honestly. this is no surprise (wow. albert thinks government/media secrecy is common. well thats a surprise), but it makes me wonder if the government is lying to us and the major news networks are also "lying" to us, what are the american people supposed to believe anymore? who can we trust? will we just give up on real news altogether and piece real world politics from news networks here and there? or will we give up on formal news networks and go for the much more humorous sources, such as late night political talk shows or the onion? (the onion has online videos which are HILARIOUS)

its such a sad state of affairs. but i don't care.

Day 6 I had the pleasure of working with toddlers, and it is at this point that I realized that they were placing me in a younger and younger age group classroom instead of putting me all over the place, which is really helpful to know now. Except this was the last time that they did this. I declined working with infants, because even though they're adorable, I don't really feel that I could learn much from them, gender-wise.

Generally, this was a very new and awkward experience for me. I've never worked with a group so young, and the difference between these kids who were no more than 14-16 months old, and the 2-3 year olds. These toddlers could barely talk, they needed help with all of their daily activities, had special chairs with straps and even had a different playground from the rest of the kids. The teachers were also more relaxed concerning their nap time rules, allowing the children to sleep for an additional 30 minutes. The classroom looked similar to the other classroom except there was a mini playset comprised of a ramp, a tube, and a tic-tac-toe spinny block toy on the side, inside the classroom, none of the other classrooms had playsets indoors, only toys. The children were also noticeably different, they were much smaller, all wore diapers (very happy that I didn't have to change them) and some even had pacifiers. Although some children in the older groups still wore diapers, they were usually for safety measures, because by now the teachers knew when each child should go potty because by 2 years old, children should be able to relatively control their wastes or at least alert someone when they have to use the bathroom, which many of the older kids do. This age group however, had no control whatsoever, and went as they pleased. Another noticeable difference was their inability to use the English language. They could understand the instructions that were given to them, but had difficulty conveying their desires. Most of their "words" were incomprehensible and were accompanied by hand gestures, mediating what they wanted. The most advanced children babbled and sometimes used a word here and there, but the majority of the children just used advanced babble, typical of their age. In order to advance their acquisition of language, the teachers always asked the children to "use big boy words," as a way to reinforce their use of words, a sort of zone of proximal development. On the playground, I also noticed that the children didn't play with one another as much as the older kids did, but rather interacted with the toys/equipment on the playground more. There were also a handful of kids that were just playing with themselves, and apparently this behavior was common in some of the kids, but uncommon in others, but generally was a common sight to see kids playing by themselves. And to no surprise, given that they had so many toys to play with.

Cognitively, their ability to learn came slowly, as they repeated the same mistakes over and over again, although some of the older ones already knew what to do in certain events. For example, when a child wants more food/drink during snack time, he or she would have to ask using their words while their plate/cup was down on the table. Almost all of the children had difficulty understanding this, and had to be prompted by a teacher to use their words or put their dish on the table in order to be served. One child however, Abby, had to be told only once to put her dish down instead of being told multiple times or having the dish put down on the table for her. Although it wasn't a major feat, it set her apart from the other children. On this particular day, the WCCC had visitors on the toddler playground; giant bees. Although they were harmless carpenter bees, they were big, black, and made loud buzzing sounds, "scaring" all of the teachers to different extents. I wasn't explicitly afraid of the bees, but I wasn't going to play in the sandbox where they were flying around. The children however, took no notice and played in the playground as if the bees weren't even there. This was surprising to me for two reasons; one, 2-3 year olds would SCREAM and point whenever they saw a bug, not neccessarily meaning that they were afraid of it, just screaming because it was there and they felt that they had to tell everyone, and two, they weren't afraid of big, black, buzzing creatures that flew around in the air. I don't know if these kids had a schema for bees, or if they didn't notice them and hence didn't react to them, but I found their nonchalantness towards the bees quite humorous when the teachers didn't want to go near the bees. They also had an extremely short attention span, or the script of washing their hand was completely lost on them. After they got their diapers changed, it was my duty to help them wash their hands, and although they knew what the teacher meant by "wash your hand" (they went do the sink and stepped up on the stool) I had to basically wash their hands for them. The first few kids I just instructed, by pointing to the soap, and pointing to the paper towel. But sooner or later, they just started playing with the water instead of washing their hands, despite me instructing them what to do. It soon became much more effectively for me to grab their hands and wash it for them.

Gender-wise, I found that the toddlers were no exception when it came to gender segregation. Although there were only four boys on the playground (two were from the other class), boys and girls played together on the playground and in the classroom. The child that I connected with the most this time was a girl, named Delilah, and she didn't seem to be threatened by my presence at all, but instead seemed to be happy that I was here and even gave me a hug (yeah it was really cute) when she left, suggesting that she was securely attached. When her mom came to pick her up, she was very happy that she was there, but wasn't eager to leave like some of the other children, who saw their parents as an escape from the WCCC, instead of a individual who takes them home and signals the end of their day at the WCCC.

