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Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I.

PROJECT

Educational Psychology P.E.P.S.I. Project

Christine Smith

College of Southern Nevada

Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT


PHYSICAL
The average height of a six year old boy is forty one inches tall, and average weight is
46.2lbs. (1). Boys at this stage of physical development are gaining enough muscle strength and
coordination to hop and skip, and catch a ball. Also, their basic motor skills, such as kicking,
catching, and throwing, continues to improve. Their hand- and foot-eye coordination is still
developing, so skills like throwing, catching, kicking and striking are still emerging. With the
right equipment, however, and a skillful partner (often a parent) their motor skills continue to
improve (2). Some physical skills they should be able to demonstrate include the ability to walk
and runs proficiently in a straight direction. Also, they should be able to travel backwards at a
slow speed, and distinguish between straight, curved and zig-zag pathways. Gradually, they
become better at more complex activities, such as dancing, shooting a basketball, or playing the
piano. One of the most dramatic signs of physical development for this age group is the loss of
baby teeth and their replacement by permanent teeth (3).
Jack is a six year old boy weighing 56lbs and measures 46.5 inches in height, which
indicate he is above average in his physical development compared to an average six year old
boy. He appears to be one of the larger students in his class. This may be attributed to the fact
that his fifth birthday, October 9th, occurs after the Kindergarten entry date of September 30th.
Therefore when he started Kindergarten he was six years old. While most of his classmates were
turning six throughout the school year, he turned six years old only six weeks after he started
Kindergarten. This may attribute to his larger appearance compared to his peers. At the age of
two years old, Jack was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder called Aspergers. Due to
this diagnosis some of his basic motor skills of catching and throwing are affected. However,
with his parents spending time at the park with him on weekends practicing these skills, and
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Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT


enrolling him in a soccer league for exceptional children for the past two years called E-Soccer,
his motor skills have shown noticeable improvement. Jack was also born with a physical birth
defect called club feet. Although surgery shortly after birth corrected this physical birth defect,
he has some difficulty running and jumping with his peers on the playground. Despite Jacks
above average physical growth, his basic motor skills have been affected by both his diagnosis of
Aspergers, and his birth defect of club feet. With concentrated practice of his basic motor skills,
primarily initiated by his family, Jack will master these skills and continue on to develop his fine
motor skills.
EMOTIONAL/BEHAVIORAL
During this time an average six year old boy should be able to express enthusiasm for
work or play, identify their own feelings, and talk about their own feelings in relation to events
going on around them. They should also be able to take turns with their peers most of the time,
and play a group game without constant supervision, and use terms such as thank you, please,
and your welcome(4). Six year olds start to display an increasing awareness of their own and
others' emotions and begin to develop better techniques for self -control. They enjoy sharing
toys and snacks with friends, although conflicts among peers may remain quite frequent.
Predictable routines are important sources of stability and security. Six-year-olds also draw
emotional stability from their interactions with adults with whom they feel secure, particularly
during challenging situations and circumstances.(4) According to Piagets theory of development
children construct an understanding of the world around them, then experience discrepancies
between what they already know and what they discover in their environment. His theory of
development explains the mechanisms and processes by which the infant, and then the child,
develops into an individual who can reason and think using hypotheses (6).
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Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT


Jacks teacher expresses concerns in the following areas; aggression, withdrawal,
attention problems, hyperactivity, and adaptability. He gets easily agitated with his peers
because he does not know what to say or does not have the ability to say it clearly. He
demonstrates the ability the ability to share with his peers, but continues to almost demand to be
first when the class needs to line up at the door to leave the classroom, at times having a tantrum
when he is directed to get into line with his classmates (7). At times, it appears Jack knows what
is expected of him, but will deliberately do the opposite. In some situations, Jack avoids eye
contact, becoming withdrawn, aloof, and even standoffish in group situations. When he is given
a directive, he will begin to argue shouting No, no, no! Jacks phonological delays have a high
impact on his ability to express himself, and be understood by the teaching staff and peers (7).
Continuing his speech therapy, and adding additional speech therapy outside of school is
recommended.
PHILOSOHPICAL/MORAL
By the age of six, a childs sense of security is reliant on relationships with close adults.
Very much relies on "secure base" relationships with adults (parents or teachers) to feel secure
and comfortable. Trust in these relationships is based on feeling understood and responded to in a
regular and predictable way. The skills the child demonstrates in non-social areas, such as at
school, often are dependent on feeling safe and secure with the adults present in their life outside
of school (5). A normal six year old should be able to express his feelings, needs, or desires in
appropriate ways. At this stage they begin to show an increasing awareness of own and others'
emotions, and can label what others are feeling, while being able to show sympathy to their peers
(5). Six year old boys often show an uneven ability to describe and practice techniques for selfcontrol. They thrive on routines and may become easily overwhelmed by excitement.
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Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT


