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Posted on April 12th, 2014, by

It is known that human behavior has already been studied and widely discussed in scientific literature. In accordance with Christine Lynn Norton, “child and adolescent development has been highlighted due to the sensitive and important shifts in human development”¯ (7). As child and adolescent development is diverse and includes such aspects as biological and psychological, cognitive and moral, spiritual and relational, to better understand this issue, it is necessary to refer to the theories of Jean Piaget, Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson and Lev Vygotsky. The stages of child development that will be discussed in this paper include early childhood (2 Ā½ – 6 years) and middle childhood (6-12 years). The major goal is to observe children (ages 2-12) interacting together at a playground, record their interactions as well as the independent behaviors for a specific period of time and analyze those behaviors in terms of the theories of development according to Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, SigmundĀ  Freud, and Erik Erikson.


This observation is made at the playground of a primary school. Six children, 3 boys: Tom (6 year old), Dan (6 years old) and Anthony (9 year old), and 3 girls: Lina (10 years old), Mary (7 years old) and Kitty (6 years old) are interacting together. All children are engaged in specific activities, including playing with a ball, talk-interactions, games, dancing and listening to music, and drawing.

10-00 a.m. Tom and Dan are playing with a ball. Anthony and Lina are talking about the presents they got on Christmas. Mary and Kitty are dancing. Mary is showing Kitty several new body movements she learnt at her dance class. The girls show great interest in this activity.

10:40 a.m. Tom is talking to Kitty. He wants her to give him her bicycle. Mary and Lina are playing with a ball. Dan and Anthony show there interest in drawing. They are drawing cars and planes. Anthony’s drawings are better than Dan’s ones. The boys begin to quarrel.

11:00 a.m. The girls are learning to skip 30 times, hop on one foot 20-30 times and try not to lose their balance. They also learn to walk in a straight line with their eyes shut. The boys are standing at the wall and just talking about the new cartoons that are going to watch tonight. They discuss their favorite cartoon characters.

11:30 a.m. The girls are involved in the role-play: Lina is a teacher and other girls are the students. The girls are having their math class. They use a wall instead of the blackboard. Lina is arguing with Mary because she does not want her to be a teacher. The boys are arguing about the use of the bicycle. Both Tom and Anthony have a great desire to ride a bicycle, but they have only one bicycle.

12:30 a.m. Lina, Mary and Kitty are involved in the second role-play. Mary is a shop ”“assistant, Lina and Kitty are customers. They use stones and paper instead of money. The boys are playing with a ball.


Each of the theories plays an important role in the study of child and adolescent behavior. In addition these theories help to better understand how interventions in the health of children and adolescents should be developmentally appropriate.

It is found that Freud’s theories highlight the major psychosexual stages of child development. Erikson’s theories discuss social-emotional growth and development of children. Piaget’s theories are focused on children’s intellectual development. Piaget states that “knowledge is acquired through action”¯ (Norton 7). It means that through early experiences and actions of children, children develop and implement certain schemas to see the world around them. Piaget’s theories help to better understand how “children adapt these schemas through assimilation and accommodation processes. Vygotsky’s theories are based on activity of children and discuss the significant role of “learning and growth through play and activity”¯ (Norton 8). Vygotsky’s theories explore the gradual development of autonomy and children’s interdependence. Ā Lev Vygotsky is sure that the educational environment of children should be focused on the zone of proximal development, which can be defined as “the gap between what children can accomplish independently and what they can accomplish when they are interacting with others who are more competent”¯ (Norton 8).

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