For this project I chose to observe my 5-year-old niece. When asked to draw a picture of a person, she illustrated this by drawing a large narrow triangle as the body (somewhat like an isosceles triangle), with semi-circular lines extending from the sides of the triangle for the arms, two L-shaped lines extending from the bottom of the triangle for the legs and then a small circle at the top point of the triangle for the head. For the purpose of this assignment, in regards to physical development I will discuss gross and fine motor skills, nutrition, and exercise. In regards to cognitive development I will discuss Piaget’s preoperational stage, language, and memory. In regards to social development, I will discuss peer relations, social play, and media/screen time. Lastly, in emotional development, I will discuss expression, comprehension, and regulation of emotions.
My niece is extremely active and demonstrates many hair-raising stunts just like Santrock states many kids will engage in at her age (2013). She enjoys many gross motor activities such as racing up the stairs and creating obstacles in the house where she crawls through tunnels, twirls around on spinning ottomans, tries to hula-hoop, and then finishes off by jumping off of the couch into a huge pile of pillows. Her fine motor skills were demonstrated eloquently while working on a task I created. I whole punched a piece of cardboard in various spots and drew a line to each hole and had her weave a shoelace through the holes. Her hand-eye coordination was exceptional, given minimal assistance. My niece consumes a very balanced diet due to my sister’s nutritional lifestyle and her body is in great shape as a result of this. Whenever I sleepover to watch her in the mornings, she is the first one up to remind me that it is time for breakfast, and this keen sense of meal time occurs throughout the entire day. Last week, I watched her for three days during the week and each day she was involved in a different activity. Monday was gymnastics, Wednesday was a dance class, and Thursday was swimming. Not to mention, on mornings that I engage in a yoga session, she is always there to attentively and enthusiastically follow the DVD with me.
With reference to Piaget’s preoperational stage, my niece displays the ability “to represent the world using words, images, and drawings” by engaging in every opportunity to reason with those around her and forming her own ideas of concepts that interest her (2013). Her father is fascinated with birding and as a result, she does not miss an opportunity to point out a bird and question him about what it is called and where she can find it in her bird book so she can color it in. She is definitely at the intuitive thought substage of preoperational thought due to using basic reasoning and always wanting to know answers to various questions. Her language capabilities are well developed in that she demonstrates clear pronunciation of words, is able to express complex and compound sentences, she uses correct grammar for the most part and has a good-sized vocabulary that continues to grow rapidly. I always notice her ability to initiate conversations and use of appropriate turn-taking skills when engaged in conversation. Her memory capabilities seem to be intact as well. I verbally instructed her to get a teddy bear from her bed, place it under the chair and then put her coloring book in a basket next to the tv. With this task she was able to demonstrate each step adequately and in order. In demonstrating long-term memory, I asked her if she remembered visiting me in 2011 when I lived in Michigan and she said no. However, she was able to recall to me in great detail about her trip to South Dakota with her grandparents to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.
My niece is extremely social and gets along quite well with anyone she comes in contact with.