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Observe an individual child and see what stage they are at in their emotional and social development.

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Introduction The aim of this child study is to observe an individual child and see what stage they are at in their emotional and social development. To carry this study out I shall observe a particular child through a period of time. I am going to look at friendship, gender, play, moral development and self and identity of the child and also find out the child's individual character. To assess these aspects I will study the child by asking him/her questions, carrying out activities and observing the child interacting with other children through play. I have chosen to observe a girl called Maria. She is five years of age. Maria lives with her mum, dad, older brother and two older sisters. Maria attends St Gregory's catholic primary school and is currently in reception class. Maria's ethnic background is Pakistani and she can speak two languages, which are English and Urdu. 1st Visit Aim 1: to find out the character of Maria and what are her interests 1) What do you like to do? 2) What games do you like to play? 3) What are your favourite TV programmes? 4) What is your favourite book? 5) What is your favourite colour? From asking Maria the questions above, I found out quite a lot of information about her; Maria likes to draw, paint, colour, play with her dolls (Barbie's), play games with her sisters such as snakes-and-ladders, ludo and hide-and-seek. Regarding TV programmes, Maria's favourites are 'The Tweenies' and 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch', Maria gave her reason: "because I enjoy what happens in them". Her favourite channel to watch is the Nickelodeon channel. Maria also enjoys being read to by her mum and at the moment her favourite book is 'Alice in Wonderland'. Maria's favourite colour is Pink. During this visit, I also played one of Maria's favourite games, snakes-and-ladders with her and two of the people she most enjoys playing against her sisters aged 11 and 12. ...read more.


Today was one of Maria's elder sister's birthday party, so I took this opportunity to observe her interacting with other children at the party. Maria seemed especially playful with another girl, her friend and next-door-neighbour and two other boys who were her cousins, at the party. Both her cousins and her friend were of the same age as Maria, so this was an advantage for me, as I'd been given the chance to compare her with other children of her age. Maria was very extrovert with her friend and both her cousins. She even introduced them all to me, which I found very pleasing. I also found Maria to be a little bossy towards her cousins at times; one of the boys brought over a play-till to Maria and gestured to start playing with it. Maria immediately demanded the boy to put it back and claimed that this was not the right time to play the game. "No you can't play with that; I'm going to play with my dolls now." Maria wanted to be in charge. Although Maria was acting in an officious manner towards the boys, she was quite the opposite towards her friend. Maria was doing her utmost to making her friend feel looked after and shared all her toys with her calling her friend over every time she was to move to another part of the room. She was playing a game, called 'house house'. She had used her living room as her 'house' and made different parts of the room different rooms in her 'house' shifting from one part of the room to the other as if she was entering different rooms of her 'house'. Maria did not let her cousins mess around with certain toys, such as the Barbie doll and doll's house, whereas she didn't mind what her friend picked up or played with. When one of Maria's cousins went over and reached over to pick up the Barbie doll, she shouted, "You can't play with Barbie, you are a boy!" ...read more.


I knew she wanted to be admired and I gave her a lot of encouragement. Also, at the party, when Maria took the chance to show her talent of singing and dancing, I noticed that the more she got praised, the more confident she became as she received this encouragement. After observing Maria at the party, I was able to conclude that Maria was a bright and confident child. Friendships often have a momentary quality, although some friendships may be 'quite stable, especially if children have known each other for a long time' (Pica, 1997). When I asked Maria about her friends, she seemed to show a lot of interest when answering my set questions. Maria described a friend to be someone who is "kind to you, hangs around with you and they play with you." A study done by Ladd et al (1996), shows the importance of friendship quality. They found five year olds, all of who had a reciprocated and stable 'best friend' in their classroom. Maria also has a best friend called Anisa, when asking her why she chose Anisa as her best friend, Maria's reply was very interesting, and not what I would have expected to hear from a five year old. She claimed, "She is a Pakistani like me; we have the same hair too, and she hangs around with me sometimes and is kind to me." I then asked her, " How is she Pakistani like you?" Maria answered, "She has the same hair like me... we have the same colour skin and she speaks the same as me and we eat the same food." As a child grows up, he or she will become aware that people differ by ethnic origin. By the age of four or five years, children seem able to make basic discriminations for example between black and white. I found Maria to be a little above this stage, as she identified why they are alike. ...read more.

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