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Focused Preschool Observation

Part 1: Child History

The young child I observed was a four-year-old girl that I will refer to as

Child A. She has curly blonde hair, big brown eyes, and is quite slender.

Her dress is put together, clothes are clean, and her hair has been

fixed. She is about the same size as her other classmates. Child A is

very respectful and attentive to the teacher. She enjoys talking with

other students when there is free time. When she is talking, she uses a

lot of emotion like having wide eyes, making faces, and smiling.

Overall, Child A acts very happy and enjoys being with others. This

child comes from a middle class family with one baby brother. Both of

her parents usually work, but since her mother just had a child, she is

on maternity leave. Child A comes from a good home setting and has

parents who truly care about her.

Part 2: Description of Setting

This preschool observation took place at a licensed childcare center

called The Childrens Center of Holston Home. This center is rated

three stars and accepts children from ages six weeks to six years. I

observed Child A in one of the three preschool classes they have. The

room was very large, colorful, and had a lot of natural light. The

classroom was split up into specific areas such as a writing center, art

table, science center, fine-motor center, listening area, block center,

home center, reading area, and a dramatic play center. Each center

was labeled with words and pictures for the children to understand.

The classroom also had a small sink in the room and a connected

bathroom. All furniture is tailored to fit the needs and size of the

children. There is one main teacher who is in charge of the schedule

and two foster grandparent volunteers. Teacher A plans the schedule,

carries out activities, and is the one in charge. Volunteer A and

Volunteer B read stories to the students and helps clean up or set up.

When I arrived at 9 a.m., Teacher A was going over the days of the

week with the children while the two volunteers were setting the tables

up for snack. The teacher would have each student answer a question

about their address, phone number, or birthday before they could go

wash their hands and sit down at the table. The setting of this

preschool was very clean and it is evident the teachers and volunteers

work hard to create a safe, healthy, and fun environment for the


Focused Preschool Observation

Part 3: Focused Observation Questions and Developmental Checklist

Observers Name: Samantha King

Date(s) of Observation: 3/14 and 3/16

Name, gender and exact age of Infant: Child A, female, 4 years

Time observation(s) began: 9 a.m.

Time observation(s) ended: 10:30 a.m.

Setting: Childrens Center of Holston Home

1. Describe the gross and fine motor development of the

preschooler. What was the preschooler doing to demonstrate

this development? What did the teacher do to stimulate


Child A displayed gross motor skills by running around, walking up

steps, standing on one leg, and dancing to music. To stimulate

movement, Teacher A would play upbeat music in the morning and

encourage the children to wiggle around. Other than this example,

the teacher did not verbally stimulate movement. However, she let the

children go pick what centers they wanted to be in for the day and

each center encouraged movement of some sort. For example, Child A

picked to go to the housekeeping center, which was located upstairs in

a large playhouse. To get to this area, she had to walk up steps and

that stimulates movement. Child A displayed fine-motor skills by using

a spoon to eat, drawing, painting, and writing her name. The teacher

and volunteers really stimulated fine-motor development skills with

each child. When doing a craft, they would encourage each child to

paint own their own and write their own name on the back of the

2. Describe the symbolic play (pretend play) in which the child

engaged. What objects were used? Were other children


Child A would pretend to be a doctor and check other childrens

heartbeat, give them shots, and put bandages on them. She dressed

up in a white lab coat and used a stethoscope and bandages to use on

her patients. Child A had one other child who would pretend to be sick

or have a broken leg. After a while, they switched roles and Child A

would pretend that her head was hurting while Child B would wrap up

her patients head in bandages. Together, they were having a good time

playing the roles of a doctor and a patient.

3. Describe if this child chose to play with same sex children,

opposite sex children, or both sexes equally. Did the preschool

child engage in non-stereotyped play? Describe completely.

The first day I was observing, Child A only played with children of the

same sex. Together the girls played with a toy train set, which was not

stereotypical play. On the second day however, Child A went over to

one of her male and female classmates and started to work on a puzzle

with them. Half way through the puzzle, the other girl left and it was

just Child A and a male preschooler. This did not bother Child A since

she continued to play and work on the puzzle with him. Due to the way

she acted on the first day, I believe that if it was not for that one girl
playing with the boy, she would not have gone over there in the first

place. Child A mostly associates and socializes with children of the

same sex, but is not scared of the opposite sex.

4. What behaviors did the preschooler show that demonstrated

growing mental (cognitive) development? What did the teacher

do to stimulate these behaviors?

