Reflective developed after the event. ”We reflect on action,

Essay: Child Development


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For this task, I observed a 12 month old child for an hour
each week over a 6 weeks period using the Tavistock method of child
observation.  Initial observation took
place on Thursday 2nd November 2017 between 11am to 12pm. For
confidentiality reasons, l have chosen to a pseudonym as Baby Zee.

Baby Zee lives with both biological parents and three older
siblings. She is the last of four children and the only female child in the
family. Her brothers range between the ages of 5-8years. Baby Zee is of African descent
but born in the United Kingdom. The ethnicity of which Baby Zee’s mother
identified her as is British Black African. Language spoken at home is English
and Twi (Ghanaian language). Both baby Zee’s parents are from Ghana, West
Africa. I was introduced to Baby’s Zee’s family through a friend. Before making
arrangements to meet face to face, I spoke to her mother on the phone, drafted
a consent form and letter from the university. Which I emailed to both parents
to explain the aims of the observation, to help them gain an understanding and
also informed them of their right to confidentiality. After a few days Baby
Zee’s mother contacted me and agreed for observations to take place every Thursday
between 11am and 12pm. Baby Zee is a healthy child with no medical issues.








this essay, I will use Schon’s module of reflection on action to critically
analyse  knowledge gained through observation.
The impact on my future practice and significance of observation in social work

 Reflection-on-action involves reflecting on
how practice can be developed after the event. ”We reflect on action,
thinking back on what we have done in order to discover how our
knowing-in-action may have contributed to an unexpected outcome” (Schön, 1983,
p. 26).

To make sense of what was
observed over the 6 weeks period. I will also focus child development and also
explore attachment, communication, emotional and cognitive development, play as
well as personality. Throughout the essay, I make reference to what was
observed to support or question theories and psychoanalytic concepts. 

and its significance in Social work practice.

Observation is act of closely
watching/monitoring something or someone. In social work practice, observation provides
an insight into significant things which could easily be overlooked or hidden during
assessments/conversations.  Fawcett and
Watson (2016) suggests that ”we can learn much from our observations, but we
must accept what we see is only a tip of the iceberg”. Observation offered the
opportunity to learn about the different ways in which children communicate. Prior
to this, my assumptions were that infants only start communicate from the
moment they begin to use words (verbal communication). But this has been proven
wrong. Example on the first observation, through sounds such as cooing, facial
expressions, eye-contact and pointing Baby Zee was able to at times communicate
her needs and wants. Also throughout the period of observations, I noticed when
Baby Zee would do something wrong, her mother would shake her head. To symbolise
”No” or ”Stop”. Baby Zee would smile and stop even though she will try and repeat
the same actions later. Baby Zee understood the shake of head as ”No”. These
early communication skills provide a strong foundation for the development of
language and understanding social behaviour.

I linked this to Piaget’s
theory of cognitive development. At 12months 
Baby Zee is currently at the sensori-motor stage. According to Piaget, the
level of a child’s intellectual processing is simply the organised pattern of
behaviour in response to a particular object or experience Sudbery (2010 p.69).
Fawcett and Watson (2016) also suggests that observation provides a rewarding
opportunity to discover the subtle and fascinating ways in which people
communicate verbally and non-verbally.

the first observation, I arrived at the house at 11am prompt. Baby Zee and her
mother met me downstairs where mother introduced me to Baby Zee. Mother
playfully asked Baby Zee to wave and say hi. Baby Zee looked at me very
strangely and didn’t respond to her mother. She maintained direct eye contact
with me as I followed them into their flat. During the observation her mother
will often leave the room leaving us alone for a few minutes.  Baby Zee would stare/glance at me continues
for some minutes, but continued to play independently with her toy. When mother
would enter the room again. Baby Zee looked very happy and excited to see her
again. I related Baby Zee’s actions to Ainsworth’s strange situation /stranger
anxiety. Ainsworth explained this as an indication of how smoothly and
effectively an infant uses a caregiver as a secure base at home. Howe (2011)
suggested attachment systems are used to monitor the environment for danger and
threat and is reflected in the Baby Zee’s energy and behaviour. Though Baby
Zee’s behaviour changed when she left alone with me due to her level attachment
with her mother. She was still able to cope and continue to play independently.
Howe (2011) also states children feel more confident and secure knowing that a
responsive attachment figure will be there in times of need. But by the end of
the 6weeks of observation, Baby Zee had become familiar with me and would often
smile even try to engage with me through play, which I resisted.  

