Running Head: Child Case Study

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Child Case Study

The child’s name is Mark Kennedy and he is four years old and was born on 15 March 2006. This study was carried-out in California where the child lives with his parents. First, I sought permission from the parents to use their child as my case study and spent time with him to learn more. I choose Mark because he is used to me therefore he would not change his behavior in my presence, which would have affected the accuracy of my research. The study took two months. Mark attends an elementary school in the neighborhood and I would observe him with the permission of the class teacher both in class and out of class. This enabled me to capture his cognitive, language and social abilities in school. I also observed Mark as he interacted with his parents and peers at home. I compared Mark with his classmates and playmates at home with the permission of the class teacher and their parents respectively

Mark is 42 inches tall, weighs 13 kilograms, has a body temperature of 36.8 degrees Celsius, his pulse per minute average is 98 and has a visual acuity of 20/40. Other children in Mark’s age weighed between 14-17 kilograms and most of them had a visual acuity of 20/30 (Inhelder, et al., 1969). Apart from these differences, the rest were in the same range. Mark’s gross motor skills are that he walks straight, can climb trees, can pedal and steer a wheeled toy and is careful not to pump it on objects on the way. He can jump from an object and land on two feet, runs around objects easily, runs in a circle and hops fifteen times without falling. Amazingly, other children did not hop for more than five times, which means that Mark was way ahead of them. Some of the kids could not climb trees at all and had difficulties in controlling their toys.

Mark’s fine motor skills are drawing and painting purposively. He spends a good portion of his time drawing. He holds his crayons with a tripod grasp and with instruction, he draws letters, shapes, and uses plasticine to produce things like trees and other objects in his surrounding. He is also good at aiming objects; he hits a nail with a hammer on the head and can throw stones to a target. He dresses and undresses himself with the help of his parents and goes to the toilet by himself. His mates in school can do the same things with ease but his ability to aim is more pronounced than for the other children. Again, his drawing skills are more pronounced and this has earned him many presents in school.

According McDevitt and Ormrod (2009) Mark is growing normally apart from the fact that he is a little bit underweight since children his age should weigh between 14-17 kilograms and his visual acuity is low since the appropriate one is 20/30. In addition, he exhibits skills for a five-year-old like hopping for fifteen minutes without falling.

Mark can count from number one to twenty using sticks. When the ten sticks are arranged in two piles, one containing six sticks and the other four and he asked to comment on the sizes of the piles, he says the group with six sticks is bigger than that with four sticks. He shows a good understanding of quantity. When given one ice cream he usually asks for more; this shows he has an understanding of quantity. He can write his name and is very good in story telling. He loves drawing and coloring his drawings (Opper & Ginsburg, 1979). He can spend twenty minutes drawing before he engages in other activities. It is not easy to disrupt Mark from his drawing book and he only leaves drawing when he is tired. Mark is very experimental and likes taking challenges head-on. Mark is very observant and can tell when something is missing from its usual place. One day I took the frying pan from its usual place, where it hangs on the wall and he asked me of its where about. When I asked him what had prompted his question, he answered that the wall looked different. He is also very experimental with crayons and like shading with different colors (Opper & Ginsburg, 1979).

One day he used a yellow crayon on top of a ball drawing he had already painted green and he got a green color. Although he did not know the name of the colors, he could relate that he had one other crayon, which had the same color as the mixture of the two crayons. This is one of the things he discovered by himself. Mark’s short-term memory is excellent. If he saw someone in the morning and the same person appears in the afternoon, he will recall that he came in the morning. He also knows the daily activities well. Everyday he wakes up, goes straight to the bathroom to wash his face and brushes his teeth. He remembers the routine activities. His long-term memory is not good. He easily forgets what happened in the previous week unless it was a big event, which he really enjoyed. He is very pre-occupied with himself and thinks everything should belong to him. Any attempts to take anything from him results into crying. Jean Piaget’s cognitive theory shows that Mark is in the pre-operational stage. This is heckled by the fact that Mark likes taking everything for himself. According to Jean Piaget, Mark is progressing normally for a child his age (Opper & Ginsburg, 1979).

.                Mark pronounces most of the words clearly but has a problem with few words especially those starting with “th.” Mostly he replaces “th” with “t”. Instead of saying “three,” he says “tree.” Apart from this, the rest of the syllables are well pronounced. His vocabulary is good and is on the same level with the rest of the children his age. He understands his mates and easily communicates with them. When given two or three instructions in a question, he easily tackles that. For example, when he is told to draw a ball, color and copy its name, he can easily do the first two but easily forgets to reproduce the name. The word that he misunderstands the most is squat since most of the time he sits. He uses good grammar but has a problem with personal pronouns. He uses “she” for a boy and vice versa. This can be attributed to the many friends he has of both genders making it hard for him to draw the difference. Still it is a young age and he has not learnt how to use the pronouns appropriately. Mark likes speaking all the times, he likes airing his views and is very loud. In class, he likes saying whatever comes in his mind when the teacher poses a question, even when it is not his turn to answer. He therefore speaks at inappropriate times. While speaking he uses gestures and facial expressions most. One of his best facial expressions is of bewilderment. According to Jean Piaget, Mark is growing appropriately since his concentration on language in this stage is evident (Inhelder, et al., 1969).