Although Jack initiates play with his peers, he has difficulty reacting to emotions that his
peers express, such as excitement, frustration, sympathy [to an injured peer]. Recently Jack has
had to adjust to a separation of his parents, which was very challenging. Most children have a
difficult time with a separation of their parents, but Jack had an even more difficult time. To aide
him in this transition, special care was taken by his parents to collaborate on maintaining the
same daily routines in both households.
SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
During the first years of school, children go about making friends with little forethought
or planning. They may burst into a group and demand, "I want to play, too." Despite this
seemingly outgoing social behavior, children at this age still depend on caregivers for most
personal interaction. In these years, children strive to "fit in" at home, at school, and with their
friends. Feeling successful in these areas builds children's self-confidence and self-concept,
which helps them to manage and overcome future challenges (4). The presence and quality of
friendships are posited to have developmental significance. The current study utilized data from
a subsample of 567 children (289 boys and 278 girls) participating in the NICHD Study of Early
Child Care and Youth Development. Based on this study conducted during kindergarten, four
friendship groups were formed: no friends, low quality, average quality, and high quality. Lowquality friendships were associated with greater externalizing behavior, whereas high-quality
friendships were associated with greater social skills. Longitudinally, having no friends in
kindergarten was associated with higher levels of externalizing behavior for boys, but lower
levels for girls.

Interestingly the report noted that having a high-quality friendship in

kindergarten was associated with greater social skills in first and third grades, but only for boys.
The results indicate that high-quality friendships are a necessary component for the development
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Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT


of social skills, and that problems with behavior are likely to occur in students with no friends or
low-quality friends (8). Typical Pre-K students should be able to make independent choices for
different centers or activities, acknowledge actions and accomplishments verbally and nonverbally. They should also be able to re-engage in an activity after experiencing frustration,
disappointment, or failure. Also, expressing feels with verbal and non-verbal conversation skills,
initiating play or enter into play with a group of children already playing is expected. The
relationships children form with their parents, teachers, and peers alike, are an important building
block for their future social skills.
Jack has been observed to have significant social behavior deficits. As noted by his
teacher, he sometimes bullies other students, pretends to fall down, and easily gets annoys by
his peers. When attempting to enter into play with his peers, Jack has difficulties understanding
the rules of the game explained to him [by his peers] (9). If using the restroom he needs
assistance zipping and buttoning pants, and if he does a number two requires assistance wiping
his backside. While observing Jack in the classroom, I noticed he frequently flicks his fingers
rapidly in front of his eyes for five seconds or longer. This behavior is known as stimming,
which is short for the self-stimulatory behavior. Although it is almost always a symptom of
autism, if you have ever bitten your nails, twirled your hair, or tapped your pencil you have
engaged in the act of stimming. Jack becomes upset when routines within the classroom are
changed. For example when he is transitioning to the general education Kindergarten he
becomes agitated and sometimes defiant because the routine is unfamiliar to him. The goal is to
have the transition time from the special education classroom to the general education class room
go without incident in approximately six to eight weeks (9).

Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT

INTELLECTUAL/ACADEMIC
In the kindergarten and early elementary school years, children's reasoning is still
immature, and tied to the here and now. They begin to understand how combinations of letters
and sounds form words, and recognize some written words and may even start reading simple
text. At age six, most children know the meanings of about 13,000 words, and are able to
demonstrate an understanding of relative position words including before/after, over/under,
far/near, and identify words that rhyme, and identify letters in their own name. When solving
problems, they are able to focus on only one issue at a time. While children at this age begin to
understand cause-and-effect relationships, they continue to have an active imagination (3). A
recent consortium, led by an economist, inquired about what kindergarten characteristics matter
most in predicting third grade achievement in math and reading (Duncan et al. 2007).The
resulting research implemented a remarkably controlled prospective associational design across
six international data sets, comprising approximately 36,000 children. Singular analyses of each
data set and a subsequent meta-analysis which consolidated the results found that kindergarten
math skills showed the most predictive power, with verbal skills in second place. Behavior and
social skills in kindergarten showed no significant influence on later achievement. However,
attention, treated as distinct from cognitive and socio-behavioral factors, ranked third in
predicting subsequent achievement. Remarkably, this study included a substantial amount of
control variables which were common across data sets. Kindergarten attention, being singled out
as an important predictor of first and third grade math and reading achievement, highlights its
value in conceptual models of school readiness and assessment (10) In fact, attention skills, as
early as preschool, provide the foundation of goal-based self-control behavior (Mischel et al.
1989) and are a prominent correlate and precursor to math and literacy skills in kindergarten
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Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT


