Although some scientific discoveries are the result of unplanned events, the majority of new insights, in any field of study, are the culmination of lengthy processes characterized by scientific rigor and established research methods. This is also true in the field of child development where direct observations of children in their natural environments have, over time, produced insights which have, sometimes dramatically, altered the ways we care for and interact with children. Review pages 179-180 in the Berger text for an example of how research, over time, has influenced our approach to one specific child development topic.
This week, you embark on a special assignment as you observe young children in their natural environment. As you prepare for this complex and challenging task, know that you are in excellent company. Right now, researchers all over the world are doing what you are being asked to do: open your mind, your heart, your eyes, your ears, and be fully present as you observe these children. Take your passion for the early childhood field and your caring, respectful attitude towards children into your observation, and enjoy this unique opportunity to experience how theoretical concepts you study in this course come alive. Before you observe, review the examples of major developments in the three domains from your child development chart, and review the course media for this week. Study these resources carefully so that your observation takes place with a clear focus on infants and toddlers.