Insights into Early Childhood Development: a Comprehensive Preschool Observation

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Anecdote On November 7, 2018, I observed Mrs. B’s TK class at Ekstrand Elementary School in San Dimas, California. In Mrs. B’s TK class, Michael, a Hispanic 4 year old boy sitting in the outside sandbox toward the left side of the kinder playground with another boy, Johnathan. Johnathan is also a Hispanic 4 year old boy. While Mrs. B was preparing and giving snack to the other 3 female and 2 male children on the outside picnic table, Michael hit Johnathan because he did not like that Johnathan took his shovel then hit him with his bucket.

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Johnathan told Michael “don’t hit me” and he hit Michael back with his shovel. Michael stuck his tongue out at Johnathan and the teacher told the boys to keep their hands to themselves, don’t make faces at each other, and say you’re sorry. After that, the boys proceeded to act like friends by digging in the sand together, filling their buckets with sand using the shovels while the teacher was giving snacks to the other children that were sitting at the picnic table. Interpretation This interaction between Michael and Johnathan is a great example of a typical preschool friendship. In preschool, friendships change frequently (Berk, L.E., & Meyers, 2016). In preschool relationships, children can quickly become friends, have a dispute, and then be friends again in the matter of minutes, Michael and Johnathan had walked out to the playground together talking and skipping and both jumping into the sandbox to play together, then they had a dispute over shovels, the teacher intervened, and then they were friends again.


Anecdote In Mrs. B’s TK classroom at Ekstrand School, after listening to a story about a scarecrow’s job guarding the corn crop during harvest time, students were cutting and glueing a scarecrow of their own. Holly is cutting out her scarecrow pieces getting ready to glue them together. Holly is a little girl 4 years old. She is sitting at the back rectangular table in the back of the classroom. During this time, there are about 6 other children her age and sitting in chairs next to her at the rectangular table. The aide who is assisting the students with their scarecrow art projects asks the students to tell her “what do scarecrows do during the Fall harvest?” The aide came over to Holly and asked her scarecrow what his favorite part of the story was. Holly told the aide that her scarecrow liked to “chase after birds and scare them away from the corn”. The aide told Holly that her scarecrow was doing a good job taking care of the harvest for the farmer. Interpretation

Holly’s display of sociodramatic play was with the aide. According to Berk and Meyers, sociodramatic play is essentially joint make-believe play (Berk, L.E., & Meyers, 2016). It is an advanced form of cooperative play and becomes common during preschool years (Berk L.E., & Meyers, 2016). By the aide being involved with Holly’s idea that her scarecrow has thoughts and feelings, the aide and Holly participated in sociodramatic play. If it was only Holly playing with and talking to her scarecrow, it would be an example of make-believe play because Holly would play in solitary.


Anecdote In Ms. B’s TK class at Ekstrand Elementary on November 7, 2018, April is dancing on the checkerboard carpet in the middle of the classroom. April is a Causausian girl 4 years old. The teacher plays a video from Youtube called “Heidi Songs” that teach children the alphabet with a rhyming song with movements to match. Her dancing consists of jumping, twisting, bending, and clapping. Her singing was loud as she knew most of the words and letters of the alphabet. Interpretation April shows her development of gross motor skills by imitating the movements to the video. Gross motor development consists of larger body parts such as arms, legs, feet, and body (torso). In preschool, children become more balanced on their feet and their arms and legs are free to move as they please (Berk, L.E., & Meyers, 2016). By April using the larger limbs of her body, such as her hands to clap and her feet to jump, she is portraying the ability to coordinate her body.


Anecdote In Ms. B’s TK classroom, Jose, a 4 year old Hispanic boy, was listening to Ms. B read The Hungry Catepilar. He was sitting on the checkerboard carpet in the back row next to the kidney table. Jose was rolling and laying down on the carpet then he crawled under the kidney table. The teacher stopped reading and asked him to come out from under the kidney table and to listen to the story. But Jose ignored her, moving deeper under the table, towards the underneath side of the teachers swivel chair. Mr. B asked him politely to come out from under the table, join the other students and listen to the story, he did not comply. After the story was over and the other students were sitting at the kidney table coloring their catepilars, Ms. B was able to coax Jose out from underneath the kidney table where the other children were coloring. She asked him “Why did you go underneath the table during storytime?” He looked down at the carpet and didn’t reply, he began to crawl under the table again. Ms.B asked him again to “come out and sit down and do his work like the other children or he won’t be able to have snack time because he will be doing his work then.


Jose experienced a struggle in emotional self- regulation. In early childhood, language helps children improve their ability to regulate their emotions and effort control is vital in managing emotions which can lead to inhibiting impulses and shifting attention (Berk, L.E., & Meyers, 2016). Jose was unable to focus his attention and when Ms. B asked what was wrong, he just looked down. Jose was unable to talk to Ms. B and tell her what was wrong, therefore, he was not able to manage his emotions or fix his behavior.


In Ms. B’s TK class at Ekstrand Elementary. Cynthia was standing behind the sorting table where several colored shapes had fallen on the floor. She is a Caucasion girl between ages 3 and 4. Ms. B was helping some of the other students finishing up their alphabet charts when she noticed there were leftover colored shapes underneath the sorting table where Cynthia was standing. When Ms. B. looked down at the floor and then looked back up at Cynthia. Cynthia saw her looking down at the shapes so she began picking up the stray colored shapes. She was looking at Ms. B the whole time and appeared to be making eye contact with her. Ms. B smiled and told Cynthia that she could be first in line for recess because she had chosen to clean up the center where the shapes had fallen without being asked. When Cynthia had put all the shapes back into the container she spun around and skipped over to the door to line up.


In my opinion, it seemed that Cynthia was trying to take initiative and make the teacher happy because she tried to please her by cleaning up her center without being asked. Cynthia seemed to take the initiative by following the class clean up rules and following the directions by putting things away, all while watching the teacher watching her. Erik Erikson’s stage of initiative versus guilt emphasized that some children have a sense of purposefulness and some children have a negative outcome of early childhood, which can lead to an overly strict superego (Berk, L.E., & Meyers, 2016). An overly stricken superego can cause children to feel an immense amount of guilt (Berk, L.E., & Meyers, 2016). Cynthia was expressing her sense of purposefulness to help the class and please the teacher.


In Ms. B’s TK class at Ekstrand Elementary school, the teacher was going over instructions for the clay art project as the children sat and listened from the checkerboard carpet. Troy, a Hispanic boy 4 years old, shouted out that he had been given some play dough from his cousin’s birthday party at the park the day before.


Egocentrism is the idea that failure to distinguish the symbolic viewpoints of others from one’s own (Berk, L.E., & Meyers, 2016). It was studied by Piaget through the preoperational stage. Piaget’s idea was that children often focus on their own viewpoint and that others think and feel the same way they do (Berk, L.E., & Meyers, 2016). Troy showed egocentrism because the teacher was in the middle of her instructions when he shouted out to the class something completely different than what they were talking about. He may have thought that clay and play dough were the same things, but it showed that Troy had put his own thoughts above what the others were doing in the classroom at that time. Resources Berk, L.E., & Meyers. (2016). Infants, children and adolescents (8th ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.

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Insights into Early Childhood Development: A Comprehensive Preschool Observation. (2019, Sep 20). Retrieved from