Studying a child s holistic development education essay

P6: Describe the longitudinal study you carried outWhen I went for the first time at the nursery, I asked my supervisor to give me a list of children which attend the nursery every Friday as this is the day that I was going to carry out the observations. At the end, I decided to choose Z due to the fact that I felt sorry that he was so lonely sitting by himself while the other children played in the outdoor area. I decided to choose him so that I will be able to work with him, hoping that I will build enough confidence in him to play along the other children. In fact Z is quite a reserved child especially when dealing with strangers. He is also a very determined child that is making sure to get what he really wants. Z’s most favourite game is playing with a ball and his favourite character is Barney. While carrying out the longitudinal study I made sure to be objective as much as possible. The following are values which I have used in order to help me in keeping my objectivity. While writing my observations I made sure to be unbiased. I did so by eliminating any influence which I might have either from the carers or from what I have seen. This helped me to eliminate discrimination. Another thing which I made sure to follow in order to maintain objectivity is that of supporting my observations with factual statement for example instead of saying ‘ The child is sad’ I say ‘ The child looks to be sad as he is crying’. I have also made sure to be sensitive towards the child’s social and cultural background. I managed to do so by making sure not to let differences in the child’s cleanliness or even behaviour influence my observations or attitude towards the child. I also maintained objectivity by making sure to consider the time whereby I carried out my observations. I made sure to keep in mind the child’s enthusiasm and energy to carry out an activity. I also took into consideration the child’s mood. As much as possible I tried to eliminate times where he gets tired and unmotivated. While at the childcare centre I also made sure to take ethics into consideration. First of all I make sure that I go dressed appropriately. Other ethical values that I carry out while at the setting are that I make sure to choose appropriate vocabulary when talking to children that is making sure not to use any foul language. Other ethical considerations that I take while at the setting are that of maintaining confidentiality and that of being a good role model. I make sure not to mention what children do at the setting and refer to them by name. I also make sure not to gossip with others on the children or their guardians. In order to be a good role model I make sure to teach the children good manners by using ‘ please’ and ‘ thank you’. I also make sure to role model positive behaviours, for example a sharing behaviour. For the longitudinal study, I have carried out several observational techniques. These include a questionnaire filled in by the child’s guardian, a checklist, child study (longitudinal study paragraphs), time sample, target child, event sample and written record. P 5 and P 6: Longitudinal StudyLongitudinal study is a study which is carried out on a long period of time. The longitudinal study allows an observer to use a variety of methods by which s/he can observe different behaviours as well as the development in each area of development. A longitudinal study usually consists of different observation techniques such as a checklist. While at the setting I have used the longitudinal study to observe Z’s holistic development. The checklist was one of the most observational techniques that helped me in observing all the areas of development. With the aid of the checklist I was able to carry out a child study which includes observing what the child does on a particular day from a particular area of development. I recorded the results of the child study in a paragraph. This helps me to keep track of the child’s development as well as to notice any changes, for example noticing that a milestone which was emergent has now been achieved. The longitudinal study also worked out to be positive for me as it allowed me to get to know the child better thus exploring his likes and dislikes, for example I noticed that Z really likes to play with a ball. This also helped me in noticing any concerns that need to be raised, for example noticing that Z was a very lonely child and that he did not participate in any of the activities and did not even play during free play. This allowed me to focus on the child’s emotional development by providing him with courage and praise. This helped Z in gaining more confidence thus participating like any other kid. Things that I did not like about the longitudinal study are that of visiting the nursery only once a week. This interrupted me as there were times were the child was sick for a couple of weeks or I myself was sick. This did not help in building a strong attachment with the child. Something else which I would change is that of making the longitudinal study on a shorter span of time but with more frequent visits, for example attending the nursery for twice a week for a period of four months (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). ChecklistA checklist is a list consisting of different skills which a child is supposed to