A natural history of preschool children's behaviour

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Jones, Anne E.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Psychology
Naturalistic observations in a free play day care were conducted to study motor and object manipulation behaviour in preschool-aged children. Behaviour settings theory, which predicts that setting has greater influence over behaviour than individual factors, was tested by comparing behaviour between indoor and outdoor settings. Analysis confirmed that there were motor and object manipulation rate differences across settings. Consequently, setting was controlled for in the second analysis, which looked at repetitive behaviour. Repetition is a central concept to Montessori educational theory and is used as a learning tool in Montessori classrooms; however, little information about repetition as a developmentally typical behaviour is available. A natural history of repetition was recorded to determine: activities during which repetition takes place; commonality of repetition across children; age that children most frequently engage in repetition; and length of repetitive bouts. Analysis revealed similarities and differences between Montessori’s account of repetition and observed behaviour. 
constructivism , knowledge acquisition , learning , naturalistic observation , preschool-aged children , repetitive behaviour