Heres something interesting. The playground is right next to the infant room, and one of the teachers of the infant room came out, throwing some of the attention of the toddler teacher toward the infant room. She then asked one of the children if they wanted to see babies, and most of them just came rushing down from the playground to see these infants, eyes wide with curiosity. I mean, they were babies several months ago, its so funny that they are so curious.

*all names are fictitious, although the characters are real

Ugh. I can't believe I typed out this long, lengthy journal article, only to be timed out by blackboard so I lost it. So aggravating.

Well, on day 5, I learned that I should ask the teachers about the past behaviors of the children, allowing me to discern whether or not an event was novel or not, and also giving me a better background of the child, for the teacher will usually drag on about the child and all the things that he/she has done in the past.

I worked with the preschool group on day 5, and they were about 2-3 years of age. In comparison to the older children, these children were slightly more hesitant to accept me into their groups, and I noticed the cognitive phenomenons in these children that were typical of early childhood. When the teacher asked "Who knows the twinkle twinkle little star song?" everyone's face was blank, but when she turned on a CD recording of the song, many of the children's lightbulbs went off in their heads and after the first line started (cognitive cue) singing along, and by the end of the song, every child was singing along, demonstrating a superior recognition memory in comparison to recall memory. The teachers also pointed out to me (what they thought) their extremely short attention span. "If you ask one of the younger ones if ice cream is cold or hot, they won't think about the question but rather just reply back with whatever the second choice was." We then tested this on several of the children, and this very true. Although I would attribute this more to a developing system of sensory registry and short-term memory. when we asked the older kids the same question, I could see them actually stop what they were doing and think about the question for a couple seconds before replying, while the younger kids didn't display the same level of attention to the question and instead just replied immediately. Within the familiarity of the WCCC atmosphere, the children developed small scripts to daily events, such as upon waking up, they would go potty, wash their hands, and then go play. However, this script was very rudimentary, and without the teachers, it is unlikely that the children would be able to do this on their own, especially when many of them immediately rush to the toys/books after naptime.

Socially, there was one child, Ernie, who kept on asking for his friend Bert, who was in the same class as he was but was absent that day for whatever reason, (doctor's appointment maybe?) and this child seemed to be absolutely lost. According to the teachers, Bert and Ernie were best friends, and unfortunately, Ernie wasn't very developed language-wise, and most of the words that came out of his mouth were "Wheres Bert?". Which was actually pretty endearing, but when his reply to every question is "Bert," it gets awfully repetitive (and yes, he did reply "Bert" to the question "Is ice cream cold or hot?" which gave the teachers and I a good laugh). Even though Ernie was one of the older children, all children develop at their own individual pace, and I guess that Ernie is no exception.

Gender-wise, boys overall seemed to have better spatial navigation and movement. For one, Linda was playing with 3 blocks, shaped in a quarter circle and when you put them together in a certain way, the 4 blocks would come together and make a circle (the 4th block was in the box of other blocks, and she had no trouble finding that). However, this thought process was lost on her, as she tried to put the blocks together upside down, in which the "teeth" of the blocks wouldn't fit together properly. And even though I showed her how the blocks should be arranged, she kept on trying to arrange the blocks in her own way, displaying the lack of development in her frontal cortex or simply a small attention span (but I can't imagine it could be the latter, because it took me all of 5 seconds to show her how to put the blocks together). After trying to piece the blocks together, an onlooker, a boy named Jimmy, got fed up and said "this is how you do it," and pieced the remaining 2 pieces perfectly. Now it is possible that hes very familiar with these 4 quarter-circle blocks, giving him an unfair advantage over Linda, but that wasn't a guarantee, and since they were about the same age, it seemed that boys overall had (at least this boy) better myelination of the frontal cortex than girls. Also, on the playground, they were playing on a playset that had thin steps you had to climb in order to reach the top (you could've taken the stairs as well, but these thin steps were apparently much more fun) and I noticed that the boys had a much easier time on these steps than the girls. Of course with all flash observational data, there are many many confounding variables, but just based upon these two events, it seemed that the boys had a better developed frontal cortex. At this point, gender segregation hasn't really set in, and although these children know their gender, it plays a very negligible role. More boys played with the power tools/cars than girls, and the girls played dress up with the skirts and ballet items while the boys didn't really play dress up, although both groups displayed a significant level of pretend play. I didn't really fully connect with any one of the children, and if I had to choose a child that connected with me the most, would have to be a girl named Abby, suggesting that her sense of identification hasn't come to fruition (nice vocabulary word there Albert).

