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Class: FHS-1500

Name: Josh Robinson


Assignment: Observation 3

Background information:
Childs age: 8 years old
Fictitious name: Brandon
Location: The Dinosaur Park at City Creek Mall
Brief Description: The Park is located near the food court at the City Creek Mall in downtown
Salt Lake City. The park itself contains about 10 different dinosaur structures that the kids are
to climb on, through, and under. The day I did my observation there were about 40 kids running
around in park area. The ages of all of the kids ranged from 1-12 years old.
Physical development:
The child I decided to observe was definitely on the older end of the children playing in
the park. This was obvious due to some of his physical characteristics. He was taller than most of
the kids, besides the few small handful of 10-12 year old kids. Physically he was not obese at all,
which leads me to think that he is very active at home. He was participating in active play the
entire time I was observing. Active play contributes to the following: Better overall health; less
obesity; appreciation of cooperation and fair play; improved problem solving abilities; respect
for teammates and opponents of many ethnicities and nationalities. (Berger, 2014, p 245)
The other physical characteristic that I observed that relates to what we have been
discussing in class was his gross motor skills. In particular one activity that Brandon kept
repeating was climbing down the back of the neck of one of the dinosaurs. What set this activity
apart was that the other younger children would sit and slide down, whereas Brandon would try
to slide down standing up, and did this with no problem.
Brandon also helped to organize and participated in playing tag with some of the other
children. The physical development that I recognized from observing this activity was mostly
running. The ages of group of children that participated in the game of tag were approximately 4
to 12 years old, with mostly kids that were 4-7. Brandon was definitely one of the older kids
playing this game. He was very quick and rarely was, it. As the book mentions, With each
passing year, children run faster and exercise longer. (Berger, 2014, p 244)

Cognitive Development:
During my observation of Brandon several things relating to his cognitive development
stood out. First, Brandon was able to understand classification. According to the text,
Classification is the organization of things into groups, according to some characteristics that
they share.( Berger, 2014, p 253) As I mentioned above, Brandon participated in organization of
playing tag. At first, he and the other children split into 2 groups- each group consisting of an
even mix of boys and girls and both groups consisting of an even mix of ages. By the time the
game was over, the groups no longer consisted and it was just every man for themselves. But
the ability to perform classification was present.
Brandons speed of thought was also evident during my observation. I observed that
some children would treat the game as almost a hide and seek and when they were found they
would scream and almost stand still. Whereas Brandon, if hiding, would react much quicker and
not just stand there waiting to be tagged. According to the text, reactions are quicker with
each passing year of childhood because increasing myelination and repeated sequences of action
reduce reaction time. (Berger, 2014, p 256) I found that somewhat interesting.
Something that I really didnt think about until I started writing about my observation
was Brandons ability to calculate (math). Brandon, along with the two older children, were able
to quickly count that there were a total of seven kids that wanted to play tag. They recognized to
have even teams they had to get 1 more child (again, not sure why they needed teams for tagmaybe a new game Im not aware of?). So, they got one more child so they could have two
teams of 4 kids. Like we discussed in class and as the text mentions, Concrete operational
thinking allows children to understand math operations. (Berger, 2014, p 253)
Social/Emotional Development:
Part of the reason I decided to focus on Brandon was because of his social development. I
would classify him as a child that showed pro-social behavior. As were learned in previous
chapters of the book, Pro-social behavior is extending helpfulness and kindness without any
obvious benefit to oneself. (Berger, 2014, p 226) As I mentioned above, Brandon was sliding
down the back of the neck of one of the dinosaurs and other children followed his lead. Not only
is he a trend setter, but he also decided to help the younger smaller children to safely make it
down. He did this to be helpful, without any benefit to himself.
I also observed that Brandon comes from a nuclear family. A nuclear family is defined by
the book as, a family that consists of a father, a mother, and their biological children under age
18. (Berger, 2014, p 294)I was able to observe this when Brandon would occasionally leave the
park to run to a table where his parents (or could have been aunt/uncle or other caretaker, but felt
like mom and dad) and take an occasional bite of food. He also had at least one younger sister
(about age 4.) Maybe that is why he was so helpful with the other children.

I did not observe and sort of bullying from Brandon. He was a very well-behaved child
that played easily with the other children. Like we discussed in class and read in the text,
Empathy becomes stronger in middle childhood because children are more aware of one
another. (Berger, 2014, p 309) I would say he is a popular child that comes from a good home
with little family trouble.

Reference

Berger, K. S. (2014). Invitation to the life span (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.