Exploring Child Development: Observations and Influences on 4-5-Year-Olds - Essay Sample

Published: 2024-01-30
Exploring Child Development: Observations and Influences on 4-5-Year-Olds - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Child development
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1315 words
11 min read

Typical development in children around the age of 4-5 years

Observation in child development is critical as it helps adults understand the strengths and weaknesses that a child may have. The story of children varies with years and as they grow. This means that they start to develop specific skills and traits from year one upwards. Around year 4-5, there is much that happens. As far as feelings and behavior are concerned, children try to make new friends play a lot, and get involved in many physical activities. At this stage, children are exploring and learning how to express their feelings and emotions through talking, using gestures, and even making noises. They also like being around people and will start to be anxious about starting school. As a parent, it would be essential to introduce them to the school environment by sharing information about the same or visiting the facility with them (Van Haaften et al.,2020).

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When it comes to moving, your child is more active and tries to get better at walking steps while doing other things like kicking a ball or swinging on poles, jumping, dancing, and even balancing on one foot. In terms of thinking, the child will try to understand more about opposites. You will also be able to see that your child likes telling stories and having conversations. As a parent, it is essential to monitor your child and ensure that at this stage, they do not have issues with hearing and seeing, relating with other children during play sessions, and eating, dressing, or using the toilet.

Description of child and location

The child's description, in this case, is one living in a developing country that faces social issues of poverty and lack of proper education. The child observed was a boy with torn clothes and having black hair. In most cases, children that grow in this environment tend to have the mentality that one cannot come out of such an environment successfully, which ends up discouraging most of them. The setup surrounding this particular child was poor infrastructure, lack of basic needs like clothing, proper housing, and inadequate health facilities. Children under this environment lack adequate education and exposure to good and better lifestyles that may psychologically affect them for the entire period of their lives (Jensen et al., 2017). The study has shown that 10% of these particular children grow have believed that there is no better life apart from living in such surroundings. However, with the development of many Non-governmental organizations, such children have been able to get access to good education and have even seen some of them getting out of such environment and living better lives. Having a suitable environment for your child's growth is essential for their development, impacting them positively in the long run (Perkins et al., 2017).

Things observed from the child when playing and skills developed

After watching this child, I noticed that their interactions with others were good. Even though the environment around him was not favorable as it should be, the child was still joyful and did not show signs of being disappointed or feeling like a lesser child. Also, the boy seemed to be a fast learner and swift in making decisions. This showed that if this child got useful guidance and education, they would develop to become a responsible person. This child played with energy and without fear, and I did realize that in some cases, one's environment may not determine their reactions and feelings about themselves and that some people will appreciate their setting no matter how bad it may look. Some of the skills I noticed to have been developed by this child included speech and language mastering, the ability to learn, as well as social and emotional growth.

Types of play according to Mildred Parten

According to Mildred Parten's stages of play theory, there are six different play types that children get involved in. As per her approach, the game settings refer to children's social behavior between the ages of 2 to 5 years engage in. In her study, she focused on free play among children as defined as anything that is not related to profit generation, production, and survival (Maithya, & Ndegwa, 2016). The six different types, therefore, are as follows:

Unoccupied play

This refers to the game whereby a child is not engaging in any activity but instead observing everything around them. This could be in one place or moving around the area. This looks like the child is exploring the business and learning something from the environment. It is an integral part of the play as it lays the foundation for the other forms of the game.

Solitary play

Also referred to as independent play, this involves the child being alone and focusing on their activities. In this case, the child will be less concerned about what others are doing and include children entertaining themselves without engaging in other social activities. Children need to master new personal skills.

Onlooker play

In this type of play, children observe others' freedom and develop some skills from them. The child will engage in the game in form of social interactions. This play is essential to children as it enables them to learn more about the surrounding.

Parallel play

In this, a child gets a chance to play separately from the others but at the same time being close to them and tries to mimic them. Although children may not play together, it helps them to warm up and learn new ways to engage with each other.

Association play

Children try to express interest in the people playing but not in the activity being engaged in. There is a lot of interaction between the participants. This helps children in using their social skills to engage with others.

Cooperative play

In this type, children express their interest in the people playing and the activity they are engaged in. However, this play is associated with many conflicts, and it is thus essential for adults to stay close to children during this stage.

The skills observed that fit each domain (physical, cognitive, psychological)

Children at the age of 4-5 years show different crafts that do in each of the various specific fields. The physical skills under this age include a constant gain of weight and height, failure to sit for an extended period, and loss of protruding stomach. The cognitive abilities include limited understanding of cause and effect, egocentric thinking, vivid or clear imaginations, and concrete thinking. On the other hand, the psychological skills involve things like understanding the right and wrong leads, being curious, and having the desire to try new things and delay gratification (May et al.,2019).


Van Haaften, L., Diepeveen, S., van den EngelHoek, L., de Swart, B., & Maassen, B. (2020). Speech sound development in typically developing 2–7yearold Dutchspeaking children: A normative crosssectional study. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1460-6984.12575

Jensen, S. K., Berens, A. E., & Nelson, 3rd, C. A. (2017). Effects of poverty on interacting biological systems underlying child development. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 1(3), 225-239. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S235246421730024X

Perkins, J. M., Kim, R., Krishna, A., McGovern, M., Aguayo, V. M., & Subramanian, S. V. (2017). Understanding the association between stunting and child development in low-and middle-income countries: Next steps for research and intervention. Social Science & Medicine, 193, 101-109. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027795361730583X

Maithya, E. W. M. D. P., & Ndegwa, L. (2016). Effects of Play On Performance Of Learners In Early Childhood Development And Education Centers Of Kyuso Sub-County-Kenya.

May, T., Chan, E. S., Lindor, E., McGinley, J., Skouteris, H., Austin, D., ... & Rinehart, N. J. (2019). Physical, cognitive, psychological, and social effects of dance in children with disabilities: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-14. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09638288.2019.1615139

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