Child Observation Reflection

Modified: 15th Sep 2017
Wordcount: 2036 words

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Brief notes on the venue/situation and age and gender of the child being observed (don’t give names – use initials or made up names for any individuals if necessary):

What I observed:

How I felt:

Thoughts, reflections :

The child was going homework related to concepts of math

Felt good and I was happy that she was responsible enough to do her work

Responsibility showed and she was able to handle the concepts well. I was happy to see this that she can grasp knowledge so well.

She was able to pick up objects like pen

I felt that her gross motor skills had come into being as she was able to pick up items

This made me feel that she was able to do things independently without any help.

Playing with shapes

She was able to identify most of the shapes which was good and showed her skills

This made me feel that she was able to do things independently without any help.

Playing The Piano

She was able to play the piano without the help of the babysitter

This had shown how independent she is and how in rhythm she could play the piano

Child observation

This essay will critically examine the role of a social worker to observe a child. This essay will also talk about the ethics and the anti-oppressive practices in relation to care of children.

The child I observed was named S who was three and half years old from an Indian Family. She could only talk in English and her national language as those are the languages which were taught to her. This observation took place in one day where I was told to meet her at a friend’s place. I was a bit curious and yet excited as this was my first time where I had to observe a child. She did not even greet me as she was a very shy girl also she was in the middle of her school homework. She felt very intimidated and scared to say any word. The only thing that was concerning was that S was not aware that I was coming to observe her. Thus here, one of the elements of anti-oppressive practice is to make sure that people’s rights are not violated. All social workers need to put the child’s needs first and how to respect their human rights, which is right to liberty and privacy of a family life (Dalrymple and Burke, 1995: 57).

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I was bit unsure where to start and how I should make it less awkward for her and me. I was anxious to know what S might be feeling inside as a stranger had come in the house. It was good know that her gross motor skills and fine motors skills were in place. She was able to pick a pencil and could write as well. She was able to understand the different key concepts in mathematics (additions and subtractions) as her mother was trying to explain to her using soft toys to demonstrate the concepts, which showed that her cognitive development was probably quite advanced for her age. To understand addition and subtraction the child must already have been able to count and understand the significance of number values.

While this was happening, I was looking at her and somehow or the other she got distracted and a bit scared because she was thinking what will I do or what will I say to her. As soon as her mother told her that I was a friend of hers the child had a smile on her face. She was happy, jumping for joy and even understanding why I had come here. She was excited to see me. There was some support given to S by her mother that made me feel comfortable, however I was thinking if I had observed some kind of anti-discriminatory practice where the child’s feelings had not been considered.

Later during the day, S had said a word to her mum saying “what is your friend’s name?”. This suggests that she was curious about who I was and why I was there. The mother sweetly with a smile replied that his name is Mahir and he is a family friend of mine. She smiled and danced. She was so happy and the grin on her face made me smile as well. Crystal (2010) believes that there are five stages of children’s language acquisition and that questioning begins in stage two even though their vocabulary is still small. Chouinard (2007) considers that children’s questions are an important part of their cognitive development and indicated five important points: that their questions must aim at gaining information; that they must receive answers that aid their cognitive development; they must be motivated to ask questions to gain information; the questions must be relevant at that moment; responses must aid their understanding and add to their knowledge. Chouinard (2007) adds that if children receive an unsatisfactory answer, they will keep asking. After a small chat took place she had a pacifier in a mouth. She was hungry as well. Sigmund Freud’s psychological theory states that children do go through five stages called: oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital stages. When she had her pacifier, she was going through her oral stage; also in addition to that this is a stage where the focus is more on the gratification of the mouth. It is also where the phallic stage takes place where there is a formation of superego and genitalia taking place in the child. Freud believed that a child could become fixated if any of these stages were not met (Parrish, 2010:59-62). He also said that a child could have three types of personality that could be ID, EGO and SUPEREGO which could become integrated during the stages (Berk, 2006). This helps to define the basic behaviour formation of an individual.