Mark recognizes letters easily especially from 1 to 20 and can say this letters aloud. This shows he recognizes each letter has a corresponding sound. Mark can decode texts for simple words like cup, pen and hat among others. He knows sight words and uses them to learn. He understands the word he is taught in schools and read them out fluently. According to McDevitt and Ormrod (2009), Mark is progressing normally for his age.

Mark plays hide and seek, driving toys, karate, football arranging blocks and piling them upon one another as if building a tower and two-dimensional art. Hide and seek and driving of toys is pretense and to some extent, hide and seek is social too, since it involves a lot of laughing and interaction as one child looks for the others. While driving a toy, Mark makes sounds equivalent to those made by cars and negotiates invisible corners. Karate and football are practice and piling of blocks and two-dimensional art are constructive and help a lot with algebra. Mark plays hide and seek with both male and female friends but piles blocks with males. Most of his karate practices are with boys because the girls shy away from the game and most of them are afraid of being hurt. The girls prefer playing with the dolls and pretending to cook or playing a mother role. Mark interacts with his peers very well, especially the boys. He has a hard time tolerating girls who cry easily and can be aggressive especially if the girl is mean. He loves leading and always comes up with new stories most of them made up. He also comes up with many ideas and influences the others to follow him. He also has a taste for good things and when he is taken out for shopping, he picks trendy things. He can be friendly and cooperative as long as the other children reciprocate the good behavior. If they do not, he tends to be aggressive. When another child treats him aggressively, he responds with aggression but if it is too much, he seeks refuge in his parents (Shaffer, 2009). Most of the children love him because he is so creative and fun to be around. In return, Mark shares some things he has been given by his parents with them.

The parent-child interaction is good. The parents share a close relationship with the child. The child is very open to the parents and shares most of his thoughts with them. In the presence of his parents, Mark hides his impatience towards girls and pretends to be the victim even when he has beaten up other boys so that his parents can defend him. Fortunately, Mark’s parents are aware of this behavior and discipline him when it is exhibited. One day Mark beat one girl and she started crying but on seeing his father, he began crying and reported the girl. His father apprehended him and to him that it was wrong to beat up anyone and if he saw him repeat that act, he would make sure he took his new toy. This had an effect on him and this behavior has since declined.

Mark loves behaving like a grown-up in their presence and is close and affectionate to them. Mark is in the second stage of psychosocial development. This is because it deals with autonomy v shame and doubt and that is what takes place in Marks life (Shaffer, 2009). He wants to lead and make decisions. He does not cry easily unless when he is on the wrong and wants to escape reprimands. His moods change with circumstances but he is not easily frustrated even when things are not working out. He gets unhappy but goes back to try the same thing after some time. Before he knew how to pile blocks, he would really get annoyed when they fell but he kept trying until he got the concept He has a high self-esteem and this is shown by how he approaches situations even in the blink of failure. He also likes leading and the children gladly follow. According to Erickson, Mark is progressing normally.

Mark’s is doing very well socially since he is interacting with his peers and is assertive. His physically development is average but he is underweight compared too the other children his age and has a poor vision. Other children weigh between 14-17 kilograms and have a visual acuity of 20/30. His strength is that he is more advanced in his motor skills since he hops more times than the other children (Engler, 2008). Cognitively he is average though he has a poor long term memory, his academic and creative skills are good. His emotional stability is amazing since he tends to behave like a grown up in the face of challenge. He does not cry much but draws joy both intrinsically and extrinsically. He therefore has higher rating than his mates.  His literary and language skills are less developed that those of the other children. For example, while other children can use personal and possessive pronouns correctly, Mark has difficulties with them and uses them incorrectly.

I have learnt a lot from this case study first, I was challenged by Mark’s determination. I never knew children could be so determined. It was surprising to see Mark continue piling blocks after several failures. This is one experience to reckon. The idea of language being essential in this stage has been reinforced. This is because Mark talked very much. Autonomy is very dominant in this area. Mark always liked to be independent and experimental. This experience has increased my desire to do research further on children Mark’s age. By use of more case studies, I believe I will discover something new about four year olds. I have learnt to be assertive and to persevere. I will apply these lessons now and in future



Engler, B. (2008). Personality theories: An introduction. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Inhelder, B., Weaver, H., & Piaget, J. (1969). The Psychology of the Child. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

Mcdevitt & Ormrod (2009). Child Development and Education Pie Package. New Delhi, Delhi: Addison-Wesley Longman, Incorporated.

Opper, S., & Ginsburg, H. (1979). Piaget’s theory of intellectual development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Shaffer, D. R. (2009). Social and personality development. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

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