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EDUC 250

Child Study Investigation

The purpose of this investigation is twofold: 1) provide an opportunity to apply

developmental concepts and 2) an opportunity to utilize many of the research
methodology data collection methods that are commonly used in developmental
psychology. You will be expected to directly observe, interview, and assess the
cognitive, emotional/social, and physical capabilities of one child aged 3-6 (early
childhood) OR 7-10 (middle childhood) and apply concepts from respective
chapters in Ormrods Educational Psychology. You will also interview the childs
parent(s) as well.

You will need to identify and obtain permission to assess (observe, interview, and
question) either a 4-6 OR 7-10 year old (let me know the name and phone
number of the individual giving permission to you).

General considerations: Interacting with any child requires patience and

consideration. Try to make the interaction fun; assess by using game-like
activities when possible (you are NOT expected to use standardized tests so
go with the flow with what the child gives you.). On the other hand, you need
to be organized and objective.

Some activities may have to be returned to at a later time (especially if you

assess a younger or developmentally-delayed child). Be prepared, and realize
that the attention span of many children may make it necessary to meet several
times, or require several breaks.

While you should attempt to assess the child directly i.e., observational on-going
behavior, much information can be obtained from the parent(s) should you be
unable to make significant direct observations.

The best way to indicate that you understand basic concepts is to GIVE
EXAMPLES that you obtained directly from the child.

The form of your report: Limit your paper to 5-10 double-spaced pages using a
12-point font. You are to use third person (you are the examiner; the subject is
referred to by a fictitious name, or as the subject) and submit the paper by our
due date listed on the course calendar. Submission is electronic.
Supplementary documents (pictures, charts, etc) can either be scanned in or
submitted in class.
Components of your report (label them as you see here):

I. General background Information

General background information is important to identify potential aids and

deterrents to normal development. Its important that you take time to thoroughly
interview your parent you have chosen for the child stufy.
Include the age and education status of your subject; the number and ages of
members in his/her family; and the typical days activities (include activities and
food preferences). Describe unusual medical information here as well. Finally,
describe the process: e.g., the number of times you saw the child, where/when
you interviewed the parent(s), and so on. YOU ARE EXPECTED TO SUBMIT
THE NAME AND PHONE NUMBER of the subjects parents indicating
permission for this evaluation.

II. Physical and Motor Development

As to gross motor development, look at charts and lists describing expectations

and address whether these milestones have been met according to age (these
may be found online). (Consider involvement in competitive sports as well). For
fine motor development, look at a combination of drawing and printing/writing to
assess these competencies. There are many skills in this age you can use to
identify where the child is at in his/her development. Be sure to take samples or
directly observe these fun skills.
Relate these skills back to the information you have read/acquired related to
physical and motor development. Is the child developing normally? What
evidence did you gather to support this hypothesis? What do the experts have to
say about this?

III. Cognitive Development

Focus on evaluating Piagetian stages, information processing capabilities,

language development, and formal educational opportunities.

All subjects need to be tested for classification ability, conservation ability as well
as seriation ability. Writing samples and drawing samples need to be taken to
determine where the childs language skills lie.
As to information processing, you need to assess attention and memory as to the
developmental expectations (see relevant expectations). Indicate whether your
subject has the expected development as well as any information processing
strategies. For example, if you ask your child to count objects, did the subject
use one-to-one correspondence? If you asked your child to do simple addition,
did they use manipulatives, use their fingers or do all math in their mind? What
strategies is your child using? What does this tell you about the development of
that particular child? Also, this also may be the place to describe the type of
formal education your subject may be involved in that supports the subjects
cognitive development.

Finally, assess language development. The expectations can be found in our

text. Utilize the various observation forms to look for specific advances. Is your
child developing normally? How do you know? What do the experts say about

IV. Social/emotional development

Four general aspects of development should be addressed: 1) Eriksons stage of

psychosocial development, 2) emotional understanding (including empathy and
moral development), 3) gender typing, and 4) peer relationships (including
siblings). You should also include family and school influences on
social/emotional development here.

V. Your Reactions, Recommendations, and Application

Your own comments: Problems inherent in evaluating/assessing a child, what

you might recommend (use the text hereremember the child does NOT need to
demonstrate a problem for one to make recommendations), what you might
have done differently, and so on.

Most importantly, how does this task further your professional knowledge? Are
there components of this type of activity that you might use in your profession?