Erik Erikson’s theory is actually a step up from Freud’s theory, but Erikson actually placed more importance on the psychosocial belief like a parent and siblings or even different cultural backgrounds than Freud did and less importance on the sexual urges to try to explain the child’s performance. Erikson’s emphasis on the ego adaptive of power was greater than the attention of ID (Parrish, 2010: 62-64).

Also at this stage initiative vs. guilt occurs, which is stated by Erikson as being where the children assert themselves more frequently. They begin to plan activities, make games and initiate activities with other people. They can somewhat make decisions. If they receive any criticism or over- control by elders they do feel guilt and they do develop self-initiative as it is lacking in them (Walker and Karin Crawford 2014:31).

A few minutes later, she was playing with shapes and she was able to define and tell which shapes they were. Yet, she had confusion between the shape of an oval and circle. She could not define between them and thus she was calling an oval a circle. Then her mother told her the correct thing by giving an example that a bangle is a circle in shape and a pear soap an oval. She then understood the difference between them. Then her mother told her to count the corners of a square and rectangle and she was exact with her answer.

The doorbell rang and she had a babysitter who had come to teach her music and play games with her. She tried to call the babysitter by her name but she was unable to recall her name. As her babysitter was trying to give her hints she still was not able to guess her name. This went on for two to three minutes. She then said “can I play the piano?” The babysitter took the piano from the play room that she had. She was jumping with joy and said can I play “Do Re Me?”. Her babysitter was so impressed when she started playing the piano and she did so well by playing Do Re Me. She knew the exact tune and notes. This does show the different skills of the child and even how gross motor skills develop in them. Then the babysitter was playing and she was dancing away in one position as she was enjoying the beat of the piano.

The babysitter told her to try and close the buttons of a shirt but she was not able to do so as she was not able to match the button with the correct hoop. It did give her a problem as she was not able to follow the instruction, which was simply that the baby sitter demonstrated for her how to close the buttons of the shirt. When she tried to do it again she did manage it finally. The mother and the baby sister clapped and cheered for her which led to a smile on her face.

Then the mother gave S some food to eat. She was slightly able to pick up fruits and was able to eat them. As soon as the babysitter left she started to cry and I knew the attachment towards the babysitter was emotional but special so then she stayed for ten or fifteen minutes more, when she heard it she was happy. She does have the emotional touch towards the babysitter so then her mother said that she will be back tomorrow to come and see you again but she said no; she needs to stay. The attachment was strong and unbreakable.

She heard a sound of a dog so we took her outside and she said the word “dog”. In reference to what Piaget said: For this child it was a pre-existing scheme as the child could assimilate the dog being a Labrador by seeing the breed of the dog. She was cheerful and kept pointing at the dog which gave me a smile on my face.

The pre-operational stage takes place in the child which happens at S’s present age. This is the cognitive development that takes place in the child. It is the 2nd stage of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. There is a phase where the child is ego centric which did show in S’s behaviour. She was decentring where she could not understand the meaning of why the world is a centre and they want to grab attention. They have all kinds of imagination which we cannot know. So the child did have such a kind of imagination which her mother and I were confused about because we could not understand what she was trying to say. Also she did look at the world from her own point of view which is called egocentrism (Parrish, 2010: 118).

There is a good knowledge of knowing language that can help the social worker to know and help the child while they are talking. S’s language skills were good and she was able to say words like “Mama” or “Papa”. This shows how confident the child is. She was also able to depict and understand the difference when it came to colours, differentiating between black and grey or red and orange.

In conclusion to my essay, I can say that this observation was fun and exciting. She was happy to see me after ages and she made me feel so comfortable that I was happy to see her. At the end of the session she had a smile on her face that made me also smile and I really enjoyed observing her. Knowing the different stages and applying the theory was really difficult but interesting to know. This really boosted my knowledge and confidence up. Thus in my essay I have said that anti oppressive practice is a important role for any social worker as to keep in mind that those who work with children need to keep the legislation of the child protection act and human rights in mind as they cannot be violated nor they can be effected in anyone’s life in any circumstance it is in.


Crystal. D., (2010) The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Chouinard, M., (2007) Children’s questions: a mechanism for cognitive developmentMonographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. 2007;72(1) 113-26 Available at: Accessed: 26/02/2017


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