Early Childhood Analysis: Stages And Their Comparison

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INTRODUCTION

My observation took me and my spouse to a playground in one of the elementary schools in Doraville where my daughter goes to a school called Embry Hills Preschool & Kindergarten. My spouse was pretty much there to stop my daughter from interfering with my research. After observing all the participants for about five minutes, there was one particular participant (child) that got my attention; his name is Jordan. I think Jordan got my attention because he was particularly very active compared to other kids and was pretty much trying to get the best of funs out of all the equipment in the playground area. In my observation, I used my phone camera in capturing the participants for my naturalistic observation so I would not miss any details while writing my paper. In addition, I chose to observe the participant in the field because it’s the area I believed kids can freely express themselves without restriction, therefore minimizing biases. Jordan was a little bit bigger than the other kids and I thought he was at least 6 years old, but after conversing with the teacher it appeared that Jordan had just hit his 4th birthday. I was a little bit surprised, but I guess all kids don’t grow the same.

STAGE

According to life stages, children between 1 and 6 years old are considered to be in their early childhood. Jordan was therefore in his early childhood. At this age, children develop better upper-body mobility. As a consequence, their catching and throwing capabilities progress in swiftness and accurateness. Their whole-body coordination improves, children of this age can ride a tricycle. They can be classified per Freud’s category of phallic stage of psychosexual development, leading to awareness of sex and gender differences. Also, they are between Erikson’s psychosocial stages of initiative versus guilt and industry versus inferiority.

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According to Piaget’s preoperational period of cognitive theory, language and imagination are developing and children are capable of symbolic and magical thinking but not logic. Their thinking is egocentric, always viewing the world from their own standpoint and limiting the child’s thinking. In the theory of Vygotsky, these children are considered learners in thinking because they learn to think and ask questions to tutor who guide their participation in social experiences and explorations.

Around this age, children start to manipulate clothing fasteners, like zippers and snaps and continue to gain partial independence in dressing and undressing themselves. Before they enter school, most children will gain the ability to partially dress and undress themselves. At this age, children can also begin using scissors to cut paper speaking from experience.

During or while getting close to the end of early childhood kids continue to polish their eating skills and can use utensils like forks and spoons. Young children at this age can write and adapt to a certain situation. They can open doorknobs or twisting lids off containers. Caregivers are advised at this stage to make sure that harmful substances such as cleaners and medications are stored out of reach in a locked area to prevent accidental poisonings. Early childhood would continue with the refinement of fine motor skills till they reach 6 years old. As an example, children at this age can now button and unbutton their clothes; zip and unzip their pants by themselves. Their artistic skills improve, and they can draw simple stick figures and copy or reproduce simple shapes like circles…… etc.

COMPARISON

As I was out on the field doing my naturalistic observation; I observed several factors; Jordan exhibited many of the developmental characteristics typical of early childhood. Play, the exercise of both gross and fine motor skills, and practice in emotional regulation and social skills were present at some moment. Some of these factors are critical in influencing child development.

I was observing Jordan from a distance not far away from where he was, and he could not be interested in whatever I was doing; however, my daughter could not stop but running towards me. It was definitely a great idea to had allowed her mother to come with us. I think Jordan did not really enjoy interacting with other kids in the playground because he was always trying to get away from the crowd of kids and play by himself. He moved away when a group of children came to join him in the game and constantly stayed active. Jordan would challenge himself at everything he was doing over and at all times did not allow himself to play with a group of children but instead continuously played alone. At the same time, he attempted to lie down in dissatisfaction when another child came to ask him to join in his game. At some point in the course of playing, he was tired and bored and could not play longer hence he stood on the field watching as others play from a distance. All in all, he showed the development of language skills, imagination, and symbolic thinking.

The naturalistic observation helps me see how the participant was reacting to other children who approached him to play together; he could continuously cross his fingers as a sign of not accepting the offer. At the same time, Jordan came to be incontrollable as he was approached by another team of children and chased them. The participant could no longer entertain any more invitations from his fellows as he had resorted to playing alone.

ANALYSIS

From the above observation, it is evident that a child’s development is influenced by some environmental factors. A child’s interaction with the environment is intensely critical in his development as they learn from what they see. The observable behavior of others influences how a child will behave leading to personality development. Many child developments theories have the assumption that children’s behavior is affected by the outcome of the displayed behavior, and the outcome will determine its re-occurrence. For instance, the participant behavior has been set by the surroundings of kids with which he interacts, and that they verify however he reacts with different outside the college set-up. Children’s behaviors are developed by the reward and punishments they get from others. In the case of reward, they will persist in displaying that behavior to get more rewards, and with time the behavior will be built. On the other hand, frequent punishment informs of rejection leads to the change of behavior to the desired to be socially accepted by others.

During my observation, I witnessed how children in their early childhood interacted with their environment. Other children too had to learn from the way the participant rejected their request to play with them.

The kids were enduring an identity crisis trying to find somebody to play with. The crisis one undergoes will also help him or her in understanding others which intern helps in self-development and getting to know one’s self. The observation I did came out a little bit like a surprise to me because I had not known how children react on their own as they shape their behaviors. Some of the observations I made throughout my naturalistic observation were not expected I did not imagine children rejecting themselves on the school playground. It became a surprise on realizing the way the children are engaging in different activities shaping their developments without their knowledge. This perhaps gives justification for how the environment shapes people’s behavior without realizing it as one may not expect.

CONCLUSION

From this naturalistic observation, I feel like there is a need to change the approach or environment if I was to do another observation; As I managed to capture the participant’s observable behavior, I need to change the location and give it a different approach. The next observation will be outside the school set-up away from the children’s influence to get a rational conclusion. A similar observation needs to be carried out in a different way or different environment to give a better understanding or justifications on today’s findings if there is consistency in the results. Perhaps the best place to carry the second observation is at the park where children of different backgrounds and schools are involved. This will eliminate biases that might be caused by the friendly environment that my Jordan was used to. All in all, it was a satisfactory observation just not what I expected from a kid in his early childhood. I expected the kids to be more friendly to other kids especially because it was a school playground. 

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