Assignment #1

SW 3701 – Infant/ Toddler Field Observation

Your assignment is to spend a concentrated period of time, at least one hour, closely observing an infant or a toddler. You will take notes on your observation* and use your notes to write an objective account that describes the physical appearance of the infant/toddler, the actual setting of the observation, and the activities of the infant or toddler, in the order they occurred, including interactions with you and with anyone else present. Compare what you observed in this actual “field setting” with what you have learned in this and other courses about the development and activities of a child of this age and gender. Write a description of what you observed, and then comment on the child’s developmental progress and any issues you identify. Bring your notes to class to discuss in a small group exercise. Include comments on the following topics.

  1. Compare what you observed in this “real life” experience with what is described for “Families with Young Children” in the Stages of the Family Life Cycle (Handout);
  2. Analyze the behavior of an infant according to the reflexes of infants; analyze the infant’s or toddler’s behavior according to milestones in motor development, milestones in cognitive and emotional development and/ or other features ofinfant and toddler development;
  3. Assess how well the experience you observed (or have information about) fits with the concepts in the handouts and Hutchison’s chapter and power points;
  4. What did you learn or understand better as a result of this exercise, and how can you apply your understanding as a social worker?

The class will form small groups to discuss each student’s observation. The Instructor will spend time with each group and will document students’ notes.

*Make every possible effort to spend time in a setting where you can observe (and possibly interact with) an infant or toddler (from birth through the age of 3). If this is not possible, through consultation with the instructor you may choose an experience you have observed in the past or have been told about (for instance, your own infancy), or you may interview someone who can recall this information.

Grading Rubric:

There are 10 possible points for this assignment; students receive a maximum of 5 points for written notes fully documenting the observation and a written analysis following the above guidelines; students receive a maximum of 5 points for presenting the observation and participating in the small class discussion group.

This assignment counts towards 10% of the final grade.

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