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Fieldnotes 3/2

sidsiddiqui's picture
  1. Students playing a lot more than they were last week, there's a lot more running around and stuff 
  2. One of the kids latches on to me right away, I'll call him Adam. Adam has a car that he's playing with that he's apparently brought from home. He tells me about how he has just moved to a new home  
  3. He starts building a ramp for the cars to go on, and then he asks me to play a game called "heart attack" where we run two cars toward each other and they crash. I felt a little uncomfortable playing a game that might hurt him but the teachers encouraged me to play as long as its careful. I played with the cars for a while and the student asks me many questions about where I live so I explain about living in college…he then moves quickly to a  new game where he puts cars on a shelf that is used as a puppet stand with a curtain and shelves under the curtain. Another student approaches us at this point, we'll call him Joe and Joe and Adam begin to play a game where they race the cars off the shelf into a box that they belong on. Every time they get a car into the box, they both yell out "yeah!"  
  4. A group of girls comes in and they want to use the room to build a castle. They want to close the curtain fully so that the boys playing behind the puppet stand can't see them, but the boys want to leave it slightly open. They struggle for a couple seconds before the teacher tells the girls that the boys were playing there first and they can choose what happens to the curtain. The girls lose interest and move on to their castle.  
  5. After Adam runs off to play something else, I go to sit with a group of students that's building a zoo out of magnetiles and various animal toys. Two of the girls are engaging in dramatic play where they use dolls and the animal toys to act out a story about a girl who meets a house full of animals after her entire family dies. Later, they make the family come back to life and introduce them to the animals. The game is a little unstructured as one of the girls (Sofie) keeps leaving the game, and the other girl (Sara) exclaims at one point, "I feel like you aren't really playing with me". Sara seems like she is creating the game for herself and just telling Sofie what to do and how to play, even when choosing the animals and which dolls to use. At one point they get into an argument where Sofie wants to pick a doll that has darker hair and darker skin and Sara says "no that doll can't be part of the family because she has dark skin". 
  6. One of the group of girls has a situation that turns out to be problematic. They are the group of girls that was building the castle and they come into the room with the dress up material, deciding to try on gloves. One of the girls (Cara) says to another girl (Bailey) that the glove that she is wearing does not look that pretty, and continues trying to encourage her into taking the glove off.  The teacher intervenes, first by asking Cara whether she thought she would get a turn with the glove if Bailey took it off, to which Cara replied yes, and then by saying that Cara should not be trying to convince Baily to take off the glove if she wanted to wear it by manipulating Bailey into taking the glove off.


  1. I thought that there were more children in the classroom this week than last. This time they were also a little less shy. I think a few of them recognized me and were talking to me more. I also was able to engage with them more as I knew how they played from last week.  
  2. Adam talks a lot to me, asking many personal questions and giving me a lot of personal information about himself. At first I'm confused and I don't really know what to do with all this personal information but then I realized that it can't really do much harm to talk about that stuff with him.  
  3. The kids were playing with each other a lot more this week, and even though Adam was only playing a car game with me before, he easily integrated Joe into his game. They were really understanding and open to each other which was really fun for me to watch. It was exciting to see them interacting in a way that empowered them both. 
  4. The girls caused a bit of mayhem, in my opinion. I felt like one of the girls (Cara) had this attitude where she felt that she could command anything and get it. She led around the other two girls and tried to take over the room that Adam and Joe were playing in. It felt really unfair to me and I think one of the teachers noticed it too, and told the girls to leave the two boys alone. The boys decided on their own to leave anyway, and I felt that there had been a kind of passive aggressive feeling that the boys felt.
  5. With this next event, I saw almost a hierarchy emerge within the classroom and between the children. A few of the students acting like they were in charge made me feel this way and I wondered how a hierarchy could exist amongst preschoolers.
  6. I saw the same thing happen with this event and I felt strange watching it happen. Cara threw a temper tantrum and was taken into another room to be calmed down. I felt a little out of place in the classroom during this time as the kids were encouraged to avoid that room and go on with their game. However, they were more interested in what was happening with Cara.


alesnick's picture

I appreciate your observation that as you listened to a kid you recalibrated (lower) your sense of risk in listening to what he was saying.  Interesting.  Also I wonder what researchers have said about hierarchies in kindergarten.  

Florian's picture

Not to psychoanalyze, but I think it seems significant that the same child who you observed trying to take over the playroom and manipulating another child is the one who had the emotional outburst. Was there any indication as to what the outburst was about? It would be interesting to know if these things might be related, or if the teacher can share anything she knows about Cara that you may not have been able to directly observe.