reach by a particular age. An observer ticks whether a particular milestone is achieved, emergent or even not achieved. Further comments may be added by the observer. A checklist is usually used to assess the development of a child as it allows an observer to find out what stage the child is in. While carrying the longitudinal study I have used the checklist in order to be able to observe the child’s holistic development. This is due to the fact that a checklist consists of the different areas of development which are: physical, cognitive, language, emotional and social. I found the checklist very useful as it helped to find out Z’s stage of development thus it helped me to reach my aim. The checklist was easy to use as I found out that the milestones can be marked at any time, for example, the milestones regarding physical development can be easily marked out during free play. This also helped me to observe the child better as it allowed me to observe him when he was really enjoying himself, for example while playing with his favourite toy. The checklist also helped me in keeping me guided about what I was supposed to observe, for example, knowing that I have to observe whether the child empathises with younger children. Some things which I did not like about the checklist is that sometimes I found it difficult to maintain my objectivity as when ticking milestones sometimes I found it difficult to make a difference between emergent and achieved and sometimes I was also tempted to mark achieved. To ease this situation I would have preferred to have the milestone explained better in terms of what is considered to be emergent and what is considered to be achieved. I also found that the checklist may not always reliable as it depends on the child’s moods as well as on the child’s state of health, for example when the child was feeling sick I had different interpretations of already achieved milestones (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). Written recordThe written record is another observation technique. A written record allows the observer to record an event. This can be either structured or unstructured. A structured event can be recorded while the child is engaged in a specific activity while an unstructured event can be recorded when the child is engaged in free play. The written record consists of a description of an event. In order to write a written record I have used the present tense and I also focused on one area of development for instance physical development. I have used the written record to observe the child’s activities and behaviours for 20 minutes as well as to observe language development and physical development. I have used the written record to observe Z during his free play. I have found the written record quite useful as it allowed me to be flexible in choosing the time whereby I could carry out my observation, for example choosing to carry out the observation while Z was playing with building blocks. As the written record does not need any planning or preparation it allowed me to be more flexible, for example deciding to carry out the written record when seeing that Z was in a good mood. The written record also allowed me to observe Z more closely as it gave me the opportunity to write down all the things that Z done or said during the allotted time. Although this has been a disadvantage at times as I sometimes found it difficult to jot down all the details. Sometimes this led me to jot down short notes which at times led to misinterpretations when I revised them. This was time consuming as I repeated the observation on another day so as to ensure that the observation was 100 percent objective. I also had some problems when choosing what to write and what not to include. To ease this situation I would have liked a set of guidelines for each area of development. For example, when observing physical development, make sure to include gross motor skills and fine motor skills in details. For example, Z is grabbing the phone using a palmar grasp. He is now using his index finger to press the buttons on the phone (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). Time SampleThe time sample is another observation technique. It is about observing a child for a long period of time, for example one hour. A time sample involves recording the child’s activity and language as well as the emotional effect throughout that period of time. While at the setting I have used the time sample to observe the child’s holistic developments as well as the emotional and social development. I have carried out this observation for a period of one hour. This technique allowed me to observe the child for a long period of time at any time of the day. For example, I carried out the observation during free play or during an activity. It also allowed me to concentrate on one particular area of development, for example concentrating on emotional development. Moreover it also allowed me to combine two areas of development due to the fact that it gives the opportunity to record activity and language and emotional effect. Some things which I would have liked to change in the time sample is that of being able to carry it out on a shorter period of time as it was time consuming. In order to ease this situation I would have liked to split the observation into two observations, for example carrying out two 