Jaclyn Lerman SPED 414 10-11-12 Environmental Analysis Assignment Section I Jared1 is four years old and in LeVette Harmon’s

pre-kindergarten classroom at Champaign Early Childhood Center (CECC). He was born on July 30, 2008. Last year, he attended Washington Early Childhood Center in Urbana. He has blue eyes, blond hair, and a contagious smile. Jared’s day begins at 6:30 am when he wakes up and goes to school at the CECC. Every afternoon, he is bused to a nearby day care where he has lunch, takes a nap, and plays until his mother picks him up around 5 pm. He then goes home and has dinner. After dinner, Jared plays with his father until bedtime at 8 pm. Jared is a curious child; he likes to explore the world around him. He enjoys running around and climbing on furniture. He has a great deal of energy and needs various ways to release that energy in safe, productive ways. For example, Jared’s father told me that Jared is excited to be starting basketball classes in a couple of weeks. Jared also enjoys playing with vehicles: toy cars, trucks, and trains. He can spend about 20 minutes or so of center time driving cars around a track that he built on his own before moving on to another activity. Jared is impulsive and has a short attention span. His father describes him as a fiery and energetic child as well as a rough and tumble boy. When he concentrates and gets to work, Jared can be productive and joyful to work with. However, when sudden change occurs or when he does not receive a desired object, he gets frustrated and has mild to strong emotional outbursts. These outbursts range from just screaming and running around to kicking and hitting other children. Oftentimes, Jared will pull the hair or
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clothes of another child (who has or takes away a desired object). He also will destroy whatever objects are in reach. For example, the other day he knocked down a divider separating the dramatic play area from the rest of the room. Jared’s outbursts result in his crying and being sent to the bathroom (the classroom’s “break room”) to gather his emotions. Jared’s parents’, Jeffery and Ann, main goal is for him to be ready for kindergarten next year. The couple wants him to learn how to control his emotions and his sensitivity to sudden change; they want him to learn how to talk about his feelings instead of demonstrating challenging and destructive behavior. Jared seeks out adult attention more than he seeks out his peers’ attention. His parents want him to be able to make and maintain friendships, as well. Also, Jeffery wants Jared to know that Jared has full support from his parents. Jared’s IEP contains speech-related goals as well as a socio-emotional goal. One goal is that he will produce “age appropriate sounds in 2-3 syllable words with no cueing with 90% accuracy.” He will be able to produce a variety of sounds all by himself. Another goal is that “he will identify the feelings happy, mad, and sad when given pictures of people 4 out of the 5 sessions.” In other words, Jared will be able to identify different emotions when shown pictures. He will also practice telling a teacher when he is frustrated with peers. I personally have also noticed Jared verbally asking for help instead of displaying challenging behavior, such as screaming or running around the room. He is also beginning to recognize when he needs a break from a situation and will go to the bathroom to in order put his thoughts together. Section II An environmental analysis is important for Jared because oftentimes, something or someone in the environment triggers an emotional and physical response. Figuring out and avoiding situations that cause his emotional outbursts are important not only for his growth,

development, and safety, but also for the growth, development, and safety of the other children and adults in the room. I chose to use the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) because I thought many of the categories and indicators applied to Jared. For example, Jared has difficulties in peer interactions and staff-child interactions. He also has difficulty with his communication skills. After looking through some of the items on the ECERS-R, I thought that the tool would be helpful in assessing how Jared’s environment affects his actions. For example, items 16-18 are about communication and language use in the classroom. The questions asked in these items would be helpful in guiding me through the strengths and weaknesses of the environment itself and how the environment relates to Jared. Section III A The ECERS-R, or Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) is used to measure the quality of an early childhood educational environment. Three factors go into quality early childhood programs: safety, the presence or building of positive relationships, and multiple opportunities for learning. The tool is also used to help programs design effective environments for all children, including children with disabilities and children from diverse backgrounds. The ECERS-R consists of seven broad subscales with sets of questions related to various topics. These topics range from the furnishings and materials available in the classroom to the interactions between parents and staff. Each section, or subscale, contains items regarding areas such indoor space, gross motor equipment, and children’s use of language. There are 43 items and each has numerous Yes/No questions that guide the environmental assessment. For example, under the Language-Reasoning subscale, there exists an item containing questions

about children’s use of language to develop reasoning skills. The assessor would read each item in the manual and then check “yes” or “no” on the score sheet, depending on the answer. Each item contains a quality rating, but this assignment did not require the use of this rating. This particular observation was completed over a 30-minute period during center time. Prior to the observation, I read each subscale and determined which areas I wanted to observe. Much of the Space and Furnishing subscale was done without Jared present in the classroom because these questions were answerable without his presence; I was able to locate the materials requested in the items by just looking around the classroom. For all of the questions answered, I went and checked off each area as I saw (or did not see) them occur (or not occur). Section III B The majority of data collected during my observation with Jared present was related to his interactions with peers and adults, as well as his use of language. There was also some data related to the physical environment and materials in the environment. Generally speaking, the classroom is a colorful, happy place. The walls have a combination of children’s work and commercial posters displayed. The materials and furniture are in good condition. The materials are easily accessible for all children. Furthermore, there is adequate play space and clearly defined centers. However, one important physical environmental feature that the classroom lacks is space for privacy. There is no space set aside for children to play in pairs or completely alone. For children like Jared, having a private space that is not the bathroom might be helpful because he could go to that space and calm down by himself; there would be no interruptions from other children having to use the bathroom. Furthermore, the bathroom cannot be supervised, so the

