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Emma Young

Methods 2
January 30, 2015
Guided Reflection 1
Developmental Profile: Kindergarten
Kindergarten is a time of significant developmental growth that various among each
unique child and encompasses each developmental domain. This semester I have been placed in
a kindergarten classroom of 19 students. It is early in the semester, and I still have a lot to learn
about the wide variety of individual abilities and skills of my students. However, I have already
begun to observe similarities among the kindergartners such as enthusiasm for learning, an
increasing ability to combine and build upon information and control impulses (Bredekamp,
2009). Kindergarten primarily serves 5 year olds, however the age range can span from 4 to 7
(Bredekamp, 2009). Kindergartners show a significant shift as they develop an increased
understanding of personal responsibility, self direction, and logical thinking. Kindergartners are
consistently progressing as they develop in each domain; cognitive, language and literacy, social
and emotional, and physical. Beginning at birth, development in each domain is strongly
interconnected and continuously growing.
Cognitive development refers to the acquisition of knowledge and thought.
Kindergartners experience significant brain development and a key shift in their thinking
abilities. As they develop, kindergartners show; more flexibility in their thinking, greater ability
to conceptualize categories, advances in reasoning and problem solving, and a greater ability to

pay attention and use memory (Bredekamp, 2009). During childhood the brain is significantly
more malleable than it will be in later life, making it a critical time for cognitive development.
Due to the expectations of U.S. schools and kindergartners strong desire to learn and make sense
of the world, children develop considerably in their understanding of math and literacy domains.
Cognitive development is intertwined in other domains such as the social emotional development
of self regulation and attention, and the fine motor skills associated with memory.
Physical development considers the bodies growing gross and fine motor skills.
Kindergartners are very interested in discovering what their bodies can do. Even spending one
day with the kindergartners I observed them finding tremendous joy dancing, hula hooping, and
swinging like Tarzan in physical education. They are increasingly concerned with how
information such as how fast they can run, and high they can jump. The time between the ages of
2 and 7 has been identified as the ideal years for children to learn basic physical skills such as
balance and hand-eye coordination; kindergartners are continually growing to be more fluent,
coordinated, and competent in physical skills (Bredekamp, 2009). Physical development is
observed in both gross and fine motor development. When considering gross motor skills,
Kindergartners can run more quickly and smoothly and are better able to change directions with
ease, in addition, they increasingly involve their whole bodies in throwing and catching
(Bredekamp, 2009). When considering fine motor skills, it is important to note that childrens
attention spans significantly increase during kindergarten as well as control of their hands and
fingers (Bredekamp, 2009). It is typical to observe kindergartners improving in activities such as
sorting, stringing beads, using scissors, and securing a verity of of articles of clothing.
Throughout kindergarten gross and fine motor skills improve greatly in smoothness and

coordination. The progression of fine motor skill such as memory and use of writing utensils
correlates strongly with language and literacy development.
Early on children understand language as a means for communicating their wants, needs,
and ideas. By kindergarten, children listen to conversation and music for pleasure, listen and
speak with attention, and recognize the sounds of their environment (Bredekamp, 2009).
Kindergartners know the meaning of a substantial and growing number of words (Bredekamp,
2009). Starting in infancy language and literacy develop in unison. Throughout kindergarten
children focus on developing book and print awareness, phonological awareness, language,
comprehension, letter and word recognition as well as spelling and writing (Bredekamp, 2009).
There are two goals of language and literacy development in kindergarten. Firstly, kindergarten
teachers work to establish a strong foundational understanding of the structure and use print,
basic phonemic awareness, and the ability to recognize and write most letters in the alphabet
(Bredekamp, 2009). The second goal is to promote an interest in and reliance on print for
children as it is an essential component to childrens future learning (Bredekamp, 2009). Shared
adult child reading experiences and vocabulary rich conversations and texts promote language
and literacy development significantly among kindergartners. Positive learning experiences with
adults are beneficial in the academic domains as well as in social and emotional development.
In the social setting of school kindergartners are expected to regulate their emotions and
behaviors in most situations (Bredekamp, 2009). When considering social development, typically
developing kindergartners are very interested in interacting with their peers and succeed in
engaging cooperatively, getting along with others, and building friendships (Bredekamp, 2009).
It is an important observation to note that children who exhibit positive social behaviors such as
cooperation and and conflict resolution often show better overall social skills and have more

friends (Bredekamp, 2009). In regards to emotional development, kindergartners grow


significantly in their understanding of emotions and empathy. Warm, caring relationships with
teachers are undeniably valuable for fostering development and learning in young children
(Bredekamp, 2009). Theorist Nel Noddings identifies caring relationships as a fundamental
aspect of education. Noddings suggests that natural caring occurs from experiences of being
cared for and that all people want to be cared for (Smith, 2004). Throughout kindergarten,
children better develop a sense of self- concept through the process of comparing themselves
with peers and feedback from adults (Bredekamp, 2009). Throughout kindergarten children are
continuing to develop their self regulation skills and there is a significant range in ability among
children. In addition, at this age children begin to construct their ego identity, their sense of self,
based on their social interactions. Erik Eriksons theory of physiological development suggests
that as children reach school age they experience the industry versus inferiority stage of
psychological development. Through social interactions, children begin to develop a sense of
pride in their accomplishments and abilities. Children who are positively encouraged by parents,
teachers, and peers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills; while those who
receive little encouragement or negative feedback will doubt their abilities to be successful
(Cherry).
Positive and caring relationships of trust with peers, teachers, and families are
fundamental for the development of young children across all domains. Furthermore,
understanding that each child is unique and develops at their own rate is essential to keep in
mind when considering what is typical at a particular age.

References
Bredekamp, S. & Copple, C. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood
programs (3rd ed.). Washington DC: NAEYC.
Cherry, K. Erik Erikson's Stages of Development. Retrieved February 1, 2015
(http://psychology.about.com/od/psychosocialtheories/a/psychosocial.htm).
Smith, M. K. (2004). Nel Noddings, The Ethics of Care and Education. The Encyclopaedia of
Informal Education. Retrieved Febuary 1, 2015 (http://infed.org/mobi/nel-noddings-theethics-of-care-and-education/).