(Blair and Razza 2007). Consequently, it is not surprising that teacher appraisals of classroom
attention skills predict subsequent cognitive and behavioral performance in children (Duncan et
al. 2007; Pagani et al. 2010a) and adolescents (Duckworth and Seligman 2005). This pioneering
work of McKinney et al. (1975) has underscored the importance of learning-related classroom
behaviors which reflect focus, independence, and task-orientation, beyond the contribution of IQ.
In particular, sustained attention, which comprises both task-oriented attention and low
impulsivity, predicts academic and behavioral adjustment (Razza et al. 2010), while a lack
thereof is linked with disorders such as ADHD (Barkley 2012). McKinneys study argues that
much of classroom life requires age appropriate sustained attention skills such as listening with
care and concentrating on learning-related activities directed by the teacher (10).
With average cognitive scores in the average range of 85-115, Jacks below average
composite score of 73 will make it difficult for him to acquire some information that is presented
to him in the classroom (11). Typical Pre-K students should be able to recognize read, and write
numbers from 0-10, identify two dimensional shapes such as circles, triangles, and squares.
They should also be able to use concrete objects to model simple addition and subtraction, and
compare, order and describe objects by size. Jack struggles a little with size/comparison
concepts missing questions on long, short, not the same, and matching. Jack can identify 9 out
of 20 shapes, missing rectangle, round, and trapezoid. Jack is able to identify 8 out of 10 colors
correctly, and can recognize 14 out of 15 letters presented to him (12). He also does well with
numbers and counting, getting 16 out of 18 presented to him correctly. Jacks verbal score of 68
is in the 2 percentile, in the lower extreme range, while his non-verbal score of 85, 16 percentile,
is in the average range (11). Jack does not consistently hold his pencil properly. He is able to
write his first and last name independently, and draws people and basic objects. He is able to
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Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT


give 17/26 letter sounds correctly, but does not yet use them to create or write words. (9) He will
look at a book as if he is actually reading, and be able to tell you parts of the book from the
pictures.(9) By this age, he should be able to identify parts of text, ask questions and answer
questions about the story, recall details, and make predictions based on the events in the story.
He does not yet use letter sounds to read or recognize sight words. The following bar graph
indicates that Jack is above average in his physical development, while below average on his
emotional, psychological, social and intellectual development. The below average development
in emotional, psychological, social, and intellectual area is attributed primarily to his diagnosis
with Aspergers. Although Jack is below average in his intelligence, his social skills are the area
where significant deficits are observed.
120
100
80
60
40

Normal
Jack

20
0

Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT


Bibliography
(1). (March 14, 2008). Average Height to Weight Chart Babies to Tenagers. Retrieved on
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(2). (n.d.). Child Development Tracker Physical Health. Retrieved November 21, 2012,
from http:// pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/six/
physicalhealth.html
(5). (n.d.) Child Development Tracker Social and Emotional Growth. Retrieved on
November 21, 2012, from http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/
six/socialandemtionalgrowth.html
(8). Engle, J., McElwain, N., Lasky, N. (September 26, 2010). Presence and quality of
kindergarten children's friendships: concurrent and longitudinal associations with
child adjustment in the early school years. Retrieved on November 24, 2012, from
http://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com
(10). Fitzpatrick, C., Parent, S. (n.d.). Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Springer
Science+Business Media, LLC 2012; Retrieved on November 12, 2012 from
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10802-011-9605-4/fulltext.html.
(7). Green, B., Speech Pathologist (personal communication, November 16, 2012)
(3). (August 3, 2011). Growth and Development, Ages 6-10- What to Expect. Retrieved on
November 21, 2012 from http://children.webmd.com/tc/growth-and-developmentages-6-to-10-years-what-to-expect
(6). McLeod, S. A. (2009). Jean Piaget | Cognitive Theory. Retrieved on November 24,
2012, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html
(4). Pope, J. MD Pediatrics, Pellegrino. L MD Developmental Pediatrics (May 16, 2011).
Emotional and Social Development Age 6 to 10 Years. Retrieved November 22,
2012, from http://children.webmd.com/emotional-and-social-development-in-theschool-age-child-ages-6-to-10-years.
(9). Terasa, A., Special Education Teacher (personal communication, November 16, 2012)
(11). Terasa, A., Special Education Teacher (personal communication, November 16, 2012);

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Running Head: EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY P.E.P.S.I. PROJECT


Kaufmann Brief Intelligence Test, Second Edition; Test administered May 10,
2012.
(12). Terasa, A., Special Education Teacher (personal communication, November 16, 2012);
Bracken Basic Concept Scale, Third Edition; Test administered May 10, 2012.

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