Observing Harry: Child Development and Learning 0-5

By Cath Arnold | Go to book overview

1 Getting to know Harry and
his family

In this chapter, we introduce Harry and his family. Harry is 8 months old and is sitting on the floor at our house when the following observation is made:

'Harry spent a good ten minutes manipulating and examining an
old leather pouch. Then he spent about five minutes laughing and
giggling while Colette (his mum) balanced it on her head and let it
fall repeatedly. She would place it on her head. He would look
towards her hand as she lowered it, as though, at first, he did not
realize that she had left the pouch on her head. After a few turns,
he blinked as he was waiting for the pouch to fall (as though he
began to anticipate that it would fall)'.

From reading this observation, we can deduce that Harry is very interested in the pouch. We can also deduce that he does not necessarily link his mum's movement towards her head with placing the pouch on top of her head. He continues to track her hand, which, as far as he is aware, is holding the pouch. After his mum has left the pouch on her head and let it fall several times, he seems to recognize this as a sequence of events that is being repeated over and over again. He learns that somehow the pouch is left on his mum's head (or disappears from his sight) before falling off (or reappearing) and that this is a game his mum is currently playing with him. Athey (1990) states that 'the movement aspects of objects are noted before their static configuration' (p. 135). What captures and holds Harry's attention may be the 'movement' of his mum's hand rather than the object she is moving. Athey also notes that young children become interested in

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