I did my observation at Miss Mela Footsteps to Learning of children aged between three and five years. It is a licensed pre-school which is privately owned and aims at equipping children with education and foundation that is essential to enter kindergarten.
On my first day, I arrived before break time and welcomed by Gina who is a teacher at the preschool. When break time bell rang, boys were the first to come out of their classes followed by girls. Unlike the boys, girls were in no hurry and walked out in pairs holding and talking to dolls. Some had cats, dogs, lions, bears, and kitten dolls. The boys were very active, and they soon started playing hide and seek while others began chasing each other around the compound. Girls sat down in groups singing to their dolls. When I asked Gina what type of songs they were singing, she told me they were lullabies. She explained that she had taught them to recognize their dolls as young ones who needed soothing melodies to make them sleep. Soon a small fight ensued between two boys; the younger complained that, the older five-year boy whom I came to learn later was Alex had taken his sweet. My intervention, however, solved the issue, and about three minutes later, the boys and wholly forgotten and continued with their game.
When the bell rang, this time it was the girls who ran inside first followed by boys who strolled. The girls took the front sits but soon after I arranged them in pairs, a boy, and a girl. I later explained to Miss Gina that this was important to make sure that the children understood and appreciated each other irrespective of their gender as they prepared to enter kindergarten. While Miss Gina was talking to them, I noticed five of the twelve children were keenly listening to what she was saying while the rest were busy playing with their pencils and erasers which were animal shaped. When she paused and looked at them, it took them ten to twenty seconds to notice and realize what they were doing was wrong and they needed to stop. After that, they would put their razors and pencils down and give her attention.
During my first week at the Miss Mela Footsteps to Learning, I had difficulty creating a relationship with the children. Some of the kids did not want to talk to me while others seemed to be shy when I was around. When I spoke to Gina if this was normal given her experience dealing with the children, she told me that at the beginning of every year she is also faced with that challenge. When their parents leave children, they would always cry, become irritated, and others uneasy. Learning from her experience, I concluded that with time. We would get along very well since they must have experienced stranger anxiety. I came to understand the theory that when growing or in the early stages of development boys are outgoing and girls tend to be reserved during my stay in the pre-school. Each time we sat and played with the children, I quickly noticed that girls talked less and seemed to either shy or reserved whereas the boys were not only rambunctious but very wild.
Development of the language among the children was outstanding. I observed that the five years old had less of mistakes in their sentence construction though there was the existence of morpheme problems in their grammar. This I noticed when during my interaction with the older ones when playing and when babysitting the younger ones. Whereas the five-year-olds had problems with the tenses, that is the past, present, and future, the four and three-year-olds had difficulties in the use of prefixes, suffixes, and prepositions.
Another thing I observed Miss Mela Footsteps to Learning is the existence of imitation. I noticed the children were very fond of imitating, each other, their babysitters, and some things they see back at home. I could look at the kids imitating parental behaviors like carrying a baby on their back or trying to breastfeed their dolls just like the way they see their mothers, aunts, or neighbors doing. One time I noticed a child imitating what Miss Gins was doing. She would follow her around the school compound, trying to step on spots she had passed, talk with an imaginary phone whenever Gina receive a call, and almost followed her into the washrooms had I not kept a close watch of the happenings. The boys would cause a lot of trouble in the school when they started imitating each other. There was one time one boy started barking like a dog jumping from one corner of the class and the others followed. I had to ask for an extra hand from the other staff to control them. Other unique imitations act I noticed among the boys was standing on chairs, running and playing in specific location whenever one started especially the older ones. Among the girls, I saw whenever one little girl started playing with her doll; the others would begin playing with theirs too. This can be interpreted to mean that children learn from their models hence the need to set a good example for them.
I enjoyed by observation period at Miss Mela Footsteps to Learning and integrated by class learning about social work and volunteering into practice. I also learned more about the reason why children behave in specific ways and the best conditions to prepare them for kindergarten.
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