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Application: Observing Infant or Toddler Interactions
[A]ll development—and especially social-emotional development—emerges over time and through interactions with others.
—Rebecca Parlakian and Nancy Seibel, Building Strong Foundations (p. 5)
Pediatrician and noted child psychiatrist Stanley Greenspan writes about six essential developmental stages (Parlakian & Seibel, 2002, p. 6). Each stage, also termed developmental goal, describes the growth of intelligence and social-emotional competency in the context of infants’ and toddlers’ relationships with important adults. The goal of this assignment is to give you the opportunity to observe interactions between an infant or toddler and a significant adult in order to better understand how adults can foster social-emotional development, including the vital process of development that Greenspan describes.
Plan your observation:
Observe: Sit in an unobtrusive place where you can watch and listen for about 20 minutes. You may need to move out of the infant’s or toddler’s visual range in order to avoid distracting the child and/or influencing his or her interactions with the adult. As you observe:
Reflect on your observation. Review your notes as many times as necessary. Then, describe the interactions you observed between the adults and children as follows:
Note: Do not use the real names of the adult and child. Use only first names, initials, or fictitious names for the child and adult in order to protect their privacy. Remember that you are observing one moment in time, and that the interactions observed may not represent the scope of the interactions between the adult-child dyad.
Submit your reflection. (You are not required to submit your Observation Guide.)
Assignment length: 2–3 pages
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