30 minutes observation at different times during the day. This would have also allowed me to observe different aspects of the child’s behaviour as young children show different behaviour at different times of the day as well as during different types of play (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). Event SampleAn event sample is another observation technique which is carried out on a long period of time. It is about recording particular events throughout a specific day, for example recording each time the child interacts with others. When recording events, the observer also records the time each event takes place at as well as any response from adults, other children and the child himself. An event sample can also be used to observe aggressive behaviour in children. I have used the event sample to observe the number of times Z interacts with the other children at the setting. The event sample has helped me to observe Z more closely as it allowed me to focus on a particular behaviour throughout the day. Giving me the opportunity to carry out the observation on a long period of time also worked out to be positive as I was able to closely observe the child’s behaviour during different activities for example during free play or during the singing. This also allowed me to link behaviour with activities, for example, noticing that during free play the child interact more with others. On the other hand something that I would have liked to change in carrying out the event sample is that of carrying it out more than once, if possible in the same week. Something else which I did not like about the event sample is that of being inconvenient. This is due to the fact that as an observer I had to make sure to observe him for a whole day, which at times it got boring. This was also inconvenient for the child since at times he was not cooperative in noticing that I was observing him. This has led me to be extra careful in not making it obvious that I was observing him so that he would continue to play (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). Target ChildTarget child is an observation technique whereby one observes a particular child for a period of time. This technique is usually used to observe the child’s concentration skills. When carrying out this technique, the observer has to record everything the child does including language and social interaction. I have used this technique to observe the child’s physical, intellectual, interactive and communication skills. I have also used this technique to focus on physical development and intellectual development. I enjoyed carrying out this technique as it allowed me to choose anytime I liked to carry it out, for example, choosing to carry out the observation during free play. The target child has also allowed me to focus on Z for a short period of time. At the end of the observation I was able to reflect which toys have promoted interaction between Z and the other children. Things that I would have liked to change is that of having more minutes off to jot down notes, as sometimes I found it difficult to write everything down. Also when summarising by using short notes, I had to be very careful as I sometimes misinterpreted them when typing the recorded observation (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). M3 and M4With the aid of the observations that I carried out during my longitudinal study, I managed to get an overview of the child’s developmental milestones. I was also able to see improvements of certain milestones as during the six month period, the child turned 2 and so I have observed his developmental milestones at 18months and at 2 years. Longitudinal StudyPhysical developmentWhen observing the child I found that according to Meggitt the child is quite in line with his milestones. This is due to the fact that most physical skills were achieved or emergent. One example of how my longitudinal study has shown me that the child is in line with his physical development is that of exploring things using his mouth. My observations shows that when Z was about 23 months he still took things into his mouth which according to Piaget is normal for children to use their sense to explore things, in fact he believed that children aged 0moths to 2 years are in the sensorimotor stage. My longitudinal study have also shown that the child have moved from the sensorimotor stage to the pre-operational stage as he no longer explored things through his mouth and as he started to move towards more symbolic play. On the other hand according to Freud the child is still stuck in the Oral stage a she believes that children explore the world through their mouth between the ages 0 to 1 year. (Meggitt, 2012) (Squire, 2007). Intellectual developmentAccording to my longitudinal study Z has still not achieved the milestone of providing comfort when other others babies cry which according to Meggitt this milestone happens when the child is 2 years. This shows that Z is still in the pre-operational stage of Piaget as he is still egocentric thus seeing things from his point of view. This shows that Z’s intellectual development is normal for a child of this age as the pre-operational stage takes place between 2-7 years (Meggitt, 2012) (Squire, 2007). Language developmentMy longitudinal study shows that Z is able to speak over 200 words which according to Meggitt