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Child A is a 5 year old Chinese Singaporean girl, who is currently residing in the western part of Singapore and she is studying at a private church kindergarten. Her family believes in Buddhism. Her family consists of her father, mother and a 3 year old sister. Her mother is a housewife while her father works as a hairdresser. Child A's sister would begin attending school next year in 2013. She comes from a Chinese-educated background but her parents are able to speak English. However, they converse mostly in Chinese at home.
Child B is a 5 year old Chinese-Burmese Singapore boy, who is studying at a private church kindergarten and living in the western part of Singapore. He comes from a Buddhist family. He is an only child and his mother is a housewife. His father, together with his grandfather, runs a drink stall at a hawker centre nearby the church. Child B follows his father and grandfather to work in the mornings, thrice a week, before coming to school. He is dominant in Chinese rather than English as his parents know only minimal English.
Reports of the 2 Chosen Children
In the two reports, a summary of child's development based on the observations and analysis would be talked about. In addition, the areas of improvement and the strategies of how improvement can be made would be discussed too.
Report of Child A
Summary of Child A's Development
In term 4 of this year, 2012, Child A has improved in terms of colouring. In term 3, she did minimal colouring for all her works. However, in term 4, she took the initiative of giving colours to all her classwork and homework without the teacher's constant reminder.
Moving on, through the observations and analysis of Child A, it showed that she does not have much exposure to English language. In the milestones attached, section B (appendix), children of age 5 have a vocabulary of above 2,000 words. However, Child A may have less than 2,000 words as she was not able to read a word ('This') that she learnt in term 3 though she was able to read and write 'is', 'a' and 'church' (with the help of the educator). This may happen because she is not exposed to English much, thus she was not able to identify words that she had learn.
Besides that, children of age 5 are able to form more difficult and fuller sentences with more than 5 words. This sentence, "I go Thailand next time!" showed that though she was eager to express herself and tried to form a sentence, it was neither a fuller nor more complex sentence. Based on the conversation with her, it was unclear as to whether she had been or would be going to Thailand. It also showed that she was unsure of her tenses (past, present and future), which according to the milestones; Child A should be able to distinguish.
Also, a 5 year old child would disturb others lesser, which was what, Child A achieved as she did not disturb her friends during lessons. Thus, she is being on track in this part of her language development.
Areas of Improvement and the Strategies
One of the areas that Child A would require assistance would be the need for her to be able to read and understand words that are taught at age 5. Every child has a Language Acquisition Device (LAD) in them, which means that once he has learnt the vocabulary words, he would know how to use it to form sentences. To do so, it would be beneficial for her to work one-on-one with the teacher or small group learning. In this way, it would be easier to reach out to Child A as the educator could use Chinese or simpler vocabulary to teach. The child would then be able to absorb and understand better.
Another area would be Child A's ability to speak and form a more complete sentence with the proper usage of her tenses. A way to guide her would be to converse and correct (with explanations and forming the appropriate sentence) her. According to Skinner (Skinner, 1957, as cited in Shaffer, et.al, 2002), older people could help form the language of children. Therefore, not just in school, Child A's parents could engage her in conversations using the language at home too to reinforce the language.
In conclusion, Child A's development would not be as stable as those of her friends who are expose to the language often as she comes from a Chinese-educated family, thus she is not as fluent in her English. Even though Child A did not meet some of the milestones listed for her age, she would be able to meet them with the proper guidance and practise. In all the four areas of language development (speak, read, listen and write), she is able to do it with the help of the teacher. In time to come, she would still be able to master the language as children would eventually follow the natural development.
Report of Child B
Summary of Child B's Development
Child B has made progress since term 3. He has improved in all areas of development especially so with numbers and its spellings. Previously, he was not able to match the numbers to its spelling after the number 5. However, when he came back in term 4, he could match perfectly up to number 20. He was even praised by the principal.
With reference to the milestones, Child B could spell his own name and it was an improvement from previous terms where he needed help with it. Thus, he has reached one of the points in the milestones, being able to write his name.
Another point would be the disrupting of friends during lessons. Child B did not cause disturbance to his friends and he was listening attentively to his friends' answers for new knowledge to widen his knowledge for the language. The milestones state that the child would disrupt his friends less often and would listen and pick up new information from friends. Child B has achieved this.
Lastly, although it seems that he does not have a vocabulary of over 2,000 words, the analysis showed that Child B was on his way towards that range of vocabulary words as he was able to read his reader (at least half) , even if he was unable to read the entire book on his own.
Areas of Improvement and the Strategies
One area that Child B needs support in would be how to translate Chinese into English instead of doing direct translation. The method to help would be to rephrase it for him, as children learn through conditioning, imitation and reinforcement, whenever he forms a sentence in the wrong structure and words and to have him repeat after the teacher so that it will be reinforced to him. Engaging children with adults could benefit children in language and intellectually (Shaffer, et.al, 2002).
The next support Child B needs would be to read together as a class instead of only reading alone. He would need to understand that reading as a class would help him identify words especially if he does not know the word, as children also learn through their hearing (imitating). It would also enable the teacher to know where his standard is at. It would be good for his parents to encourage him to say things together so that he would be conditioned to it.
In conclusion, Child B's development seems to be on track even though he stems from a Chinese-Burmese environment, which does not open him up to English. It showed that a child's language development depends very much on the child itself as well. If he is attentive in class and learns from friends, he would still be able to achieve the milestones. Hence, Child B needs more reinforcement of the language and also corrections of his sentences in order for him to hit all the milestones.