Child A demonstrated growing mental development by the way she

could identify numbers and letters of the alphabet. To stimulate mental

development, Volunteer B would show Child A alphabet and number

cards. The volunteer showed Child A one card with the number sixteen

on it. When asked what number it was, she correctly identified it and

said sixteen clearly. Another way the preschooler showed growing

mental development was when they played a game called touch your

_____. In this game, the teacher would ask the students to touch

various parts of their body such as the jaw, heel, wrist, knee, and

ankle. Child A correctly pointed to each body part when asked. The

teacher would even challenge the students by asking them to touch

their sole. Child A did not know where it was and neither did any

other student. The teacher then furthered their knowledge by

explaining where it is and why it is called that.

5. Describe any teacher actions that support language and

literacy development.

One teacher action that supported language and literacy development

was when she did calendar time with the students. During this time,

she would ask students to sound out Wednesday and ask what letter

it started with. The class also has one letter of the alphabet they focus

on for one week. The week I observed, the letter was V. The teachers

and volunteers would give words that start with V and ask the students

to repeat them. One child raised their hand and stated, V sounds a lot

like B! From there, the teacher explained the difference in sounds of B

and V.

6. What behaviors did the child exhibit that showed their

developmental level according to Eriksons stages of

development? How did the child show initiative?

According to Erik Eriksons stages of development, Child A falls into the

stage of initiative versus guilt. I could tell by her actions and words that

Child A was in this stage. For example, she would show initiative by

directing play and interacting socially. The preschooler would often

assert her power and control of herself to explore around the room,

playing with toys, and just testing what she is capable of. When she did

something good, such as when she put together a train track, her

confidence in herself and her abilities were heightened. However, when

she did something that was not pleasing, like when the teacher pointed

her out to stop talking, she would experience guilt.

Developmental Milestones Checklist

Preschool: Four Years
Dates of Observation: 3/14 and 3/16
Age (in years and months): 4 years and 11 months
List one example for items checked Yes or Emerging
Physical/Motor Development
Task Yes No Emerging Example
Dresses with She took off
little assistance her sweatshirt
by herself;
changed her
shirt herself
when she spilt
milk on it.
Throws ball Did not
overhand with observe.
more accuracy
and distance
Runs with ease Ran around
and stops room playing
quickly tag and
stopped before
she hit the
Pedals and Did not
steers observe.
preschool sized
three wheelers
with ease
Uses scissors Did not
May use slang She said,
(dude, out of Thats
this world, awesome!
awesome) when her
friend showed
her new
Copies, cuts, Painted a
pastes, and picture of peas
paints with in a pod for a
paintbrush lesson activity.
Writes own She wrote her
name first and last
name on the
back of her

Shows interest Was climbing

in developing on a small
large muscles jungle gym
(climb, jump, that is inside
hop, catch, the classroom.
Cognitive Development
Task Yes No Emerging Example
Begins to When asked
reason what she
thought it felt
like outside,
she said hot.
The teacher
asked why she
thought that
and she
because the
sun is out.
Engages in Did not
more observe.
developed play
Understands Understands
simple that violet is
concepts: age, purple and that
size, weight, peas are
shape, color round.
Begins to sort When asked
or categorize where
come from,
she stated
from a garden.
Puts things in During
sequence or calendar time,
order she counted up
to see that the
next day would
be Tuesday.
Notices The teacher
patterns sang a song
about growing
The whole first
verse was We
are going to
plant the
seeds. The
next verse was
We are going
to water the
seeds. She
figured out the
pattern of the
song and
continued to
Counts objects She counted
out loud how many
students were
in the center
with her.
Is interested in She would get
the alphabet excited when
the teacher
would ask her
what letter the
word Violin
started with.
Is developing Interested in
early literacy drawing and
(enjoys books, looking at
scribbling, and books. She
drawing) would look
through books
several times
during the day.
Identifies Child A and
colors another child
were both
wearing a blue
shirt. When
they were
together, Child
A said, Hey!
We are
wearing the
same color!
Language Development
Task Yes No Emerging Example
Speaks in 7-10 Asked one of
word her friends,
sentences Do you want
to see my
Sings more Sang the days
complicated of the week
songs: enjoys song with hand
finger plays motions.
and rhymes
Spells name Teacher made
her spell her
name before
she could go
sit down for
Uses Would
appropriate sometimes say
speech aint in her
Refers to On Monday,
yesterday and the teacher
tomorrow asked Child A
correctly what tomorrow
was and she
Knows first and The teacher
last name had all
with their full
name when I
first arrived.
Child A said
her first and
last name
clearly and
Pronounces When trying to
words and pronounce the
sounds word green
correctly (may she says,
continue to gween.
have trouble
with sounds
such as r,
th, f, and
Uses pronouns She went up to
in sentences one volunteer
and said,
Child B is my
best friend!
Social/Emotional Development
Task Yes No Emerging Example
Is becoming Child A would
more clean up her
responsible mess after she
was done
Engages in When playing
primarily with the train
associative set, another
play child came
along and
together but
was still
Has an Sat and
increasing listened to the
attention span lesson of the
day without
disruptive or
getting up.
Understands She sat and
boyness and played mostly
girlness with girls when
she had the
Engages in She took a turn
turn taking and playing the
waiting role of doctor
and patient
with another
child, but got
when she was
not the doctor.
Is developing Child A stayed
friendships around two
other girls
Role-plays Played the role
of a doctor and
a patient with
another child.
Uses words to When there
solve problems were one too
many people
at the dramatic
play center,
she advised
the other child
to go play with
someone else.
Shows fear Did not
Is becoming One of the
aware of boys said he
sexuality liked her and
she smiled.
May use When another
kiddie child took a
profanity train from her,
(phrase such a she said You
poo-poo head) meanie!
Part 4: Focused Reflection