is normal for a child aged 2 years. My longitudinal study also shows that Z uses language while playing. This shows that the language development for the child of this age is normal as Vygotsky believed that language is an important psychological tool which helps children to plan their own activities and to solve problems (Meggitt, 2012) (Squire, 2007). Emotional and Social developmentMy longitudinal study shows that Z can sometimes be independent. According to Meggitt, children will become eager to be independent when around 18 months. According to Erikson children aged 18 months to 3 years are in the stage of Autonomy vs. Shame, therefore Z’ emotional and social development is in line for a child of this age. Also my longitudinal study shows that Z has made improvements in his social behaviour, as he stared to participate more in activities as well as to socialise with other children. This shows that Z has changed his behaviour due to its consequences as both I and the carers encouraged Z to participate and praised him for each attempt or effort he did. This is linked to Skinner’s theory of positive reinforcement (Meggitt, 2012) (Squire, 2007). Observation TechniquesPhysical developmentMy observations show that Z is very physically mobile during free play. On the other hand he rarely participated in action songs. According to Bandura this is normal, as he believed that for children to learn there need to be four conditions which include attention, retention, motor reproduction and motivation. Z’s likes and dislikes can either increase or reduce attention towards an activity which will then affect his participation. While observing Z I have also seen that when a carer provided Z with support and instructions it helped him to improve his physical skills. For example, when suing the checklist to observe the milestone of copying a vertical line, the carer gave Z instructions to Z how to go down in a vertical line. According to Vygotsky using scaffolding can help children to reach the upper limit thus achieving the milestones. Intellectual developmentMy observations show that Z is trying to show that he understands the consequences of their behaviour. For example, during one of the observations that I carried out I have noticed Z giving a toy to a child who was crying. I have noticed that when we praised him for doing so, he repeated the behaviour thus Skinner’s positive reinforcements worked well. My observations also shows that through positive reinforcement Z has learned that it is not nice to take the toys other children were playing with, as he did not feel happy when another boy took his bus. Language developmentMy observations show that the child mainly speaks English as he was exposed to English from an early age. For example during one of the written records I have observed him speaking to another girl in English. This shows that Z learned the language which he was exposed to at home. However, I have observed Z repeating words which he heard in Maltese, for example during a time sample I recorded Z saying ‘ dudu’ According to Chomsky this is normal as children are born with a language acquisition device which will help them to learn languages that they are exposed to. Emotional and Social developmentMy observations show that Z he shows different feelings through the use of facial expressions. My observations show how quickly Z changes his mood. This is clearly shown in time samples. According to Bellows (2007) this is normal for children aged 2 to 5 years as they change their feelings in seconds. My observations also show how Z has interacted with adults or other children, for example by using hand gestures and language which according to BabyCenter (1997-2013), it is normal for his age as children socialize with each other at around the age of two.

D1

Z was 23 months when I first started to observe him. He is now 2 years 4 months. While observing Z I noticed that he had some milestones which were emergent therefore I have planned activities in order to help him achieve them. The two milestones that I chose to work on were: Draw circles, lines and dots using their preferred hand (physical) and Spend a great deal of time in naming things and what they do, such as ‘ chair’ or ‘ step’ and ‘ up’ (language)(Meggitt, 2012). Activity 1: Recognition of dotsFor this activity I have used large feely flashcards showing a ladybird, a butterfly, a t-shirt, a paper with dots and a bag as well as a feely bag with several dots of different textures. I have used visuals with different textures so as to create a multi sensory experience for Z. I have used the feely flashcards to point out dots as well as to include more vocabulary for the activity for example, ‘ a red ladybird with black dots’. Feely flashcards also helped me in getting Z to touch the dots thus developing the pre-drawing of the dots. The feely bag has also helped Z to feel different textures and to see different dots thus reinforcing the knowledge that there are a lot of different dots around us. While carrying out the activity I have also made sure to name things and what they do, for example, ‘ A bag with dots. We use the bag to go shopping’. Moreover I have also made sure to support Z with open ended questions, for example, ‘ what is this?’ and ‘ where does it live?’ After giving enough time to Z to respond my questions I have provided him with the right answers, for example ‘ This is a red ladybird. It has black dots on her back. A ladybird flies and lives in the garden.’ This helped Z in his intellectual development as he is learning things about the butterfly. This also helps his language as he is exposed to more vocabulary as well all as in naming things and what they do. Social development was also promoted as there was an ongoing interaction between me and Z. Likewise, emotional development was promoted as Z showed different emotions, for example smiling when seeing the butterfly or showing pleasure when saying ‘ fly’. Physical development was promoted as the child was using his index finger to feel the different textures thus using his fine motor skills. Activity 2: Collage with dotsI have chosen this activity so as to scaffold on the previous activity. For this activity I have focused on the butterfly. I chose to use the butterfly so as to include as many colours as possible. I have provided Z with a blank sheet of paper together with glue, different textured dots and a large butterfly template. I first recapped what we have done in the previous activity by showing him the dots (of the feely bag) and the flashcards. The next step was that of demonstrating how to stick dots. I demonstrated on the blank sheet making sure to name the dot as I was sticking it. I then gave the blank sheet to Z and left him to explore how to stick the dots. I then gave Z the butterfly template and more dots. I recapped the story of the butterfly, for example ‘ this is a butterfly. It has lives in gardens and it flies high in the sky’ In order to help him in achieving the milestone whereby he names objects I made sure to name dots while he was sticking them as well as in encouraging him to name them himself, for example ‘ blue dot’ or ‘ small dot’. This helped Z in his language development. On the other hand, physical development was being promoted as Z was practicing his pincer grasp to grab the dots as well as by using his index finger to press the dots when sticking them. Social development was being promoted as I interacted with him. Emotional development was promoted as he have used different facial expressions to express his likes and dislikes as well as showing expressions of happiness for example smiling or laughing or even shouting ‘ yeah’. Intellectual development was also being promoted as I included different colours and sizes. Activity 3: Printing dots with potato sticksI have chosen this activity to scaffold on the previous activities. I have started this activity by providing Z with the resources that we have used in the previous activities. I have also named the objects that we have done, for example ‘ This is the butterfly you made. You have used glue to stick these dots.’ I then provided Z with potato sticks and black paint. I also gave him a blank sheet of paper. I have chosen potato sticks as they are sturdy when printing with paint. I then demonstrated potato printing on the blank sheet. I then gave him time to print on the blank sheet. I then showed Z a ladybird template. I recapped the ladybirds’ description, for example, ‘ A ladybird is red and it has black dots on her back. A ladybird lives in the garden and flies from one leave to another’. I then gave Z the template and allowed him to print dots on her back. While printing I made sure to label the dots by saying ‘ a black dot’ or ‘ a dot on a ladybird’. This promoted language development. Physical development was also being promoted as Z was printing dots as well as he was using a fine pincer grasp to hold the potato stick. Social development was promoted as I build a conversation with Z by talking to him as well as by asking him questions. Intellectual development was promoted as Z had an opportunity to learn about the ladybird (knowledge and understanding of the world). Emotional development was promoted as Z showed pleasure while printing by smiling and by sharing expressions such as ‘ That’s nice’. In order to continue scaffolding these activities and to assure that Z has understood what a dot is, I carried out another activity which included finger painting on a dress and bag template. The same things where promoted in each area of development as I supported Z with open ended questions as well as with labelling of things. I have also interacted with him. I also carried out another activity which concluded dots. This activity included a recap of what he had done. I did this activity in the form of a matching game whereby I provided him with black dots and coloured dots (laminated and with velcro) as well as with a ladybird and a butterfly template. For this activity Z had to pick up the dots from a feely bag and attach them to the correct template that is black dots on the ladybird and coloured dots on the butterfly. I also asked Z to name objects, for example ‘ blue dot for butterfly’ or ‘ black dot for ladybird’. I then re-gave the feely back and the feely flashcards (used in activity 1) to Z so that he could feel the dots again. Physical development was being promoted through the use of fine motor skills and language development was being promoted through naming things. Social and emotional development were promoted through interactions and expressions, while intellectual development was being promoted through understanding which dots belong to who as well as in recognising colours.

