzas brother climbs over him on the ladder |  Hamza gets to the top of the ladder and says “watch me” to his mom and brother | | * Hamza says watch me again to his brother |  Hamzas brother went to the monkey bars |  Hamza quickly goes down the slide saying “yay” | | * Hamza looks at his mom from the bottom of the slide | | * Hamza asks his mom if she saw him |  Hamzas mom says “good Hamza” |  Hamza smiles and goes to the monkey bars |  Hamzas brother is still playing on the monkey bars |  Hamza goes to his brother and says, “Did you see me go down the slide?” |  Hamzas brother keeps swinging from the monkey bars and says “yup, now watch me” |  Hamza tries to climb the stem to get to the monkey bars | | * Hamza cant reach the monkey bars | | * Hamza keeps trying to reach the monkey bars |  Hamzas brother keeps going back and forth on the monkey bars |  Hamza stops and looks at his hands |  |  Hamza shows his mom his hands |  Hamzas mom asks if his hands hurt |  Hamza nods and tries to reach for the bars again | | * Hamza jumps to the first bar | | * Hamza screams for help |  Hamzas mom comes over and holds his legs |  Hamza goes across the monkey bars with his mom holding his legs | | * Hamza gets to the other end and jumps for joy | | * Hamza asks “can we do that again?” to his mom |  Hamzas mom says ok |  Hamza jumps onto the first bar |  Hamzas mom is looking for her older son |  Hamza says hurry |  Hamzas mom holds his legs |  Hamza goes across the monkey bars with his mom holding his legs |  Hamzas mom says “good Hamza” |  Hamza says his hands hurt |  Hamzas mom asks if he wants to walk with her around the park |  Hamza walks with his mom | | * Hamza sees a dog and holds his moms hand | | * Hamza lets go as soon as the dog is away from his sight | |

Childs Name: Jia Sharma | Observation Date: March 5, 2016 | Childs Date of Birth: May 5, 2014 | Observation location and Setting: Julia Kiniski School Park. | Childs Activity | Others involved and Relevant Events | * Jia watches Kuljit |  Kuljit (age 9) is going down the slide |  Jia looks at Tasavur | | * Jia says “ me go” |  Tasavur walks with Jia to the top of the slide where Kuljit is |  Jia sits in front of Kuljit and goes down the slide screaming and clapping | | * Jia screams “again” and tries to climb herself | | * Jia tries to climb and doesn’t allow her mother to assist but then cant and waits for Kuljit to climb the ladder |  Tasavur allows Jia to try to climb the ladder, then helps her up |  Jia looks at another girl close to her |  Girl climbs ladder behind Kuljit |  Jia and Kuljit go down the slide | | * Jia looks around | | * Jia sees the swings | | * Jia points at the swings and says “me go” |  Tasavur walks with Jia to the swings |  Jia says “no”, me hungry” |  Tasavur takes Jia to the picnic table |  Jia tries to climb into her stroller |  Tasavur takes out a bag of animal crackers |  Jia takes a cracker and puts it in her mouth | | * Jia takes the cracker out of her mouth and turns to give some to the dog | | * Jia looks at her mother |  Tasavur says “don’t give your cookie to Bowser |  Jia puts the cracker back into her mouth |  Tasavur says good girl |  Jia laughs | | * Jia finishes her cracker and asks for another | | * Jia carefully takes the cracker from her mothers hand | | * Jia turns to give it to the dog |  Tasavur says “no Jia” |  Jia eats the cracker | | * Jia asks for another cracker |  Tasavur gives her another cracker |  Jia looks up | | * Jia finds Kuljit | | * Jia points at Kuljit |  Tasavur says “finish your cracker first” |  Jia puts the cracker in her mouth and slides out of her stroller then runs to Kuljit |  Kuljit runs away and starts drawing with a stick in the sand |  Jia stands and watched Kuljit |  Tasavur follows Jia, and Kuljit tells them about his drawing |  Jia looks around |  Kuljit drops the stick and goes back to the slide |  Jia slowly walks to the stick | | * Jia picks up the stick | | * Jia starts playing with the stick | | * Jia looks for Tasavur |  Tasavur is a few steps away |  Jia pokes and slashes in the sandbox | | * Jia points at her scribble and says “look” | Tasavur asks, “what did you make?” | * Kuljit responds “bow bow” |  Tasavur says “bow bow is that bowser” |  Jia smiles and bends her knees up and down |  Kuljit comes running |  Jia looks at Kuljit and says “bow bow” |  Kuljit kicks the drawing |  Jia starts crying |  Tasavur tells Kuljit that he was a bad boy and that he gets a time out |  Jia stops crying |  Tasavur picks Jia up |

