Activity 3: Preschool Observations

Introduction

        The first child that I observed is Sim Wan Ying. She is 6 years old. She was born on 22 July 2012 in Kuching, Sarawak. She grew up in orphanage and was adopted when she was around 4 years old. Now, she is living with her adoptive parents.

The second child that I observed is Ho Min Yu. He is 6 years old. He was born on 22 October 2012 in Kuching, Sarawak. He is an only child. His family is made up of father and mother. His parents have their own jobs.

Details of assignment and how I carried it out

        The purpose of this assignment is to observe and analyze cognitive, physical, and psychosocial development of 3-6 years old children.

My friends and I decided to visit Tadika Kuching Padungan. After getting permission from the person in charge, I went to this kindergarten. I identified two children from this kindergarten. All of the activities which are flash card game, “123 Freeze”, drawing, and storytelling were conducted in a classroom there. A group of children including two children chosen took part in all activities. All actions were recorded by using video recorder.

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Figure 1. Tadika Kuching Padungan.

To analyze their cognitive development, we carried out flash card game. At first, we taught the children the words on the flash cards. Then, we hid all the flash cards in different places. The children had to find the flash cards. After finding it, they have to speak out the word on the flash cards.

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Figure 2. The children were learning word on the flash card.

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Figure 3. Card-seeking activity.

To analyze their physical development, we conducted two activities which were “123 Freeze” game and drawing. “123 Freeze” aims to test their gross motor skill while drawing aims to test their fine motor skill. “123 Freeze” was a game that a child was facing the wall whereas other children were lining up in horizontal line and keeping considerable distance from the child who was facing the wall. Then, the child who was alone facing the wall had to shout “123 Freeze!”. While he/she was shouting, other children should run towards him/her. When the shouter finished saying “Freeze”, all the children must stop running and “freeze” at their places. If any children were founded moving, he/she would go in front and shout together with the player facing the wall. The game continued until one child managed to approach and touch the shouter. The winner would change places with the shouter and the game started again. For drawing activity, we gave the theme “Home”. They were asked to draw by their creativity. At the same time, their hands which were used to hold the pencil were observed.

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Figure 4. “123 Freeze” game.

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Figure 5. Drawing activity.

To analyze their psychosocial development, we conducted storytelling activity. One of my friends presented a story named “A Donkey Crosses the Bridge” to the children. She asked some questions during storytelling to observe the children’s communicative and language abilities.

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Figure 6. Storytelling activity.

Observation

        During flash card game, Min Yu and Wan Ying focused on learning words. However, when seeking cards, Min Yu was active while Wan Ying seemed not. In the beginning, Wan Ying sat quietly on the chair. But with the influence of other children, she became more active. They only managed to read out a few words they found.

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Figure 7. Wan Ying (circled by pink line) was not active in card-seeking activity.

During “123 Freeze” game, Min Yu and Wan Ying were active and excited. They ran, “froze”, and jumped as normal children. At the beginning of game, they were unable to understand and follow the rules of game. However, they were getting better after a few times of playing. Min Yu almost cried when he couldn’t be the shouter after many rounds of playing.

During drawing activity, Min Yu started to draw after knowing the theme. He drew with his imagination and creativity. In contrast, Wan Ying seemed no idea with what to draw. She imitated the drawing of Min Yu. Both of them managed to hold pen and draw lines and shapes.

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Figure 8. Wan Ying was copying the drawing of Min Yu.

During storytelling activity, Min Yu lay his head on the table and was not able to concentrate on the story. He looked so sleepy. After he saw other children answering questions correctly and obtaining present, he started to cry in order to attract attention from us. In contrast, Wan Ying kept focusing on the story. But, she did not give any response when the presenter started to ask questions. She is not fluent in Chinese speaking, but good at Malay.

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Figure 9. Min Yu (circled by pink line) cried in order to draw others’ attention.

Analysis

        From my observation, I found that two children have well-developed gross motor skill and fine motor skill. They also managed to learn new knowledge and follow instructions given. Besides, they know how to organize their words and communicate with others.

I discovered that Wan Ying was a bit socially withdrawn. Socially withdrawn children commonly restrict from social activities in the presence of peers (Rubin et al., 2009). The lack of social interaction in childhood may result from various reasons, including social fear and anxiety or a preference for solitude (Rubin et al., 2009). In card-seeking activity, all of the children interacted happily with each other except Wan Ying. She sat on her chair and did not join them. But later she attempted to play and interact with other children.

There is one more thing to mention. Wan Ying merely drew two people which are her adoptive parents in drawing activities. She did not include herself in the drawing. This means she excluded herself from her family.

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Figure 10. Wan Ying’s drawing.

Initiative versus guilt is the third stage of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development (Cherry, 2018). The children between the ages of 3 and 6 experience this stage (Cherry, 2018). With the guide and encouragement of the family, the children at this stage will have a sense of initiative. However, the children will develop a sense of guilt if they receive improper guide by their caregivers. The children who have a sense of guilt may be afraid of trying new things and always think the things they do are wrong (Cherry, 2018). They have low self-confidence. Wan Ying had a sense of guilt. It was obviously seen when she kept mimicking Min Yu’s drawing in drawing activity. She could not finish her drawing independently. In addition, she stayed quiet during storytelling activity. She feared to express her own thought because she worried that she would say something wrong.

The children between 2 years old to 7 years old were in the preoperational stage. The preoperational stage is the second stage in Piaget’s theory of cognitive development (McLeod, 2009). The children in this stage may have a few of key features, including centration, egocentrism, animism, irreversibility, and conservation (McLeod, 2009). From my observation, I found that Min Yu is egocentric. An egocentric child centers so much on his own point of view and cannot see from another person’s point of view (McLeod, 2009). In storytelling and “123 Freeze” game, he showed attention-seeking behaviors (Kuehn, n.d.). He cried to gain attention from others. In this point, he only thought about himself and neglected other children’ feelings.    

Conclusion

       Two children that I observed are well-developed in terms of cognitive, physical, and psychosocial. Wan Ying is a bit socially withdrawn and has a sense of guilt while Min Yu is egocentric. From the case of Wan Ying, I realized that parents and growing environments have huge impact on their different aspects of development. Thus, caregivers should more focus on their children at early childhood stage (3-6 years old).

References

Cherry, K. (2018, April 17). Understanding initiative vs. guilt. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/initiative-versus-guilt-2795737

Kuehn, L. (n.d.). Attention-seeking behavior in children. Retrieved from https://www.cornerstonesforparents.com/attention-seeking-behavior

McLeod, S. (2009). Preoperational stage. Retrieved from https://simplypsychology.org/preoperational.html

Rubin, K. H., Coplan, R. J., & Bowker, J. C. (2009). Social Withdrawal in Childhood. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 141–171. http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163642

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