D2

Longitudinal StudyThe longitudinal study allowed me to carry out a study for a long period of time. This helped me in getting to know the improvements in developmental skills of a child. It also helped me to realise that children can be advanced in one particular area of development but may lag behind in another, for example noticing that the child is quite advanced in physical skills but a little behind than the norm with regards to emotional skills. The use of the longitudinal study also helped me in getting to know the norm of different skills from different areas of development. The longitudinal study also helped in getting to know which milestones I needed to work on. A major disadvantage that I found during the longitudinal study is that of visiting the nursery only once a week. This interrupted me as there were times were the child was sick or I myself was sick. This did not help in building a strong attachment with the child (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). ChecklistI have found the checklist quite convenient and easy to use as I found out that the milestones can be marked at any time, for example, the milestones regarding physical development can be easily marked out during free play. The checklist also helped me to take down notes as comments and to re-asses the milestones on another day thus making sure that a particular milestone was achieved, emergent or not achieved. It also helped me to keep track of the child’s development it allowed me to list down the dates of observation. These helped me to see the child’s improvements. I also found the checklist easy to mark as some milestones could be easily ticked while carrying our another observation, for example ticking the milestone whereby the child grabs a pencil with a tripod grasp while carrying out a written record. The checklist also helped me in keeping me guided about what I was supposed to observe, for example, knowing that I have to observe whether the child empathises with younger children. On the other hand sometimes I found it difficult to maintain my objectivity as when ticking milestones sometimes I found it difficult to make a difference between emergent and achieved and sometimes I was also tempted to mark achieved. Also it did not give me the opportunity to record the child’s abilities in detail in fact I could only mark whether it was achieved, emergent or not achieved together with a small comment (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). Written RecordThe written record was one of my favourite observation techniques. I found the written record very flexible as it was not time consuming since the observation only takes 20 minutes. This allowed me to carry out the observation at any time during the day, for example, choosing to carry out the activity during free play. The fact that I did not need any preparation for the written record was another advantage. This allowed me to observe the child at a day when I was not prepared to observe him, for example, going on a Friday to tick the checklist only and deciding there and then to carry out a written record. Another advantage is that it allowed me to focus on any area of development as it involves the recording of everything the child does, for example observing the child during singing thus focusing on language development. On the other hand a disadvantage that I met while carrying out a written record is that I sometimes found it difficult to record everything that the child was doing. This sometimes led me to write my observations in short which sometimes I could not interpret when revising them at home, for example writing ‘ Z is now talking…’ and not knowing if on his own or with another child. This was time consuming as I had to repeat the observation (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). Time SampleThe time sample has gave me the opportunity to observe the child for a longer period of time as I carried out a 1 hour observation. The time sample also allowed me to record specific information, for example recording activity, language and emotional affect. For example recording ‘ the child was playing with a car while shouting ‘ yeah’ and smiling’. This allowed me to present my observation in a more professional format. The time sample also allowed me to focus on one area of development, for example focusing on emotional development. This then allowed me to compare the emotional affects with the activities recorded thus it helped me in getting to know better what Z liked to do most, for example, noticing that when playing with a ball he showed extreme pleasure by smiling, shouting ‘ yeah’, raising hands and by laughing loudly. A disadvantage that I met when carrying out the time sample is that of finding the appropriate time to carry out the observation as it was time consuming. This sometimes also led me to stop an observation and re-starting again, for example, stopping the observation because the carer took Z for a nappy change and having to start it all over again(Hobart and Frankel, 2009). Event SampleThe event sample gave me the opportunity to focus on a particular behaviour throughout a whole day. This allowed me to closely observe Z thus linking particular behaviour with specific activities, for example, linking social interaction with other children with free play. In other words the event sample allowed me to track what was causing certain behaviour and its consequences, for example noticing that when a child went next to Z and smiled at him, Z responded well and interacted with the other child. Another advantage of the event sample is that it included detailed notes of the child’s behaviour that is recording his activity and language as well as the adult’s or child response. This allowed me to keep things in mind when planning activities which then allowed me to prepare the best for Z to participate. On the other hand something which I did not like about the event sample is that of being inconvenient. This is due to the fact that as an observer I had to make sure to observe him for a whole day, which at times it got boring as well as impossible due to the fact that the child was sometimes uncooperative (Hobart and Frankel, 2009). Target ChildAn advantage of this observation technique is that it allowed me to be flexible in choosing the time to carry out the observation as it a short observation, for example choosing to carry out the observation, during the main activity or during story time. This also helped me by keeping me more focused on the child. Another advantage is that it allowed me to write in detail what the child was doing and saying. It also allowed me to write down what seemed more important to the child, for example, observing that the child was not interested in the actions of the nursery rhyme but was interested in singing the words of the rhyme. The main disadvantage that I met while carrying out such observation is that of having to summarise what I was writing in order to make sure that I have recorded everything. This led me to be extra careful so that I would not misinterpret notes when I was revising them at home(Hobart and Frankel, 2009).