Naturalistic studies of children are special for those who have an interest in understanding childhood development. Children grow up in a social world within complex networks of relationships with others. It is within these social networks that they learn and develop their power of understanding, ability to communicate, sense of self, adjustment and power of coping with stress and changes. We are able to study children in a situation that have real emotional significance to them. This situation helps them make rational decision and choices that help to develop their critical thinking and decision-making. This also helps to study the aggressiveness of a child.
In a naturalistic study that I conducted within a local pre-school, I came up with various behavioral observation portrayed by the children both boys and girls. In my observation activity, it was important to observe the children in various situations without any interference or knowledge they are being observed. The observation took me a week, as I wanted to come up with valid, accurate and reliable findings. Apart from observation, I used other methods such as video recording and remote audiovisual to enable me get the real situation, later combined my findings and wrote the following report.
During break time, which is normally at 1o AM, the children go the playing ground to play. Boys and girls generally tend to form different groups although a number join. There is a distinctive difference between the younger children of age four. Unlike the elder group, this group seems to interact freely between both genders. They play together in a more friendly were without form of discrimination.
The elder group tends to group themselves in terms of gender. Boys play aggressive games and mostly imitating games that are violent like wrestling and rugby. When provoked, there is a higher level of aggressiveness than in girls. Boys demonstrated a kind of hostility and could not accommodate girls in their games. On the other hand, girls are more humble and caring to their friends. Their games are more of humanity and caregiving. They accommodate young boys to take part in their games.
The children were showing levels of decision-making and leadership qualities. In every grouping, there was a leader who was giving directions on who to play what part and how. There was group decision-making where they all came together to decide who to lead or what game to play. However, children who assume these roles and squelched through criticism or control, they develop a sense of guilt. It demoralizes them, makes them feel like a nuisance and thus makes them lack self-initiative and remain a follower.
A closer observation at the children in their 6th year shows some elements of pride in their accomplishment. They demonstrated a higher ability to read and they could manage their initiated games to completion. They have pride in their achievements, which makes them more willing to come forward to take such roles.
Children development theories
According to Piaget and Erikson, they stated that children development is in a predetermined order. Instead the two psychologists did not focus on cognitive development; however, they were interested in how children socialize and its effects to their senses of self. There are eight distinct stages in Erikson theory of psychosocial development. The theory state that, successful completion of each stage ends up in a healthy personality and healthy interactions with others (Schuster, Reznick, Cave, Dignam, & Concept Media, 1992). Otherwise, if there is failure to complete a stage can leads to a reduction in ability to complete further stages hence leading to more unhealthy personality and sense of self. However, stages can be determined successfully at a later time.
Trust and mistrust; from birth to six years age, children begin to learn the aptitude to trust others based upon the consistency of their caregivers. If the environment treats the child nicely, trust develops successfully. This lead to development of child’s brain and gains confidence and security in the world around self. This makes children able to feel secure even when threatened. Failure of this successful completion of this stage leads to an inability to trust and therefore, sense of fear about the inconsistent world hence result in anxiety (Schuster, Reznick, Cave, Dignam, & Concept Media, 1992).
Autonomy, shame and doubt; this is applicable to 4 years, in this class children begin to assert their independence. They walk away from their caregivers to have a play with toys. They make their choices and likes for instance what to wear, eat, or game to play. If their increase impendence is supported, children become more confident and secure in their own way of surviving in the world. Criticized, overly controlled or less given the opportunity to assert in children make them feel inadequate in surviving. Therefore, they become overly dependent upon others, feel sense of shame or either doubt and lack self-esteem in their own abilities.
Initiative and guilty, around 4-6 years of age, in this age children assert themselves more frequently. In this stage children began to plan activities, make up games and initiate activities. If given opportunity, sense of initiative developed in children, which help them to feel secure in their ability to lead others and make decisions. This makes children to have control over criticism hence developing sense of overcoming guilty.
Industry and inferiority; this is the last stage that the children of 0-6 years’ experience. They began to gain the sense of pride in their accomplishments. They feel good of their achievements. During this stage, teachers play an increased role in the children’s development. If children are stimulated and reinforced for their creativity, they begin to feel hard-working and feel self-assured in their ability to achieve goals (Schuster, Reznick, Cave, Dignam, & Concept Media, 1992). Failure to this, children feel inferior, unbelieving their own capabilities and therefore they may not reach their potentials. The rest stages are applicable to 7 years to adult ages.
In conclusion, there are other theories that affect children development and learning, that is this influence their decisions of school readiness. Therefore some points must be put in consideration so that the life of every child is considered. For example Maturationist theory is a state every child is able to perform tasks in school and home (Schuster, Reznick, Cave, Dignam, & Concept Media, 1992). The second is the environmentalist theory states that child’s environment shapes learning and behavior of child. The third theory is constructive theory which is the state of coming up with productive ideas in learning and the way of surviving.
Yuli (2013). Naturalistic Observation. studymode, 4. Retrieved from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Naturalistic-Observation-39544048.html
Schuster, C. S., Reznick, J. S., Cave, K., Dignam, J., & Concept Media, inc. (1992). Human development, 2 1/2 to 6 years. Irvine, CA: Concept Media.