Child Growth and Development
17 February 2010
When I first entered the room, I saw twelve toddlers playing with each other or with toys. I am going to call the little girl I observed ???A.??? She is almost a year old and A has a head full of beautiful blond hair and blue eyes. She cannot talk very good, but she does communicate better than the other children in the room. A has no physical limitations. A is very bright and a very happy baby. A does not like it when the other children cry, it looks like she gets uncomfortable around them, and she usually moves to the other side of the room to get away from them. A loves to laugh and play with the caregivers in the room. I think, A loves attention.
When I first arrived at The Learning Center, a child care facility, I noticed that the doors were locked and would not open without a code to the box on the door. I had to go to the main building to get someone to walk me over and open the door for me. I really did like the security that The Learning Center had, it would make me feel secure if I had a child there, and so I know that it put the parents at ease when leaving their own children there. The rooms at The Learning Center were small, but comfortable for the children. The room had twelve little baby cribs arranged around the perimeter of the room, and in the middle of the room there was some toys that the children were acceptable to play with. There were two weird shaped tables to the side of the room and they had six round holes on the top of each table, which later I found out that they put little chairs down in the holes, so that the children could set in the chairs in the table for them to eat lunch, which was cool. There were twelve infants in this classroom, and there were two female caregivers. One woman came forward and introduced herself as Jennifer Russell, the other was playing with one of the children and her name was Lauren Hahn. There was no television or music playing for the children, only the interaction with the caregivers.
I observed twelve infants on the floor playing with toys; one of the boys was at the door banging on it with a play phone and the rest of the children were around the room playing with either each other or playing with the toys. It was play time for the children. The infants were playing with a variety of toys such as: blocks, foam books, a Fischer Price Tonka truck, pots and pans, and different sized stuffed animals that had materials inside to make them squeak. I observed one little girl that I will call A. She is almost a year old. She was a little more aggressive than the other children. I observed her hit another little girl in the head with a toy block and made the little girl cry. Lauren, one of the caregivers asked her if she hit the other little girl and A did not respond. Lauren went over to A and took the toy away from her, which she did not like and started to cry herself. Lauren went over and picked her up and told her to apologize to the other little girl and I think she tried to say sorry, but I really could not make out what she really said. Lauren then sat down with A to play with her and then A started to point at Laurens face and identify the parts of her face. A was trying to say nose, eye, and mouth. A seemed very happy; she laughed and smiled all the time. A really loved to try to talk and be talked to. A did share her toys with the other children, but she did not like for them to take a toy away from her. A was more independent then most of the children in the room. Lauren told me that she was an only child and that her mom was in her forties and her dad was in his fifties, so this maybe way she is more independent then the other children her age. A would crawl and walk around the room to get to a different toy or play with the other children. When it was time to put up the toys, Lauren asked A to pick up the toys around her and put them on the carpet and she did as she was told, I was very impressed that she did it.
Now, it is time for the children to get ready for lunch. All the children were excited about getting to eat lunch. Lauren and Jennifer went to get the little chairs in the corner of the room and put them in the holes in the two round tables. Each table will hold six children and it has a cut out in the front of the table for one of the caregivers to push a chair up to watch and help the children if needed be. All but two children got their own plates; the other two were feed by the caregivers, and the rest ate with their hands, or with the spoon they were provided with. A feed herself very good, she used her fingers most of the time, but they did give her a spoon to eat with if she wanted to. A loved her pineapples and ate them all quickly, and then tried to steal the pineapples off the other children plates that were beside her. Lauren tried to stop her several times, but A would try to get the pineapples when Lauren was not looking. After they all ate their food , Lauren and Jennifer started to clean up their messes they made, and while they were cleaning up, I thought all the children were saying ??? Meow,??? but they were all saying ???Milk.??? Lauren and Jennifer gave them something to drink when everything was cleaned up. Jennifer told me that they do not give them something to drink while there are eating because they would not eat their food and all they would do is drink their milk. During this time A was holding a sippy cup up to the little girl mouth that was beside her. Lauren told her that the other little girl could hold her own sippy cup up to her mouth all by herself, but A kept doing it anyway.
After lunch time, the children were put in their baby beds for a nap. Some of the children were asleep before they even left the table. This did take Lauren and Jennifer about thirty to forty minutes to accomplish, so there was a lot of unhappy children in between this time. Some of the children just sat there and were very well behaved and waited for their time to be put in their cribs, but some of the other children just sat there and cried persistently until it was their turn, even though they knew they would get their turn eventually, but that did not stop them from crying. A just sat there and waited for her turn to be picked up and put in her crib and never cried like some of the other children did. Soon, A was taken out of her chair and put in her baby bed with her pink blanket and then was given a sippy cup with milk in it, to help her go to sleep. A played in the crib for a while, then she laid down in the crib and went to sleep. A slept for about one hour. While the children were asleep the caregivers ate their own lunch.
It is amazing how children the same age develop differently. Just like with A, I wonder if she acts older than the other children because her parents are older and since she is an only child. Lauren and Jennifer have been doing this for a long time and it shows. Jennifer was telling me how much she has learned throughout her years as a caregiver. Jennifer not only has learned how differently children grow and develop, but also has learned how important it is for the children to have interactions with a caring adult. Children that are enrolled in day care are with their caregivers all day, and the caregivers need to be knowledgeable about child development, like how to set suitable events for the progress of the child??™s development. Caregivers need to be patience and have an encouraging altitude when dealing with a child??™s development. The more knowledgeable the caregiver is about how a child develops, the better they are equipped to deal with the progress of the child. Child development is a never ending learning experience. We can always learn something new on how to better deal with children and help them learn and grow.