Child development observation


This child development observation was conducted on June 2nd, 2017. The child that I decided to observe was a 5-year old Caucasian boy named Pius. The observation time began at 1.00 pm and ended at 2.00 p.m. The setting was inside their home during his 6th birthday party. There were other three children present which included: Tom, William, and Anne. His mother Phyllis and Uncle James were also present. The physical description of Pius includes a 4 feet 2 inches tall, chubby body with blonde hair and blue eyes. Pius weighs 48 pounds. Pius is wearing a navy-blue T-shirt, black pants, black shoes and gray socks.

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Physical Activities

Pius and William are pretending to be making a birthday cake that will be given to him by his mother. They have collected some stones to represent fake eggs, some powder for fake cake flour, baking powder, fake utensils and some real water. I hear Tom coming into their play saying “I am ready and I can start the baking process” Anne takes out a stick that she uses as a spoon to scoop flour. Anne takes the fake spoon and passes it to the left hand before giving it to William saying, “William mix the flour while I prepare the table.” William objects and says he wants to go and fetch the power ranger he saw on the doorstep so that he could prepare it for the occasion. When William brings in the power ranger, Pius changes his mind and now wants to become a ranger. He shouts, “let me have it,” he takes the power ranger and heads to a small draft and pretends like a real power ranger. He imitates the real power rangers and talks to William about the helmet that the power ranger is wearing. He calls out, “Tom, come let us play together.” Tom joins them while Pius stands up and begins running around. While running around Pius meets his Uncle who is making his way into the living room where I am sitting and hands over a cap which is a gift he bought for his nephew. Pius runs towards his friends and tries out the cap using the left hand and then poses before passing the cap into the right hand which he uses to wear the cap. He smiles and then continues to run across the room while still imitating power rangers at the same time calling on Tom and Tom to come closer to him, “Whoa watch this Tom.” As Tom approaches him, he takes off the cap and puts it into Toms’ head. He then runs in circles while imitating the power ranger.

Physical Growth and Development

Pius has developed and grown physically. He is able to instigate play, join his three friends in playing and change to different playing situations. He seems more comfortable and finds socializing with friends, uncle and mother are very enjoyable. He was also very much concerned when I heard him ask, “Tom, come let us play together.”

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These physical activities that Pius carried out shows that he loves group activity because wherever he runs around, he wants his friends to be near him. Physical growth and development show that Pius has developed within the middle childhood where his motor development. This physical development, according to McDevitt and Ormrod, is witnessed by the ability of the child to run and play while integrating these into gross motor skills that they have developed (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2009).

Pius motor skills were well developed as he ran up and down, jumping, falling and getting up most of the time. This means that his large motor muscles are strong and that he has been able to develop his large motor skills. Pius has also developed his small motor muscles because he is able to pick up power ranger, put on the cap, hand over the cap using the right arm and help Tom to put on this cap.

Gender Difference

While Pius is busy running and calling on Tom and William to join him, Anne is still progressing with making the fake cake. Now Anne has kneaded the fake dough while arranging things continually. Pius runs around her while pretending to be flying. Pius and Tom run outside briefly before being told by James to watch out. He falls and rises immediately while laughing. Jane is now playing alone as Pius is held up in the running around with Tom and William. While Anne remained seated making the cake. Pius, William, and Tom kept on running and shouting across the room. Anne calls out to Pius, “your cake will be ready in a few minutes,” then continues to cover the cake on top of a fake block oven. When Pius’s mother, Phyllis walks into the room with table cloths ready to fix the table for Pius’s birthday cake, I saw Anne imitating her while trying to spread fake tables, also copying every move that Phyllis was making.

The observation that I was able to make concerning the difference between the play that Anne made and Pius was astounding. Anne’s level of motor development was different from those demonstrated by Pius, William and Tom. Time and again Anne used polite language to call Pius and his friends to come to where they started playing, but the boys were more determined to continue running. Anne demonstrated social sensitivity while Pius and his friends were not that sensitive. Also, Anne was responsible for telling Pius and his friends what to do even though they finally decided to take their roles as they proceeded to play.

Parenting Style

Pius’ Mother is busy making arrangements to prepare a table that will be used in serving the birthday cake. All this while he watches Pius without talking much. I hear her say, “Pius watch out,” while looking less concerned. James occasionally holds Pius whenever he passes close, and they seem to be playing briefly only when his mother is closer. Pius runs away and nearly stumbles into his mother while running out. When his mother approaches he runs away towards his uncle and avoids coming close to his mother at the same time laughing. Now his mother goes out, and he plays more towards the doorway and moves out towards where his mother is but does not follow her. He initiates play independently without following much of what his mother tells him.