*all of these names were made up

negative side of good weather

however, there is a negative side to great weather. it makes boys want to run around half-naked, which is awful and disgusting. because 1, they think that they're toned/fit/athletic or whatever to attract the ladies but they're usually not and instead 2, they're just really hairy and the only thing that they're showing off are their sweatervests (slang term for a really hairy chest. trust me. they suck. we were playing ultimate frisbee and i had to guard a guy with a sweatervest. it was awful. i felt that it was going to like grab me with its long hairs. ugh.) and 3, i just straight up don't wanna see dudes half-naked. not into that. and its not even that hot outside.

another reason why warm weather is "bad", and this time, its the ladies fault. i feel that i need to address the issue of sundresses. and how some chicks JUST CAN'T PULL OFF THE RIGHT ONES. (at this point i went to urbandictionary to look up the formal definition of sundress, but it wasn't there. much to my disappointment.) so instead i went to my good friend wikipedia.

A sundress is an informal sleeveless dress of any shape in a lightweight fabric, for summer wear. The dress is intended to be worn without a layering top, and the design must therefore cut a balance between modesty and allowing sun exposure.

so i'll name some pet peeves of mine when it comes to these sundresses

1. florescent colors that make you look like you're from the 80s. there are FEW retro models of sundresses that look good at all, and even fewer girls that can pull them off.
2. wearing BLACK leggings with sundresses. why would you ruin a good thing? sundresses are usually lighter colors, and contrasting them with black on a nice day? just don't.
3. wearing WHITE leggings with sundresses. seriously don't wear leggings.
4. please wear sundresses that are structured, at least to a small extent. of course since it is a dress, it should still have that flowy feel to it, so it should be structured like a jacket, but it shouldn't be completely free of any hem or "structure".
5. there aren't a lot of people in the sunken gardens wearing sundresses atm, so i don't really know what other negative things i can say about it.
just in case you didn't know, its a great day today, and its absolutely GORGEOUS outside. and for reasons like this i'm so happy that we have the sunken gardens for people just to lay out in. it is. plus i had a 30 minute psych class which was supposed to be 80 minutes long. can't complain with that.
thank god you didn't make us blog about abortion. that would've been absolutely crazy. although i wouldn't mind a blog about something controversial. i'm sure that people have things to say about it.

hands off please government. its reasons like these that make me a libertarian. although i do agree that this is an overreaction, this is a small problem that may convey the bigger issue; government domination of the first amendment. they have the ability to censor/pry anything that they feel is "i dont' even know what the right word is here. neccessary?" people gave up their civil liberties without a fight, and now the bush administration is doing what they please. not surprised. once again, this barrier to information gathering should not be a big deal in comparison to the bigger picture.


considering my asian background, i should be worried about things like this, how my school will be viewed in the real world. in my opinion however, going to the elite tier of colleges doesn't guarantee you a great career/job in the real world, and vice versa. as long as you're willing to work hard, and you're generally good at what you do, you will succeed. i mean although at first if you have a degree from some community college, you probably won't get accepted into the high-end job that you want that a graduate of harvard might be able to get easily. but still, once you work hard at your lower-tier job, your success will pay off in the end. but however, i believe that the world is fair, which i do recognize is a flawed view, but i stick to my beliefs.

Same group as last time, one of the Pre-K groups. Unfortunately, there was no birthday party this time, so I didn't get a chance to peek into the interaction between parents and their children. Oh well. Also, Jared (the male college student that works there) wasn't there this time, and the difference was substantial. Almost ALL of the children seemed very comfortable around me, mostly the boys, and especially one boy we'll call Kara. Since there aren't a lot of male teachers at the WCCC, the boys are probably very excited when they find a teacher that they can identify with (gender-wise). Him and a few others were most obviously securely attached at a young age, because they had no problem being around me, he even sat in my lap during story time, despite being around me for 4 hours tops. Kara and the other boys he was playing with showed signs of precausal reasoning, especially when they were playing with grippy-block toys (at this point almost all of the play they do is pretend/symbolic play), in which he put them together and apparently it was supposed to resemble a ship. Upon "blast-off", one of the kids asked Kara where the fire is on the ship, and Kara responded by saying that this ship doesn't have fire. And then they both started arguing whether or not fire came out of a spaceship. The kid incorrectly reasoned that all spaceships spew fire, and Kara, because he was pretend-playing, didn't really respond with good arguments, just kept on repeating, "this spaceship doesn't have fire!". Johnny apparently did a good deed, which I had no idea what it was, and was able to tell me he had a sticker on his cheek as he pointed to himself in the mirror, as he should be able to according to mirror studies about self-recognition.

Then for the rest of the day, the kids just went off and played outside, since it was SUCH a nice day. Gender segregation didn't seem to set in, although boys did boy things when they were playing house, (ie, they were using pinecones as hammers to fix the roof, the girls and Kara were making a cake/pie/food(they couldn't make up their mind) out of grass and twigs and such). But other activities, such as hide and seek, tag, and just general play seemed to be enjoyed by both genders. Except one pretend play where the girls collected flowers to make a salad of sorts, but those girls belonged to the older, 4-5 year old class, where gender segregation seems to rear its head.