This investigation examined the development of young children's behaviors on swings in the outdoor play environment and their emerging understanding of the physics principles associated with those behaviors. The children's language interactions were also examined in an effort to determine the relationship between language and cognitive development in their construction of physical knowledge. The procedures involved observing the children's behaviors and collecting samples of their spontaneous language interactions during their swinging activities. Informal interviews were also conducted with individual and groups of children. The findings indicate that young children's swinging behaviors develop in eight hierarchical stages. As these behaviors develop, children experiment with the physics principles of balance, gravity, force, resistance, and resonance. Children's swinging behaviors develop in a social context. Many early behaviors are acquired through observing and modeling other children. Language provides the medium for more-experienced peers to assist novice swingers through encouragement and direct instruction. The stage development of swinging behaviors is compared to Cratty's Theory of Perceptual-Motor Development and Harrow's Taxonomy of the Psychomotor Domain. Children's cognitive processing and language interactions are discussed in the context of Piagetian and Vygotskian theories of development. Implications for instruction and suggestions for further research are discussed.
This study describes the language behaviors and social strategies of English as Second Language (ESL) and English as Primary Language (EPL) pre-kindergarten students during cooperative Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) experiences. Thirty-three pre-kindergarten subjects ages four to five years, were videotaped at two personal computers during self-selected center time. The sources of data for this descriptive study were a parent computer survey, videotapes, a subject interview derived from the Young Children's Computer Inventory, and written records.
In this study, 78 kindergarten and first-grade children were interviewed about their writing to identify indicators of self-assessment. Writing samples for each participant were saved over a three month period, then compared and discussed by the child. Results indicated that these young children did engage in self:-assessment behaviors. The classroom teachers were asked to place the participants in their classes along a writing continuum known as a Writing Band. Graphs were presented to show the writing levels of the children by classroom. In addition, each classroom was surveyed to document events which promote literacy development within the framework of an integrated curriculum. Writing samples for each child were collected and kept in a portfolio. Participants were interviewed regarding the contents of the portfolio. Children in two of the kindergarten classes were interviewed using 5 samples collected over a 2 1/2 month time period, and all other participants were interviewed using 6 writing samples collected over a 3 month period. Findings indicated that not only did these young children recognize growth in their writing, but they also assessed that growth based on outward, physical features of their writing. The writing ability of each child at the beginning of the study did not appear to affect the child's ability to self-assess writing growth. Children on the first 4 Writing Bands, A, B, C, and D self-assessed using similar criteria. Additional findings suggested that many of these young children knew there was a thought process involved with choosing topics to be written about. The results of this study suggested implications for continued investigations into using self-assessment with young children. For example, it was proposed that varying the learning environment may change the criteria that children use for self-assessment. Further research was recommended that would identify student and teacher behaviors that enhance self-assessment.