Gross Motor Behavior- Hamza
Hamza displayed several physical abilities that involved large muscle movement; he was able to walk independently around the park while looking at the other children. He was able to do this with ease, which made me believe he came to the park frequently. Hamza was also able to jump onto the swing by himself without any adult help, as well as demonstrated good balance when he jumped off the swing and landed on both feet. As soon as Hamza got on the swing he began to swing hard back and forth bending his knees and moving his head forward all at once, showing he had control over small movements that required coordination. He also used both hands to get a good grip of the ladder when climbing to go down the slide and stepped left foot after right foot coordinating his feet and bending his knees until he reached the top of the slide. He slid down the slide stretching his legs and lifting both arms. Hamza was also able to jump and hold on the first monkey bar but unable to create enough momentum to swing to the next bar. In my observation Hamza did not exhibit any fine motor skills as he was mainly playing in the park.
Vocal Behavior-Hamza
While playing in the park Hamza was more concerned about following what his brother did and gaining praise from his mother for going down the slide and going across the monkey bars. As expected for his age Hamza could put together a sentence as he asked his brother “did you see me go down the slide”, and asks his mom “can we do that again?” for her to help him across the monkey bars. Hamza understood and assimilated immediately when told to slow down when his mom asked but also knew that he could speed up again while she was not looking.
Social Behavior-Hamza
Hamza was constantly smiling which conveyed a sense of joy and amusement. He looked like a very happy and relaxed child. Although there were not many children at the park and most seemed a bit younger than him, Hamza had a positive reaction to sharing the playground with other children. Although he did not talk to the other children or invite them to play with him, he did show interest in the other kids as he would occasionally look towards them while he would slide down the slide. Hamza demonstrated that he was an independent boy who did not need constant supervision from his mom, even though sometimes he tried to get her attention and enjoyed a certain amount of praise after he completed his activity. Hamza does show fear of the dog when it comes close to him.
Gross motor Behavior- Jia
Jia showed gross motor skills in her ability to walk unassisted, yet very cautiously and slowly. She was not yet able to climb any of the equipment in the park: even though she reached up to hold the ladder, her mother had to picked her up and put her in her brother’s lap. Jia did know to keep her legs straight going down the slide, which shows she had performed this action before. She was also unable to jump but did try to by bouncing on her knees.
Fine Motor Control- Jia
Jia also showed familiarity with fine motor skills, as she knew what it meant to draw, when her brother had done so previously, which shows she is also familiar with this action. Although she did not make any distinct shapes her scribble in the sand was meant to be the dog Bowser.
Hand-Eye Coordination- Jia
Jia showed good hand eye coordination when it came to feeding herself the crackers. She held each cracker with her thumb and forefinger and placed it in her mouth precisely. She was also able to hold the stick in her hand and wave it back and forth in the sand in the directions she wanted.
Vocal Behavior- Jia
Jia has good understanding of what she is being told when her mom says “no” and asks her what she drew she responds in the correct manner. Jia is able to speak few words such as “ me go”, meaning she wants to go to what she’s pointing at, and “bow bow”, meaning her dog Bowser, showing she is good at repeating sounds that sounds similar. The ability to form single phonemes is typical of late infancy.
Social Behavior- Jia
Jia’s social behavior is very limited to the people she knows. While in the park she is mainly focused on herself and what she wants to do, as well as doing what her brother is doing. She also does not show fear of her dog Bowser. Jia shows very little interest in watching the other children in the park unless they are near her, such as the girl who climbed the ladder behind Kuljit.
Discussion
Hamza is 5 years old and shows great abilities to assimilate, which in Piagets theory is “the first step promoting mental growth, involving fitting environmental input into our existing mental capacities.”(Belsky, 23) Hamza does this by slowing down when his mother tells him to, and thus showing an understanding of what she expects from him.
Hamza shows a great deal of advancements in his gross motor skills as expected for a child of his age, he is able to walk, run, jump, climb and slide with ease and requires no help from an adult showing he has mastered Ericksons task of Autonomy and has moved on the early childhood life stage. In Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial tasks there are “core challenges or developmental tasks that we face at different ages” (Belsky, 21), thus we cannot master the issue of a later stage until we have accomplished the developmental milestones of the previous. Around age three and continuing to age five, children are in Eriksons Initiative v. Guilt task, where children assert themselves more frequently. These are particularly lively, rapid-developing years in a child’s life. According to Bee (1992) it is a “time of vigor of action and of behaviors that the parents may see as aggressive."
Hamza also displays social modeling, which proposes, people learn through observing others’ behavior and attitudes and the outcomes of those behaviors and attitudes. Hamza viewed his brother as a role model and learned many tasks by imitating him. At the monkey bars Hamza tries to follow his brother doing a task that was more challenging, once he realizes he cannot do the task by himself he calls for his mother to help him.
Hamza did not speak much and so it was more difficult to observe where he was in vocational development. He did use a proper sentence when asking if his brother did watch him go down a slide, which shows proper syntax. Over regularizations are errors in early language development “when younger children apply rules for plurals, and past tenses even to exceptions, so irregular forms sound like regular forms,” (Belsky, 164) It would be difficult to say if any over regularizations, were used regularly by Hamza as again he did not speak much.
Secure attachment is the “ideal attachment response when a child responds with joy at being united with a caregiver” (Belsky, 115). Hamza displayed secure attachment to his mother, as he would smile every time his mother came to him, after periods of being away from her sight and playing on his own.
Jia is almost 2 years old, which aligns with Erickson’s psychosocial phase of toddlerhood. In toddlerhood the “child is developing physically and becoming more mobile.” (McLeod, 2013) This can be seen as Jia walks on her own, tries to climb on her own, and picks up a stick to play with. She also feeds herself and tells her mother where she wants to go, but does not wait to be picked up; instead quickly walks to the swings and even attempts to climb into her stroller by herself. It is not until Jia begins to cry that her mother picker her up or until Jia looks at her, signaling that she is not able to complete the task on her own.
Jia is also in Piagets first stage of cognitive development, called the sensorimotor stage at which the “babies agenda is to pin down the basics of physical reality” (Belsky, 98) and ends with the development of language. Jia shows abilities of tertiary circular reactions or the “little scientist phase” which is when a baby explores the properties of objects, this can be seen when Jia picks up the stick, examines it, realizes it is familiar and uses it as her brother did to scribble a picture of “bow bow”. It can also be seen when she decides she wants to go down the slide. She knows that her only way down the slide is to first get to the top. She tries to climb the ladder to get up to the top of the slide but after examining how she can get up and realizing she is unable to on her own, she looks to her mother to help her.
At this time Jia has limited speech she combines short words in order to communicate what she wants such as “me go” to her mother. The social-interactionist view, which emphasizes that babies and adults have a mutual passion to communicate the first word combining stage, is called telegraphic speech, which is customary of children between 1 ½ and 2.
In observing Jia, she seems to be securely attached to her mother Tasavur, paving the way to developing good social skills as she grows up.
Attachment styles are a good way of identifying if a child will have problems mixing with their peers and therefore being able to work to resolve problems. Although both Jia and Hamza do not pay much attention to the other children and interact with them much, both show signs of secure attachment, which is a positive sign for future socialization. Both children's’ behaviors are typical as per the theories of various stages and tasks for cognitive and language development suggest. Socialization is one of the most important learning experiences a child will have, as it will determine the success they will have in their future and in many realms of their life. Socialization is the “process by which children are taught to obey the norms of society and to behave in socially appropriate ways” (Belsky, 130). From what could be observed factors such as ethnic origin and socioeconomic status could be issues that could affect the socialization of both children as both are of Asian decent and their families have immigrated here recently. Jia has a higher chance of producing prosocial behaviors as both of her parents are highly educated (Tasavur having an Arts degree) and so have higher socioeconomic status. Whereas, Roma being from the Middle East and kept very close watch of both her children, which is a cultural difference and potential reason that Hamza is shy and does not actively seek to play with his peers. However because Hamza does show secure attachment perhaps being in a school environment with peers will help him overcome some of his shy tendencies.