Play is pivotal in child
development. It plays an essential part in cognitive, social, emotional and
physical well-being. On the 3rd and 4th observation, I
took particular interest in the way Baby Zee Plays. I noticed she would
alternate between playing with a remote control (she would press the buttons as
if she wanted to change the channel) and a miniature kitchen set in the living
room. She appeared very happy and confused on what she was doing. She would
make a lot of sounds and be giggling to herself. Bandura (1977 cited in
Davenport 1992 p164) say that children will observe and imitate adults and
build what they observe into play. I then began to think if Baby Zee’s method
of play is due what she had observe her parents and older siblings do. I
noticed Baby Zee’s mother playfully interacting with her. She would take the
remote and hide it under a blanket and ask where is it. Baby Zee will try to
recover the remote from under the blanket. This relates to Piaget’s Object
Permanence. The idea that objects still exist, even when you can’t see them
(Beckett and Taylor 2016 p.73).I also noticed that anytime her mother will feed
her. She would make a hand gesture to pray which I observed Baby Zee also
mimicking that gesture. I related these two behaviours to Bandura (1977)
observational learning or Social learning theory. Social learning theory
focuses learning that occurs within a social context.




of theories used

Vygotsky’s Sociocultural theory
criticised Piaget for only basing his cognitive development of a child mainly on
biology. But rather parents and caregivers play a crucial role in cognitive
development. Vygotsky suggested that caregivers can support the
child to achieve higher cognitive levels by providing support and guidance.
Secondly, social learning theory, just because Baby Zee mimicked the actions of
her mother praying action doesn’t mean she has a full understand of what she is
doing. Her action is only reinforced by what she sees at a particular moment.
If taken out of that environment, she doesn’t have the cognitive ability to
retain this information to perform it without adult support. Lastly, during
observation 6, Baby Zee’s father returned early home work. I watched Baby Zee
behaviour changed as she noticed her father. She quickly run into his arms. I
noticed for the first time Baby Zee interacting with her father. Observed her
father being playful and affectionate towards her. Baby Zee also seemed very
happy and initiated play. This then led me to think that Baby see has a great
attachment to bother her parents.  This
according to the Clarkes signifies that babies don’t just need mothers but can
attach to several people. (Davenport, 1994).Children need responsive caregivers
who can respond to their needs.

achieved through observation and presenting.

Initially the idea of observing a total stranger seemed daunting to me as
I felt I was intruding. During observation, I would often find myself
reflecting and comparing my childhood. According to Hingley-Jones et
al (2016, p.255) “counter-transference invite students to develop their
sensitive to the emotional dynamic they encounter”.  Secondly, I felt
my experience of being a female of African descend and knowledge of the culture
played a significant role in this observation. It was evident I projected
elements of my childhood and characteristics on this child. I have learnt
through this experience about the importance of going into an observation with
a clear and open mind, not bring my own personal believes or biases into
practice or the intention of seeing or hearing something which I believe is the
norm but may not be seen such to others. I believe observation and reflection
skills are vital in the training and development of students. PCF domain 6 also
stress on the importance of students being able to critically reflect. As stated
by Fawcett and Watson (2016) students may learn through observation how
anti-discriminatory principles can be put into practice, how power structure
and hierarchies operate, and especially how relatively powerless children are in
the society. Observing also provides the opportunity for social workers to
notice if a child is being harm or concerns about his/her developments. Butler
(2015) also states in practice, observers respond intuitively to physical harm,
rightly intervening if something may cause immediate injury to a child, such as
a baby trapping fingers in a toy.

Reflecting on the various days of observation, I found there were days where
I felt unstimulated and nervous. Other days I felt very enthusiastic and looked
forward to going the following week anticipating how she would have developed
by then.

I didn’t perform as well as I hoped to during the presentation. Reason
being I had allowed my nerves to get the best of me. Due to nerves I couldn’t
remember all the things I had prepared to say. I was very disappointed with my
performance and if given another chance I would read and research more about
observation and presentation skills. Moving on from here the learning objective
I have set for myself is work on research and presentation skills. I believed
If I had researched enough I would have acquired enough knowledge to present my
information even when under pressure and also asking for help when needed. This
applies to HCPC 3