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Attachment Style

The attachment style that Pius exhibited in this observation was an ambivalent attachment with a reunion behavior. According to Behrens, Hesse & Main, Pius exhibited an exploratory behavior where he was moving around the room, looking around the room, playing with his toys while searching for things across the room (Behrens, Hesse, & Main 2007).

State of Development

According to Piaget and Cook, a six-year-old child is in preoperational stage of development which spans from the age of 2 to age of 7 years. This stage is where concrete physical stimuli are essential for new concepts development of children. This stage involves some key features as posited by (Piaget & Cook, 1952). Firstly, the child in this state of development is egocentric. He does everything from his point of view. Pius demonstrates this by calling on his friends to join him in the running around. Also, even though they play together each child seems to be completely drawn to a different play (McLeod, 2015).

The second feature is the symbolic play that is exhibited by Pius in trying to imitate power ranger. According to Piaget and Cook, children are becoming aware of the sophisticated world. This is seen where Pius symbolizes flight. The third important feature is animism (Piaget & Cook 1952). In this feature, the particular trait is that children between the age of 5-7 are more drawn to objects that are capable of movement. Pius is drawn to power ranger because he wants to imitate how it moves.

At this stage, a child wants to be in control of what is happening while at the same time faces restrictions from the caregiver (Morrison, 2007). Pius wants to run and explore more within and outside the house where shortly the birthday cake will be served and birthday song will be sung. His mother wants him to run around more carefully because he can stumble. His mother seems to accept his choice of running around several times without really restricting him because she wanted her son to be motivated. He tries to be more comfortable when his mother is some distant away but not quite far. Mary Ainsworth posited in her theory that such type of attachment is called insecure ambivalent or resistant attachment style (Ainsworth, Bell, & Stayton, 1971).

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Other Observations

Few observations were made too while focusing on Pius. To begin with, Pius was seen to have a dominant character. This is a milestone that posits that six years old dominates the play as well as others. This is seen in Pius where he dominated the play by being bossy, noisy and showing off his cap. He also felt powerful because he could fall severally and continue running around with little regard to his mother’s or uncle’s warning.

Secondly, Gordon and Brown observed a milestone where children have special friends but are swift in changing Loyalty (Gordon & Brown, 2008). This is seen in Pius where he started playing well with William and Anne, but afterward was more comfortable with and loyal to Tom. However, Pius follows social interaction theory where he asks his friends to play with him.

Thirdly, Gordon and Brownie also posits that another important milestone is where a child chooses his friends with whom he wants to play with. By calling on Tom to join William and himself, Pius demonstrates that he is able to understand the wishes and needs of his friends who are also eager to play with him (Gordon & Brown, 2008).

Lastly, Pius has developed cognitively. He knows how to verbalize various instructions to his friends. Through yelling to Tom and William, he passes on his message which means that he is aware of what is happening during their play.

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This observation was successful because I was able to make various observations concerning development milestones made by Pius. This observation looked at physical activities, physical growth, and development, gender differences in development, parenting and attachment styles. It was also able to observe the state of development using Piaget and Ainsworth theories in addition to other observations.

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  1. Ainsworth, M. D. S., Bell, S. M., & Stayton, D. J. (1971). Individual differences in strange- situation behavior of one-year-olds. In H. R. Schaffer (Ed.) The origins of human social relations. London and New York: Academic Press, pp. 17-58.
  2. Behrens, K. Y., Hesse, E., & Main, M. (2007). Mothers’ attachment status as determined by the Adult Attachment Interview predicts their 6-year-olds’ reunion responses: A study conducted in Japan. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1553.
  3. Gordon, A. G. & Brownie, K. W. (2008). Beginnings and Beyond: Foundations in Early Childhood Education (7th Ed) Clifton Park, N.Y. Thomson Delmar Learning, U.S.A.
  4. McDevitt, T., & Ormrod, J. E. (2010). Child development and education (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
  5. McLeod, S. A. (2015). Preoperational stage. Retrieved June 6, 2017
  6. Morrison, G. S. (2007). Early childhood education today (10th Ed.), Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
  7. Piaget, J., & Cook, M. T. (1952). The origins of intelligence in children. New York, NY: International University Press.
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