Play is John’s Work
December 1, 2007
Assignment 2: Preschool Years
Play is John’s Work
Child’s Name: John* Age: 4 years 7 months Site: Sandy Hill Nursery School
*I do not believe in using a child’s real name for observation essays. Although I may get marked down for this, I stand firm in my belief that it is not necessary to use a child’s real name. Everything in this essay is based upon my observation of a single male child who is 4 years and 7 months old, but John is not his real name.
Sandy Hill Nursery School in Solana Beach is very much in line with Jean Piaget’s and Lev Vygotsky’s child-centered approach and that children actively try to understand ...view middle of the document...
At the end, I will tell you whether or not this child-centered preschool is a good fit for him.
John has very age-appropriate motor skills. While outside on the playground, John’s gross motor skills were easily observed. He was running back and forth carrying buckets of water from the water fountain to a “ski slope” that he and two other children were building. John was not nervous in his movements or hesitant at all. He ran with confidence and did not worry about tripping over anything. Berger notes that “most North American 5-year-olds….[can do] activities that demand balance as well as coordination” (Berger, 234). John was doing an activity that required balance and coordination. He had to balance the bucket of water upright while running so he would not spill the water before he got back to his “ski slope.” This gross motor skill also involved hand-eye coordination. When the water was brought back to the “ski slope,” John would dump it in the same spot every time. He did not simply throw the water all over. It seemed very precise and accurate each time.
John’s fine motor skills also seem to be developing on track. John was one of the children who decided to participate in the art project of the day. As I mentioned earlier, the art project consisted of painting with a paintbrush onto a leaf. “Many fine motor skills involve two hands and thus two sides of the brain” (Berger, 235). John had to hold the leaf with his left hand to keep it steady and in place while he held the paintbrush with his right had. Although he was not using single direction, even strokes, John was still able to keep the paint on the leaf and not paint onto the table. With time, I presume that his fine motor skills will develop more and he will use the even strokes with the paintbrush.
The type of play that John most participated in was cooperative play. Mildren Parten described cooperative play as when “children play together creating and elaborating a joint activity or taking turns” (Berger, 296). This is exactly how John played. He was not the only child creating the “ski slope” out on the playground. He was working with two other children, and they were all playing together. John and the other two boys were very comfortable with each other. John also showed prosocial behavior when one of the boys fell while carrying a bucket of water. John went over to the boy, helped him up, and got more water. Prosocial behavior involves “being helpful and kind without gaining any obvious benefit” (Berger, 293). This is exactly what John did when he helped the other boy up.
During his cooperative play outside, John did act as a leader some of the time. He was never mean or bossy. But when one of the two boys he was playing with dumped water in the wrong area, John asked him not to do that. He then showed him where the water should be and how the sand should be arranged to build the “ski slope.”
John was an onlooker...