-The setting: I went to a zoo for observation. There is a playground at the zoo. There is a semicircular giant rock at the playground with a big hole in the middle part on the ground. The children can climb onto the rock or run in and out of the hole. There are trees surrounding the playground, and parents can stand nearby the playground to keep and eye on their children.
-My focal child: The little girl is around four-year-old. She is around 37 to 40 inch (93.98 to 101.6 cm). I can’t tell how much she weighs, but she is about an average body size. She is a brunette with curly hair, and her hair is tied up into a ponytail. I will call her M in this essay.
-Episode 1: M and her younger sister and their mother are standing nearby the big rock eating.
-Episode 2: M took away her younger sister’s brownie, then her younger sister starts crying. The mom takes away the brownie from M and gives it back to M’s sister.
-Episode 3: M finished eating her own cookie and climbs onto the top of the rock with a bit of struggle.
-Episode 4: M’s younger sister couldn’t climb onto the rock. M looks at her younger sister’s action and face, and then she starts helping her younger sister to climb up the rock too. After they both are on top of the rock, M’s younger sister smiles, and M smiles too.
-Episode 5: M starts to play with her younger sister and other children on the rock and make some space for other children to play too. She and her sister played for about 10 minutes.
-Episode 6: M starts to climb down, and she is having a bit of a hard time getting down the rock.
-Episode 7: M’s younger sister starts to climb down too, but she falls down when she is near the ground. M tries to comfort her younger sister, but she starts to cry. M’s mother came to see what is wrong. After about a minute seeing M’s younger sister cry, M almost started crying too.
Development of Empathy in Early Childhood
Based on the Washington State Early Learning and Development Guidelines by the Washington State Department of Early Learning, the empirical research article: Similarity of Experience and Empathy in Preschoolers by Barnett, and my own observation of young children at the zoo, children as young as four-year-old start to show empathy toward other people’s emotions and feelings, and they show it even more so when they themselves have had a similar experience before.
During my visit to the zoo, a little girl around four, who I will refer to as M in this essay, is playing on top of a rock platform with her younger sister. After playing for a while, when M is trying to climb down the rock platform, she struggles a little bit while she is trying to climb down. M’s younger sister starts to climb down too after M, but she falls down when she is almost down at the ground. M tries to comfort her younger sister, but she starts to cry. M’s mother came to see what is wrong. After about a minute seeing M’s younger sister cry, M almost started crying too.
According to the Washington...