The following is a reflection concerning what I have learned

about the development of a preschooler between the ages of three and

five. The preschooler I observed was a four-year-old girl who I referred

to as Child A. According to Eriksons psychological stages, the age of

Child A places her in the stage of initiative versus guilt. From my

observation of Child A and her behaviors and interactions with the

teacher and other children, I can say this preschooler has and is

continuing to develop more initiative. This was concluded by watching

Child A start conversations with adults and students and directing her

own play. When she would succeed in creating something, she gained

confidence in herself and her abilities. Since she has gained confidence

from previous successes, she will continue to try new things on her

own which will boost her initiative even more. The gain of initiative in

Child As life will help develop her into who she is, and what she is

capable of.

This preschooler is in the preoperational stage of cognitive

development according to Piagets explanation of this stage and from

my own personal observation of this preschooler. From ages two to

seven, children in this stage are likely to be egocentric, engage in

pretend play, and will not reason logically. I saw all these

characteristics and behaviors in Child A when observing her. One of the

first actions I observed from her showed me two things that lead me to
believe she was in this stage. When Child A and another child was in

the dramatic play center, they started to play doctor. Child A put on a

lab coat and became the doctor while the other child was the patient

and would pretend to be sick or hurt. When it came time for Child A to

switch roles and become the patient, she did not like it. Child A

acknowledged that the doctor was the better role and wanted it all to

herself. This action and behavior showed me that she is somewhat

egocentric and engages in pretend play. Another way she pointed me

to her cognitive stage was when she was asked by the teacher to look

outside and guess what it feels like. Since Child A saw the sun out, she

reasoned that it was hot outside. Even though she was on the right

track, the sun can still be out on a very cold day.

From this observation, I have learned about the physical,

cognitive, and emotional/social behaviors and activities that a typical

four-year-old will show. I also got to learn how teachers encourage

development in language and literacy. Even though preschoolers are

interested in learning more about the world and doing things on their

own, they still need to be encouraged by teachers to try new activities.

This leads me to say that I suggest the teacher to encourage more

gross motor skills since she did not do it verbally. She could play a

game with the whole class that would promote gross motor

development and still make it fun for the children. Another suggestion I

have for the teacher would be to leave the things that upset you out of
the classroom. On the second day of my observation, the teacher

seemed to be upset. Due to her feeling this way, she came off as

annoyed to the students and there was a huge difference in their

behavior from the first day to the second. I understand that everyone

has a rough day, but it is important to realize that preschoolers will

model what their leader does and they acted out of control that day.

The last suggestion I have would be that if you are going to give out

treats for correct answers, make it a healthier option. When the

children are in circle time about to have snack, the teacher or

volunteer will ask them a question before they can go sit down at the

table. If they get the question right, they get a few M&MS and then go

to snack. Personally, I am not a fan of giving treats. I think it teaches

kids that you should only be good to get something, not be good

because it is expected and is the right thing to do. However, if they

chose to keep giving out treats, I would make it something like a

couple of fruit snacks. I feel like this was a good experience for me in

my future career as a day care teacher. I will take what I have learned

and apply it to my practice to the best of my abilities.