teachers cannot see whether or not Jared is actually calming down or if he is just playing with the sink. I chose peer and adult interactions items, as well as language items, because these are my areas of concern for Jared. During the observation, I found that the materials provided encouraged to Jared to verbally communicate with others as he played. He played in the block/carpet area with a couple of other children. Blocks, cars, and other carpet toys are social toys in that they can allow for children to work together and carry on conversations about their work. Even though Jared chose to play by himself for much of the time, there were opportunities to converse and communicate with other nearby children. Throughout my observation, Jared was allowed to move freely about the room so that he could play with whomever he wanted and at whatever center he wanted. All of the children are able to decide for themselves where they want to go during center time. Jared’s decisions as to where to go were based on activity, not peers present at the activity. He chose on his own to go to the block/carpet center. This freedom caused some problems because if he was told that a center was too full, he began to show signs of frustration. Jared’s interactions with other children can either be beneficial for both children involved, just Jared, or neither child. Jared thinks everything is his: “That’s mine” can be heard throughout the day. Many times his interactions with peers are not as positive as they could be because he often takes objects out of others’ hands. If the other child fights back, Jared also fights back by pulling hair or hitting or kicking. Twice during the observation I saw Jared grab a car out of another child’s hands. He was not interacting with the other children until he grabbed his desired object. The other child was briefly upset, but then continued playing with another toy. Jared is an only child, so perhaps this “mine” dilemma is due to the fact that he does not

have to share toys with anybody at home. However, he has been going to school and daycare, two places where sharing is a must. Jared demonstrates impulsivity when he becomes so excited about a particular toy that when he gets it in his mind that he wants to use that toy, he must have it right away. He will do anything in order to get that toy, whether or not he hurts someone in the process. Story time is another challenge for Jared. He does have a camp chair that he uses in order to help him sit still. Lately, however, he has been abusing this chair by leaning too far back and falling into other children’s laps. He also has a compression vest that helps him to feel calm and secure. While these materials are helpful, Jared is also learning that he can push buttons with them; he knows that he is acting out. One of the problems might be that during story time, especially when I lead, the expectations of the activity are not clear enough. If the expectations were made clearer, maybe then he would have an easier time sitting still and paying attention to the story or whatever activity is at hand. Distractions also need to be taken away in order for him to be productive. Section III C: see attached Section IV Many modifications and recommendations could be made to the environment in order to best suit Jared’s needs. One modification is related to discipline: having multiple objects that are exactly the same at the block/carpet area in order to avoid conflict and age-appropriate interaction. In having many of the exact same objects, Jared could see that if he already has a particular object, then he does not need to take the same object away from another child. This modification would also benefit other children because they, too, could avoid conflict by having multiple, identical objects.

Another recommendation would be to have a series of social stories made up for Jared that walk him through various peer situations. One story could be about how to ask a peer for a toy (instead of just grabbing the toy from the other child’s hands). Another story could be about how to say sorry to a peer for hurting him or her. This story could include the classroom teacher’s “format” for saying sorry: offender says, “Sorry for___.” The victim says, “That hurt. I don’t like it when you____.” Offender: “I’m working on making good choices with my (hands, feet, etc).” All of the social stories could be from Jared’s point of view. Using the stories, Jared can role-play with a teacher positive ways that he can interact with his peers and other adults. Other children could also benefit from the stories because they, too, can benefit from having models of positive behavior. A recommendation would be to continue encouraging Jared to discuss how he is feeling and why he feels a certain way. This could be done through questioning him, asking questions such as “What makes you feel frustrated?” Perhaps if he is unable express himself through words during any given moment, he could retrieve a clipboard and a marker and find a chair to sit down and draw out his feelings. Even though he does not yet know how to write in words how he is feeling, he can still find ways to express himself without talking. I have observed Jared retrieving a clipboard and marker during arrival and after snack, so this recommendation could work because he receives satisfaction from drawing. Furthermore, having a drawing journal of some sort for Jared, and other children too, will free up the bathroom for those children who do need to use the bathroom. A time limit might be used in order to keep children from spending vast amounts of time with their feelings clipboards; Jared would get two minutes to draw out his feelings and then he must discuss his drawing with a teacher and then put

the clipboard away. Given time and questioning, hopefully he will be able to talk out his feelings instead of using physical aggression to communicate his needs.