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Katie Bell
Professor Jarvis
FHS 1500
July 2, 2015
Observation #2
Preschool Observation
Background Information
Child’s Age: 5 years old
Fictitious Name: “John”
Location: Neighborhood Elementary School
Brief Description: There were several non-related adults in the area. They serve lunch on
weekdays to children and then allow for play time after eating. I stayed for an hour to help with
lunch and watch the children.
Physical Development
John physically looked how the textbook says a preschooler should. “Children slim down
as the legs and arms lengthen and fat turns to muscle,” (Berger, 2014, pg. 167). He looked
slimmer and more proportioned than some of the younger children there. At play time, John’s
motor skills of running and balancing were present because of his evenly proportioned body
(Berger, 2014, pg. 168). He was able to run up the stairs on the jungle gym when a toddler would

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have a hard time staying up on their new-to-walking legs. John was also able to stay balanced on
the rickety bridge while the other kids were jumping up and down on it.
As I was deciding what child to observe, I picked John because of his fine motor skills.
After he received his lunch of a hamburger, chips, milk and a mix of corn and black beans, he
seemed to be playing with his food. I looked closer and he had taken his fork and knife and was
separating the corn and beans into two separate piles. It was interesting to me because he was
using his utensils and not his fingers like the other children were. This shows that his motor
skills are improving from the skills he had before as a toddler. The textbook says, “Mastery [of
motor skills] depends on maturation and practice,” (Berger, 2014, pg. 170). From John’s ability
to separate the corn and beans, it showed to me that he had plenty of practice with his fine motor
skills to accomplish this task. He has been building on the core motor skills he gained as a
toddler.
Another thing I noticed about John was his nutritional preferences. He gravitated towards
his beans and corn before his chips unlike the other children. “2- to 6-year-olds may be at greater
nutritional risk than children of any other age because they eat too much of the wrong foods,”
says our textbook, (Berger, 2014, pg. 168). John’s choice to eat his beans and corn is setting up
the habit of eating good foods and is lowering his risk of health problems in the future.
Cognitive Development
There were a few cognitive characteristics that I noticed with John. The first was the
principle of conservation. Our text book defines conservation as, “the notion that the amount of
something remains the same (is conserved) despite changes in its appearance,” (Berger, 2014, pg.
183). While John was heading up to the slide, a little girl was pouring rocks onto the end of the

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slide. When he saw what she was doing he rushed down and started sweeping the rocks off so he
could slide down. The little girl got upset and started crying and yelling at John. One of the
adults saw what was happening and rushed over to solve the problem. After the rocks were
wiped off of the slide, he would not go down the slide because he believed the rocks were still a
problem even though it was wiped away.
The second characteristic was animism. John had brought a stuffed panda bear with him
to the lunch and he took it everywhere with him. Animism is when the child believes “that
nonhuman animals have the same characteristics as the child,” (Berger, 2014, pg. 182). John
would talk to his panda the whole time as if he was alive. He would choose to play and interact
with his panda before he would with any of the children around him.
The third characteristic was egocentrism which is defined as “children’s tendency to think
about the world entirely from their own personal perspective,” (Berger, 2014, pg. 182). As John
was playing with his panda, another boy came up to him and was talking to John. As the
conversation went between the two boys John continued to talk to the other boy like he had a
stuffed panda of his own. The boy looked confused and didn’t know what John was talking about
because he didn’t have a stuffed panda. From the conversation, John thought that everyone had
pandas like he did, an act of egocentrism.
Social/Emotional Development
John’s emotional regulation, “the ability to control when and how emotions are
expressed,” was very well tamed, (Berger, 2014, pg. 206). When other children were crying or
getting angry, he was able to keep his emotions calm. He looked at the other children who were
having a hard time keeping their anger down as if he was wondering why they were doing what

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they were. One example was at lunch, when the kids were opening their milk cartons. As John
was opening his milk another boy, about John’s same age, sitting next to him was struggling to
open his milk. Instead of asking for help, the child got angry and pushed his milk carton to the
other side of the table. John looked at the boy confused, reached over, grabbed the milk and
opened it saying, “Let me open it.” When the boy saw that John had opened his milk, the boy got
angry and wouldn’t touch his milk even after it had been opened for him. John kept looking from
the boy to the milk as if he was confused why the child was letting his anger get the best of him.
Another social aspect I found interesting about John was that he was more comfortable
with associative play, when “children interact, sharing material, but their play is not reciprocal,”
(Berger, 2014, pg. 213). Because of John’s panda, he was content in playing around children but
only to share space and talk to the other children when needed. He would engage in his panda
more than he would any of the other children. If he did talk to another child, it was about his
panda and the other child would not understand his way of thinking. It was interesting to me that
John would want to play with a panda rather than other children. This takes us back to the
animism characteristic. John would play with his panda as if the panda knew how to respond and
play with John even though the panda just sat there with him.

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Works Cited
Berger, Kathleen Stassen. Invitation to the Lifespan: With Dsm5 Update. S.l.: Worth Pub, 2014.
Print.