Object Concept

Observation Assignment

Object Concept

Focus for Observation:.

  • Observe an infant engaged who is in a calm, alert state (i.e., not sleeping, not fussing, not busy climbing or crawling). During your observation, try out one of the “object hiding” or “object dropping” scenarios listed on your Object Permanence handout from class. Choose one scenario from the descriptions within the age group for the infant you are observing, and then choose one that is in the next older age group (should be a more difficult task/concept).
  • Watch and listen carefully. Pay attention to details of children’s gaze, eye movements, facial expressions, gestures, sounds and vocalizations, fine and gross motor movements, interactions with objects, and interactions with other people. Similarly, pay careful attention to and record the details of the adult’s behavior (for any adult involved in this interaction in some way).
  • For this specific observation, look carefully and try to see in the infant’s exploration examples that might relate to the object concept.
  • You’ll want to take notes during this observation. And you may want to add to the notes you made during the observation shortly after the observation is over. Your notes should be VERY detailed and should, as much as you can, describe events as they are connected in time-try to capture the ‘story line’ of what is happening, not just isolated images. We can hold a lot of detailed information like this in our heads for only a short period of time before we forget it. So get it down on paper as soon as you can.
  • Photos and/or video can also be very helpful (if you have parent permission for the children in your program for this).
  • Use the Observation form to summarize you observation notes. Refer to the Observation form with “notes” for guidance.
  • Complete the Interpretation and Reflection Questions section of the Observation form. Use the Observation Form with prompts, including the reflection prompts below to guide your writing.

Assignment-specific reflection questions

For your focus child, ask yourself what you think is going on in this child’s mind during the time you have been observing. Look at your observation and interpretations. Now reflect on and write about these questions:

  • Which 2 “scenarios” did you try out?
  • What did the infant do when you hid or dropped the toy/object in each of the events you tried out? Did the infant reach or look for the object?
  • Was the response of the infant what you expected in each instance? Explain.
  • What do you think was going on in the infant’s mind during each scenario?
  • How do you think that Piaget would explain what you observed?
  • How do you think that Renee Baillargeon would explain it?
  • What do you wonder about this infant’s understanding of objects?
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