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Child observation project

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For the purposes of this observation the child observed will be referred to as Jake. The differences in time spent with Jake by students of the University of Alaska Southeast student housing community were observed and recorded for this study. Jake was observed for increments of two hours daily for one week. During this observation the amount of time individuals spent carrying, playing, or interacting with Jake was recorded as well as the individual’s age and gender. Individuals who spent less then 2 minutes with Jake were excluded from this study as well as Jake’s family members and other primary care givers. The purpose of this study was to determine which category of people spent the most time interacting with Jake. Individuals observed with Jake were placed into two categories based on age and gender (see figure 1). Three categories labels were created to describe the type interaction between individuals and Jake, these categories are: playing, carrying, and verbal interaction. Also some basic experiments were preformed to determine Jake’s level of development.

Figure 1

Child Observation Study

The significance of this was to determine which gender spent the most time interacting with Jake during a given week. The researcher also wanted to determine if the different types of interaction by males and females has had any effect on Jake’s development. It is the hypothesis of the examiner that Jake would have a more advanced level of development due to the increased amount of time spent interacting with a wide variety of individuals representing both sexes. Jake’s physical development is in line with the majority of children his age. At 6 months Jake is able to roll over, sit up with self-support, and is able to move around by rolling. Jake’s motor skills have developed to were he is able to transfer objects from one hand to the other although; the pincer grasp has not yet developed. Jake is in the third stage that Piaget refers to as Secondary circular reaction stage. Jake’s cognitive skills have sufficiently developed allowing him to be much more aware of events taking place around him. In addition to this Jake has developed the ability to make pleasurable events happen on his own. Given the numerous people surrounding Jake during the day, Jake has developed a very social personality.

Interaction with people is both enjoyed and sought after. Jake’s social referencing comes from both parent figures and people Jake is most familiar with when reacting to people never before encountered. It is because of the unique environment that Jake is exposed to that the researcher wishes to determine what effect this environment has had on Jake development. Also because of the number of people Jake is exposed to the examiner will also be monitoring how different genders and races interact with Jake. To obtain this information the researcher has been monitoring Jake for 2 hours every day for one week. During this time information was obtained as to what Jake was involved with and what type of people interacted with Jake. The type of interaction was also recorded to determine if gender or race played any role in the type of interaction engaged with Jake.



Jake is approximately 6 months old and is a Caucasian male. Jake resides in apartment style housing with both parent in the home. Both of Jakes parents are employed fulltime, but because of the nature of Jake’s mother’s work he accompanies his mother in the work place. Jake’s appearance is average for a male child of Jake’s age. Jake’s height was recorded at 67.4 cm on October 19, 2003. Jake’s weight is slightly above average at just under 17 pounds but is still well within the desired weight limits. Jake’s is in excellent health and is free of any mental of physical conditions that might hamper his development.



Jake was observed in increments of two hours for one week. The location where the observation took place was the UAS student-housing lodge. The examiner was positioned on the second floor during each observation to achieve maximum visibility of Jake and his activities and the interaction between him and housing students. Jake is an only child so no siblings or relatives besides Jake’s mother and father were involved in the observation process.


Jake was observed for 2 hours each day for one week. During observation Jake was left to move about as he chose. Jake’s activities, when by himself, consist of playing with simple toys and exploring objects within is field of motion. During the observation time the individuals who interacted with Jake were recorded by age and gender. The amount of time and type of interaction was also recorded.


Before child observation began, Jake’s mother was asked a series of question about Jake’s health and development thus far. Jake’s mother was asked a series of questions using both a yes/no and open-ended formats. The desired outcome of the questionnaire was to determine and development of physical problems that might interact with the study.


The examiner originally theorized that women would spend the majority of time interacting with Jake. The results of this study have proven that hypothesis to be true (see figure 2).

Figure 2

Results from this study have also shown the different types of interaction between men and women (see figure 3).

Figure 3

Biosocial development

Most of Jake’s infant relaxes have already faded, with the exception of the Babinski reflexes. Jake still responds by fanning out his toes when the sole of his foot is stroked. According to the responses of Jake’s mother, the Moro reflex was one of the first reflexes to fade due to the nature of the environment Jake is constantly surrounded by. Jake’s motor skills have developed to the point he is capable of moving objects between hands, however Jake still uses his palms to pick up objects. Jake is only able to picks up objects that are made of simple shapes and that are slightly smaller then his hands like paper clips, paper, and blocks. Objects larger then Jake’s hands are difficult for Jake to pickup because he will only use one hand when trying to recover objects.

Cognitive development

Jake has developed the ability to determine location based on sound. This basic auditory skill exists at birth but improves with age. Jake also has the ability to determine his mother’s voice from others speaking around him. Jake also responds to just a voice or picture placed in front of him. Jake’s cognitive development is typical for infants 5 to 7 months of age.

Psychosocial development

Jake’s psychosocial development is well within given limits for a child of his age. Jake’s ability to understand social signals is well established. Jake’s social referencing abilities are also established. Jake has learned which behaviors attract people and which tend to discourage people from interacting with him. Using emotional cues from those around him are also present. Jake also understands that even when his mother is not present she will return. This was determined by watching Jake’s response when his mother would leave his eyesight.


Jake’s biosocial, cognitive, and psychosocial development are all with in the standards for a child of his age. I originally thought that Jake would be ahead in most areas because of the amount of interaction that he receives every day. However, it appears that all this interaction has only affected Jake’s temperament. Jake is most often described as an easy baby. Jake adapts easily to new situations and exhibits regular eating, sleeping, and levels of alertness. It is clear to me now that there is one major component that I did not account for when performing this study but have since then observed. Student who spend more time with the Lodge dog spend less time interacting with Jake and those students who spend more time with Jake spend less time with the Lodge dog. If I were to perform this observation again I would make a not if the individual spent time with the dog or not. Besides that factor I really enjoyed performing this observation. This observation was one of the few times I was able to put into practice the concepts I have learned in class.

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