1. The class is a group of preschool children, ages three to five, with learning disabilities. The chosen child, Molly, is five years old. She attends this facility, Pathfinder Readiness in the mornings and attends regular kindergarten in the afternoon. Pathfinder Readiness is a non-profit agency providing a wide range of intervention, remedial, and compensatory services for learning disabled preschool children.
2. The observation takes place in the main indoor classroom-playroom for the preschool group. The room consists of a rather large space subdivided into play areas for differing purposes. One end of the room is set up for dramatic play with a doll house and child-sized furniture arranged on an area rug. Behind this dramatic play area is a cabinet and counter with scientific things and an aquarium for the children to enjoy. Other areas of the room include a library-reading corner with another rug surrounded by low book shelves. Elsewhere in the room are tables surrounded by chairs--work areas for a variety of different activities. The teacher's desk is off to one side so that she may observe rather unobtrusively.
3. Present on this particular day are the head teacher, an assistant teacher, a visiting father, myself, and twelve children. The head teacher is occupied with a group of children constructing with wooden blocks. She is not helping exactly, merely conferring with the children as they work out their aims, giving them feedback on which shapes fit together to accomplish the purposes for the construction. The assistant teacher is reading to two children in the library corner. The father is spending the morning with his son, who is showing Dad around the room. I am seated at one of the work tables in the central open area of the room.
4. Molly, the child I have chosen to observe, is slender, small-boned and of medium height. She has blue eyes and short, brown hair. Her skin is fair and her manner ...