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The child study is a documentation of ongoing observations of a child in possible multiple contexts (e.g., home, neighborhood, classroom, playground, lunch room, community organizations, religious centers, etc.). A template is provided to guide your observations and should be copied and pasted in the appendix section of the Child Study Assignment template. The language of this study is descriptive as opposed to judgmental or evaluative. The study should be rich with multiple examples of what has been observed.
The study should also include reflections, analysis/interpretation drawn from the data about the child collected across several contexts. The analysis should demonstrate an integration of the prospective teacher’s thinking about the child based on evidence from the observations and the thinking of theorists (philosophical, developmental, cognitive, learning, etc.). The candidate should consider ideas, concepts, and theories of human development, learning and language acquisition in first and second languages, and the implications for early childhood, childhood, bilingual, and inclusive settings. Candidates should address the question, “How do the ideas in the readings, discussions (online and in class) help you think about your child and children?”
This assignment can be undertaken through observations gathered from both an outside perspective (no direct interaction with the child during observation) and a participant observer perspective (direct interaction with the child while gathering data). These are two distinctly different approaches so select one or the other.
Selecting the child for the study should be guided by the teacher education candidate’s interests, e.g., a wish to learn more about a child you know well or do not know at all. The child study can focus on a question that grows out of some interest, concern or puzzlement that the prospective teacher wants to explore to help her think about the child— to help think about supporting the child as a growing person, thinker and learner.Format for the Child Study AssignmentPlease use the following guidelines when writing your child study. You may observe a child from birth to 6th grade (early childhood or childhood education ranges). These categories are described in more detail in Carini’s piece “A Letter to Parents and Teachers,” which you will read this semester.Observations (6): Link here to Observation Outline Journal templateComplete 6 observations using a double entry journal. In the left-hand side of the chart you will need to write your descriptive observations. Do not forget to note the time that you begin and the time that you end your observation. Be aware of each of the five following categories of development as you observe and document. Carefully describe HOW the child performs in each area that you observe. Do not summarize, but describe, behavior as it happens and include any conversation the child engages in (adults and other children interacting with the child).In the right-hand side of the chart you will write your interpretations of the observation making connections to the theories and child development stages studied in class.
The Descriptive Review includes these sections and are the core of the child study.• Physical Presence and Gesture• Disposition and Temperament• Connections to Others• Strong and Abiding Interests• Modes of Thinking and LearningThese observations should be presented in the final Child Study Assignment Appendix section and should be neat and professional. You may type directly on the template after copying the Google Doc, print and write on it, or use your own notes and then transfer them to the template at a later date. You may have more than 10 hours of observation but less than 10 will result is points deducted.FINAL Child Study PROJECT Outline – 3 Parts (Introduction, Descriptive Reviews, and Summative Thoughts)1. Introduction to/background of the child whom you selected: Here you write about why you chose this child, and any background information you think is relevant for the reader in “understanding” your child.Describe• the child’s age and familial structure,• the child’s linguistic/cultural background,• any special services he/she is receiving. If the child is receiving “early intervention”, is there a Family Service Plan? What are its recommendations? Are there any health issues that may impede development?• Explain why you decided to study this child and what is your relationship to the child.2. All Descriptive Reviews are guided by a question posed by the presenter. The questions need to be open ended and lead to multiplicity of recommendations for the child’s education and wellbeing.Descriptive Review Headings:• Physical Presence and Gesture• Disposition and Temperament• Connections to Others• Strong and Abiding Interests• Modes of Thinking and LearningRecommendations and Connections to Theories: In this section you re-read your entire collection of observations as well as each of the descriptive review headings and texts read in class. Your task is to make connections between your work, the theories and stages of development, while you make recommendations for the child’s education and wellbeing. Think of this as synthesis, comparing and contrasting the data and reporting back what message, themes, patterns are becoming more apparent?• Why do you think he/she does what he/she does? How do our textbook readings help you to understand your child? (indicate the author, year of publication, and page number referred to using APA style)• What would you recommend as follow-up and for instruction of him/her?• What are your recommendations for the planning of Developmentally Appropriate activities?• How do your activities build on children’s strengths, needs, cultural and linguistic diversity, familial relationships?• To what degree have you involved the child’s family and community?
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