I observed a five-year-old child named Greg in a daycare setting for one working week. The following account is an objective recording of my observations over a five day period. I had hoped that during this extended period I would see a full range of child behaviors, and I was not disappointed. Because I wanted to remain as inconspicuous as possible, I tried to blend into the scenery at the daycare center. I asked the teachers not to call attention to me, and I did not solicit any attention from the children.
Greg was a normal child in all developmental respects; in other words, by observing him, I expected to see some typical behaviors for a child his age. I tried not to think about what I should see, but rather to see what actually occurred, in as objective a manner as possible.
I started my observation on a Monday, as parents dropped off their children in a rush to make it to work on time. Greg's father checked him in with the staff, and Greg quickly headed for his favorite table. He had a cardboard box of juice in his hand, and continued to sip it while his father exchanged some small talk with the teachers. He waved goodbye to his father, enjoying his juice. As other children arrived, Greg got up from the table and mingled with the others. He spent all his time talking to the other boys, rarely pausing to acknowledge the presence of the girls. The girls clustered together on one side of the room, and the boys formed groups on the other.
Greg's shoes were untied, as if he had left the house in a hurry that morning. I was afraid he was going to trip over his laces, but I didn't intervene. I continued to note that he didn't pay any attention to the fact that he was walking around with floppy laces. While the other students continued to drift in, Greg (and some of the others) went to a box of toys. Greg chose a flexible plastic or rubber action figure that could be pulled, twisted, or bent in any direction ...