In my previous essay’s I wrote about how I observed two children at play while at thepark.
One was my friend’s daughter Chloe, who is two and a half and the other who was just two, also her cousin. It was clear that even though they were just six months apart, developmentally both different. I also brought my two 4 year olds with me that day. While at the park I noticed a bunch of children from the ages 3-11.
Several of the kids were with which I assumed to be their child care workers, who kept a close look at them but at the same time did not stand right over them and let the kids socialize and have the freedom to explore and play in a safe manner. The children were only interacting with each other and did not fully accept other children around them that also wanted to play with them. The kids seemed to be of Jewish faith and really seemed to enjoy climbing different structures of the jungle gym and other balances beams that were available. They were very outgoing and adventurous and did not seem to show they were scared of anything.
Other than the obvious closeness to the group, the kidsseemed to be well developed and appeared to fit in with the ages they were. I wentahead and spoke with one of the child care workers from which looked like a day care to me that they were from, at this point my four year olds were playing with a bunch of kidswhile my friend watched them. The child care worker told me the children were all related and have been toschool and after school activities since they were in preschool. The kids were not formally instructed to avoid other children, but it was told to me that they just like to stay with their own culture. The children continued to play together and when other children from the park came in the playground, the kids simply moved to the side and did not make any attempts to invite or interact with new kids entering the park. Thenew kids who entered the park came in with their bikes, some kids had jumping ropesand chalk and they all laid their belongings on the side near a fence. Without asking any permission, one of the kids from the day care center went towards the bike and began to ride it.
He was about 9 years old. The boy who came in with the bike approachedthe other child and told him that the bike was his and that he will share his bike but it was not nice that he just went on without asking him first. This child appeared to be about 9 or 10 as well and spoke in a mature manner. The children from the day care center left shortly after the bike incident and did not wave or smile to any of the childrenin the playground as they left. I was curious on why they worker did not tell the boy to get off the bike and ask him why did he take it upon himself to do that. As I watched himget on, so did she.
At that time, I turned my attention back to my own kids who were playing a gameof kick ball. They were playing with a bunch of little kids who appeared to be from the ages 4-7, both boys and girls. The group played fairly and I did notice that one little boy looked like he could have benefited to belong in a smaller group, his attention was clearly being distracted. The ball they were using was not very sturdy and was about the size of a soccer ball. While the children of which I believed were of average functioning 4-7 year olds, kicked the ball without any problems the other child was unable to make any contact with the ball. If the ball was of a bigger size and the playing field was made smaller in diameter I believe the child would have been able to kick the ball. Although the child appeared to be about 6 years old, his play was limited by an obvious disability.
They physical aspect of the play was impeded by his under developed gross motor skill and his coordination and muscle strength were lacking and due to his weakness, his ability to run to the base was not there. The game as statedwas kickball and although the rules were made known before the game, the children at all different times of the game seemed to tweak and bend the rules for their own satisfaction. The multiple pitching attempts for this one child is an example of this. The kids gave him several more chances to make contact with the ball in an effort for him tofeel included. He finally kicked the ball after many attempts but did not make it past first base. The expression of happiness once he did kick the ball showed that changing the rules for him was worth it. The other children were all cognitively aware of the reasoning behind giving him multiple chances and their decision to cooperate with including this child to play with his limitation and accommodations proves that the children were all socially mature and able to play games with rules but were accepting of others who require special interventions.
I was amazed at my own children, being so young and not fully understanding what people have to go through in life, they did not seem to be bother that the boy have multiple chances to kick the ball and they seemed to look pasthis disability and were there all for the fun of the game. Overall, except for the above mentioned child, the children involved in the game of kick ball engaged appropriately and seemed to have met their age appropriate milestone both physically and mentally. The children observed proved to be on track with theirplay development and showed positive acceptance to others with special need.
The children who were under the card of child care workers seemed socially underdeveloped. Although their physical appearance appeared of normal development,their social skills were obviously lacking. This may be due to their culture of being only with each other and resisting involvement with those outside their culture and religion. Their motor and physical play seemed well developed however, their social play and following the rules proved to be underdeveloped; I believe that if they had any redirection and teaching from the adults, this would help these children strengthen their ability to join in social environments outside of their faith and culture.
I believe if children or adults choose to use public spaces like parks and playgrounds, all that are theremust be respectful and especially when possessions are involved using them properly. Children, like adults do not have to agree with or like everyone or everything they see and encounter, but respect for others and their property should be observed in allaspects of play.