Child Observation and Analysis
I chose to observe a four-year-old girl that I will refer to as Charlotte. She is a brilliant child with extraordinary skills to move around independently and socially. I watch Charlotte in the school classroom. This Observation was conducted between 8:15 am and 9:00 am. This Observation aims to progressively note the child’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. The following section describes the child’s development, strengths, and challenges in observing a child for 45 minutes and the two additional assessment strategies that would be beneficial to gather additional information on the child I watched.
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Social and Emotional Development
Charlotte was observed as an active, balanced, and interactive child. She interacts well with her teachers and classmates, especially with her “best friend,” Angela. Charlotte seems to look warmly and positively but rather demanding than cooperative; bossiness and out-of-bound behavior manifest in her interactions with classmates. She is trying to please her close friend Angela by bringing her a neckless and holding her hand during the morning meeting. She enjoys singing and dancing, especially during rote singing and movement throughout the morning meeting. Charlotte is aware of her gender; she tells Oscar, “It’s only for girls,” pointing at the “fairy neckless” she had brought for Angela. Charlotte is a young child with high self-esteem and balanced social interactions. She has achieved the milestones she should according to the Age & Stages resource.
Charlotte is physically involved in activities a four-year-old anticipates participating in. She is observed for both gross motor and fine motor skills. Hoping and jumping is a physical milestones children her age must achieve. Charlotte jumped while holding her friend’s hand throughout the morning meeting. She can print letters, words, and numbers without any help. She dresses and undresses independently; she removed her vest after her arrival and put it on before leaving the classroom for recess. Unfortunately, I could not observe her other physical abilities, such as climbing and standing on one foot, due to the time of the Observation and the location in which the Observation took place. Charlotte has accomplished the physical skills milestones for her age based on Age & Stage resource.
Charlotte is cognitively remarkable as she shows the intellect of the mind, especially knowledge, and understanding. She seemed to have a high level of numeral and linguistic knowledge for her age; she writes her name and any CVC word you ask and could count up to ten manipulatives her teacher shares with the class.
Charlotte appears to have a vast vocabulary for naming colors and points out colors such as magenta and turquoise, which are words barely used by young children. Charlotte seems to have a good understanding of time and the daily schedule. She knew the sequencing of events; she walked into the class, left her belongings in her cubby, took her red folder out, left it on her teacher’s desk, and sat on the carpet for the morning meeting. Charlotte has accomplished the cognitive milestones for her age, which are mentioned in the Age & Stage resource.
Strengths and Challenges of Observing a Child for 45 Minutes
Observing a child for a short time has strengths and challenges. Watching Charlotte for 45 minutes allowed me to get to know her as an individual. It helped me learn about her interests, extraordinary linguistic skills, and easygoing personality. However, Observation in a short time has its challenges;
- There is not enough time to observe all developmental
- There are limitations in following responses at different times of the day at various locations.
- It is not an ongoing practice. Therefore, progress or needs could not be observed or
- No “next steps” could be planned to support the child’s learning and development.
The Observation could be an excellent assessment of supporting young children’s learning and development. However, Observation for a short time has some strengths and challenges that should be considered before using it for collecting data and future planning.
Two additional assessment strategies would be beneficial to gather other data on the child. I observed why these strategies would yield healthy development and learning about the child.
I would recommend performance-based and instructional assessments for gathering more data on Charlotte. Charlotte is an intelligent four-year-old who is linguistically and arithmetically advanced. The performance-based Assessment will allow her to demonstrate her knowledge and understanding of desirable learning.
According to the Assessment in Early Childhood, one everyday use of performance-based assessments is that it’s utilized as the right tool for evaluating the progress in development. Unlike standardized tests and more formal reviews, performance-based estimates are directly related to the children’s development and achievement (Wothan & Hinder 2016). Performance-based assessments measure a child’s performance of a task or activity relevant to the lessons (Wortham & Hinder, 2016). The performance-based Assessment helps Charlotte to demonstrate her knowledge and the progress she has made. The teachers then could plan the next step to support her learning and development.
The instructional Assessment is another strategy that could benefit Charlotte’s learning and development. The instructional Assessment is used to yield information about what the child knows. At a given point, it can guide the next steps in learning and provide feedback that leads toward the goals (Washington State, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Early Childhood Assessment Workgroup, 2008). Instrumental Assessment is an ongoing process that links directly to the curriculum with the main reason for supporting early learning and development (Washington State, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Early Childhood Assessment Workgroup, 2008). I believe using instrumental Assessment will meet Charlotte’s need for a more advanced curriculum. It also could guide the next learning steps and provide feedback to meet the goals.
Charlotte is a four-year-old child whose developmental milestones are age-appropriate. However, she is academically more advanced than most children her age in the classroom. Therefore, she could benefit from differentiated teaching. To ensure my short-timed Observation of her is accurate, the teachers could gather more data using other assessment strategies such as performance-based and instructional Assessments. They can evaluate the data and plan for the following steps to support her learning and development.
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Washington State, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Early Childhood Assessment Workgroup. (2008). A guide to Assessment in early childhood: Infancy to age eight. Retrieved from https://digitalarchives.wa.gov/do/994B2324B158A63D8191F38A8FA82E5F.pdf
Wortham, S. C., & Hardin, B. J. (2016). Assessment in early childhood education (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
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For this Performance Task Assessment, you will select a child you know (a relative, friend’s child, etc.) between the ages of 6 weeks and five years to observe for data related to specific developmental domains. You will then analyze the strengths and challenges of keeping a child for a 45-minute- to 1-hour period and recommend additional assessment strategies to help your understanding of development and learning information about the child.
Your response to this Performance Task should reflect the rubric’s criteria and adhere to the required length.
This Assessment requires submitting two files, including the Running Record Form and writing assignments.
Before submitting your Assessment, carefully review the rubric. This rubric the assessor will use to evaluate your submission provides detailed criteria describing how to achieve or master the Competency. Many students find that understanding the requirements of the Assessment and the rubric criteria helps them direct their focus and use their time most productively.
Access the following to complete this Assessment:
- Ages & Stages Resource https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/Pages/default.aspx
- Running Record Form Template
Gathering Data to Understand and Support Childhood Development and Learning
For this Performance Task, select a child you know (a relative, friend’s child, etc.) between the ages of 6 weeks and five years to observe for a 45-minute to one-hour period. Before you watch, review the Ages & Stages resource from the American Academy of Pediatrics for the age of the child you are attending. As you watch, note your observations on the Running Record Form to refer to when you write your paragraphs for this Assessment.
Note: In the Ages & Stages resource, the developmental domains are referred to differently depending on the child’s age.
Then, write 2- to 3-pages with the following two parts:
Part 1: Beginning a Development and Learning Assessment
- Based on the limited time you have had to observe this child, what have you noticed about their development in the developmental domains delineated in the Ages & Stages resource? (3-–4 paragraphs)
Part 2: Assessment Planning
- Analyze the strengths and challenges of observing a child for a 45-minute to 1-hour period. (1–2 paragraphs)
- Recommend two additional assessment strategies that would be beneficial to gather other data on the child you observed, and explain why these strategies would yield healthy development and learning information about the child. (2 paragraphs)
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