Human Development Paper Grading Criteria
A. Completeness (80% = 32 Points)
1. 2+ page single spaced essay (4 Points)
2. Three sections each with the title centered and bolded above it: (3 Points)
3. Connection of notes with physical, cognitive, and social/personality development information from textbook including analysis on whether the subject’s behavior is typical or atypical within the domains. (10 Points)
4. At least six (2 for physical, 2 for cognitive, 2 for social/personality development) relevant quotes or citations from the textbook (Follow these with Feldman and the page number: (Feldman, 203). Please bold, underline, and/or WRITE IN ALL CAPS for your quotes or citations. (12 Points)
5. Addresses how cultural values, beliefs, behaviors may have affected
development (3 Points)
B. Written Language Conventions (20% = 8 Points)
1. Correct English spelling and grammar, use of paragraphs, etc
Preschool/Early Childhood Paper
I observed my cousin, Michelle, on Memorial Day, two days before her sixth birthday. She will be the focal point of this paper. When I went to observe her my aunt and uncle were having a get together with friends, so there were many additional children present: Michelle’s brother Ian (7), her sister Layla (8), and her brother Nate (10), there was also Michelle’s cousins Thomas (9) and Ginger (7), family friends from church, Gracie (3) and her brother Bryce (7), and Kayla (7). In this environment the children were fairly unmonitored and behaving extremely naturally. Because they were surrounded by those they knew well, they were at ease and very genuine. Living just fifteen minutes away from her and having a very close extended family, I have watched Michelle grow and develop over the last six years. These type of celebrations with extended family and friends are typical of Michelle’s culture. From day one she has been spirited and active, yet sweet and intelligent. These qualities have stayed with her over the years. Michelle is an avid gymnast and dancer on top of playing soccer and baseball. Each of the sections will begin with my observations made within the first moment of walking into the backyard.
When I first walked into the backyard Michelle’s physical abilities were made evident by her skill in swimming, one that she has had for many years now (she was doing backflips into the deep end of the pool as a toddler). Although at the time she was in a large, blow up, floating pretzel-raft, the moment she noticed me she dove under the water and swam to where I was on the other side of the pool to say hello. Soon after I had arrived, the girls all took off to the trampoline where Michelle launched into flips and aerial cartwheels. As was mentioned in the opening of this paper, Michelle is in many sports, including gymnastics. “Five-year-olds can learn to ride bikes, climb ladders, and ski downhill—activities that all require considerable coordination” (Feldman, 216). However coordinated and skilled physically five-year-olds are typically able to be, Michelle is unquestionably ahead of the curve. This is likely due to both inherent skill and her environment. Michelle’s parents were both active and fit in their youths and have encouraged their children to be as well.
It is nothing short of miraculous that Michelle has yet to break a bone, as active as she is; she is quite the daredevil to match. “A 3-year-old might think that it is perfectly reasonable to climb on an unsteady chair to get something that is out of reach, and a 4-year-old might enjoy holding on to a low tree branch and swinging her legs up and down. It is this physical ability, in combination with the curiosity and lack of judgment that also characterizes this age group, that make preschoolers so accident-prone” (Feldman, 209). While I was observing them, Michelle and Bryce—the genders had temporarily meshed—acted their age and began to climb all over the play structure next to the trampoline, most especially where it was not safe to do so. Thankfully, neither of them fell or was harmed and though they wanted to see how far they could push their own abilities, the other kids, acting as bystanders, were telling them to get down and expressing the danger involved in their actions.
When I first walked into the backyard Michelle’s cognitive abilities were made obvious by her ability to remember. Michelle, Ginger, and Gracie were sitting together in the pretzel-raft as it slowly drifted about – in the direction of the deep end. Although, as aforementioned, Michelle is a strong swimmer, she told the girls that they had to head back to the shallow end because that was her mom’s rule, likely put in place for Gracie. Although Michelle’s mother had not called out at them, this rule was in Michelle’s memory and she used her ability to consider right and wrong in choosing to obey it.
About halfway through observing Michelle, she and Ginger put a long, thick poll in the swing, creating a teeter totter like object. This, in and of itself, shows Michelle’s ability to think, as she was able to come up with the idea to do such a thing. However, her cognitive development was shown in more than just this way. As Ginger and Michelle played on the makeshift teeter totter, Kayla came up and wanted to join. Ginger, rather rudely, stated that Kayla joining would ruin the game (claiming to be thinking of the weight distribution rather than just not wanting her to join). This shows Ginger’s egocentric thought. “Egocentric thought takes two forms: the lack of awareness that others see things from a different physical perspective and the failure to realize that others may hold thoughts, feelings, and points of view that differ from theirs” (Feldman, 228). Ginger was not able, or willing, to consider how to brush off of Kayla had made Kayla feel because she did not realize that Kayla does not have Ginger’s point of view. However, Michelle had Kayla’s feelings in mind and invited her to join her side of the poll. I do not know if this makes Michelle ahead in development, but it certainly does make her atypical in this respect.
Along with Michelle’s parents being rather sports oriented, they are also some of the kindest people I know, most especially her mother. Michelle’s mom brought her up to be thoughtful rather than selfish and Michelle has taken to these teachings. “Unless we look at what is important and meaningful to members of a given society, we may seriously underestimate the nature and level of cognitive abilities that ultimately will be attained” (Feldman, 233). Michelle’s thinking has also been influenced by her mother in her love for school and passion for reading.
When I first walked into the backyard Michelle’s social strengths were made obvious by the fact that she had the other girls all around her. Now, Michelle has an attractiveness to her that made it less than shocking to see her getting along so well with such a mixed group of girls (the two seven year olds were often at one another’s throats), but as I found out throughout the observation, Michelle is also a genuinely kind and loving person, which helps in making the people her attraction brings stay.
During one of their times on the trampoline, the girls decided to play ‘popcorn.’ After one round with two of the girls claiming that they had won, it became evident that they had been playing differing games from one another. The girls went on to explain what they believed the rules of the game to be and it turned out that each of them had learned fairly different rules than the others. Nevertheless, they each fervently clung to the belief that their way was the correct way. “During this stage, which lasts from about age 4 though age 7, children play games rigidly, assuming that there is one, and only one, way to play and that every other way is wrong” (266). Each of the girls, not just Michelle, were typical in this part of their social/personality development.
Although the constantly vigorous activities were not enough to tire Michelle out, she did have to take a break to hydrate herself. She walked to the table and found that though the drinks were easily within her reach, the cups were behind them and as such were seemingly impossible for her to reach. Though I offered to help her, Michelle felt confident in her abilities and ended up being able to just reach the cups when she was her tippy toes. This was a typical behavior for her age because “they are eager to do things on their own (‘Let me do it’ is a popular refrain among preschoolers)…” (Feldman, 253). She was indeed able to reach it on her own, but I get the feeling that had she not been she would have pulled over a chair to stand on before accepting my help. Personally, I believe that Michelle is ahead in development for social/personality as well because she is so considerate of others and is so social with others.
Michelle, who chose her own pseudonym without me even telling her that she would be getting one, is largely ahead in her development, but is most obviously so physically. Whether it be that Michelle seems to be turning out like her mom because her traits were passed down through nature or nurture, her mother has definitely had an incredible influence on her. Her mother, father, and three older siblings have allowed Michelle to develop as she has needed to thus far and this has also benefitted her development.