Conclusion
I observed the children at the park, as it is where they are able to freely play and display various skills such as motor, verbal and social skills. I found that the children do not behave as described by a single theory but a combination of the theories involving cognitive development. Several changes happen at once and are also affected by the personality of the child: Jia being more outgoing and vocal so an extrovert, and Hamza being quiet and shy so an introvert. Hamza displayed the behaviors typical of a shy child going through the same stages of cognitive development and mastering the same tasks. Both theories by Piaget and Eriksen were seen to be happening simultaneously. According to these theories Hamza is developing somewhat slower than kids his age, age Jia is developing as other children her age typically would. A few changes that could have been made to improve the study would be watching the children for a longer time and observing them in various environments. The children took an extensive amount of time just climbing up a ladder and walking around, observing them for a longer period of time would allow for them to show a larger variety of skills. Observing the children in various environments could also give better cues to their personality and verbal skills, such as if they communicate more when in a comfortable home environment or with certain people in their lives.
Naturalistic observations were a very effective way to complete this research assignment as it allowed me to view these children undistracted, behaving naturally. Any other type of method for this assignment may have caused biases such as parents trying to influence their children to exhibit certain behaviours. Also my limited interaction with the children allowed me to observe the children without influencing them to show me if they are able to do certain tasks they would not have normally completed.

References
(2009), Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from About.com: Psychology Web site: http://psychology.about.com/od/piagetstheory/a/keyconcepts.htm
Bee, H. L. (1992). The developing child. London: HarperCollins
Belsky, J. (2013). Experiencing the Lifespan, Third Edition. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
McLeod, S. A. (2013). Erik Erikson. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Modeling Behavior for Children Has Long-Lasting Effects. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 14, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/05/27/modeling-behavior-for-children-has-long-lasting-effects/14139.html

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