Film: 5288

Education | 1950 | Silent | B/W


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Child development a study 1950's

"Two years six months"
A small boy climbs up the back of a slide in a park - one step at a time. Side view of the same with an older girl climbing up the steps behind him. The boy stands at the top of the slide, then sits down and slides to the bottom, followed by the girl who is wearing a headscarf. People wait at the bottom of the slide including a mother and a child in a pushchair. Another 2 and a half year old boy tries to climb onto the concrete plinth at the bottom of some railings. He holds onto the iron work and tries to haul himself up. He stands in fallen leaves and turns to look at the camera. He tries again to stand on the wall and succeeds once and stands nervously with his back to the camera. Closer shot of the boy continuing to scramble up the wall. In the background children go past in a rowing boat. Close up of the boy's feet as he stands on tip-toe. The boy kneels on the floor and writes on the concrete (perhaps with charcoal or a stick).
(Slightly out of focus) A boy wears a cooking apron and stands in front of a wooden board with a rolling pin. He shakes flour onto his pastry. He picks up his rolling pin and flattens his pastry, and gathers up the smaller pieces. He screws the pastry up into a ball in his hands, and then proceeds to roll it out again.
Outside, the boy crouches to the floor and scratches in the dirt or sand with his finger. He uses a stick to scrape a hole. He makes patterns in the earth with his finger and pats down a mound of soil. He pushes twigs or sticks into the mound. He uses his foot to kick at the earth. The boy does several forward rolls on an inflatable lilo. He rolls off the mattress and gets grass cuttings on his back. He crouches down and plays with the foot pump. Close up of his hands compressing the concertina pump. Close up as he picks at a plant and pulls bits off. He uses a white spatula to dig into the soil near the bottom of the plant.
Wearing only pants he sits on a sheet eating peas out of a pod. He opens the shells and eats the insides. In a different location he sits -wearing a romper suit - and tries to put his sandals on himself. He eventually manages to get his feet into the shoes. Looking at the camera he sits and swigs from a small glass bottle.
Back outside by the railings overlooking the river (Thames?), the boy, now a little bigger, climbs up on to the concrete wall more easily. He is tall enough to grip the top of the railings and brings himself up to a standing position.
"Three years"
The boy sits on a tricycle and pedals down a paved road with his mother or nanny standing close behind. A woman pushing a large pram comes walks along the pavement in the opposite direction. The boy pedals back along the road towards camera. He sits on his trike near the bottom of steps leading up to a front door. He walks along the dividing wall between traffic and pavement on the Albert Bridge (?) across the Thames. He nearly stumbles and a girl rushes in from off camera to catch him. Back on his tricycle he is now able to pedal across grass with occasional help from a grown up pushing. He wears only shorts. He rolls downhill on the trike and manages to pedal it over bumps. Back inside he bounces on a striped mattress, still wearing his shoes. He lands on his bottom and smiles at the camera. He does a couple of forward rolls on the bed.
In the garden he picks a small ball (tennis sized) and throws it on the grass. He runs to pick it up. He plays with a stake or stick which he puts on the ground. He sticks the pointed end into the ground and walks around it. He sits on the floor and puts his finger into the hole left by the stick. He puts the stick back into the hole and makes it bigger. He plays around with the stake and kicks it. He swings it about and hits the bushes behind him. He walks down rough steps cut into a hillside. He jumps off a large step at the bottom. He clambers back up the steps again and grabs onto a metal rail at the top. He picks some small white daisy type flowers. He crouches near a stream to grab a drifting leaf. He plays in the shallow water and gathers up water in his small metal bucket. He tips the water out over rocks. He splashes at the edges of the stream. Close up of his feet and legs. He runs down a slope with ferns blowing in the wind either side. He walks in the shallow edge of a large still lake, picking up sticks. He paddles along near the shore. He plays with a small model boat in the water, holding onto its string. He pulls it out and onto the bank by the string. He smiles at camera, then proceeds to tie the boat string to the back of a small truck. He reaches down into the water and picks out leaves and sticks and brings them onto the bank. He gets back into the water to pick out more.
"Three years six months"
The boy plays with some film equipment, turning a handle. He plays with an old-fashioned cement joiner and pretends to splice his finger. In a park he crawls through the back of a wooden bench, onto the seat. He puts a blanket over his head. At this age we can see that he is confident when running and has good co-ordination to kick a ring or quoit. He runs around the grass dragging his blanket and holding the hoop. He runs and gives the blanket to a woman sitting on the park bench. He uses a long stick to scrape leaves and stones on a path. He drags the stick to make a pattern in the earth. He balances along a small wall bordering a sand pit, all the while holding his stick. He jumps into the sand pit and climbs out again.
He stands on one end of a boat swing as it goes back and forth. Close up of his feet and knees bending. He plays on a rope swing that goes around like a roundabout. He runs and swings himself off the floor.
Inside he runs up and down and bounces on a striped mattress. Close up of his feet.
Back in the park he kicks a ball across grass and towards two ladies standing near a shelter. He wears shorts and a smart knee length overcoat. Slow motion sequence of him running and kicking the ball. Wearing long trousers and a jacket he carefully picks his way along a large log or fallen tree. He jumps off and clambers back on. He carefully stands up and continues his little steps. He reaches the end and jumps off near the roots, then walks back along the log towards camera. He climbs up a branch which is at diagonals to the floor. He climbs on the log some more and sits astride it. He continues to play near the fallen trees and move branches around.
He swings on a wrought iron cattle gate, standing on the cross bar and pushing off with his foot. He uses a pushchair like a skateboard, standing on it with one foot and pushing himself along the path with the other. He looks through the balustrades on a bridge at a rower below. The boat passes beneath the bridge. He stands on the concrete edge of a pond and dips his hands into the water. He scoops up water into a small container. He crouches near the water with another boy of a similar age and they dip sticks in. They continue to play at the water's edge. They boy stands on a fallen tree and jumps several times onto the earth below. In the background many other people are using the park. He crouches on the grass and strips the bark off a stick. He relaxes in a child sized traditional deck chair and picks at the stick. Still sitting down he manoeuvres a bigger stick and begins to pull the bark off that. Shots of the boy as he tries to catch a ball which is thrown to him from off camera. He succeeds a couple of times and throws it back.
The boy crawls under and onto a rope cargo net climbing frame. He stands on the ropes and holds on with his hands swinging and bouncing. He climbs up the cargo net as if it were a rope ladder and looks over the piece of wood at the top. He climbs down a rigid tubular metal climbing frame. He runs up and down some concrete steps in a garden. Another boy wearing only shorts sits by a wall. Back in the playground, the boy climbs on the cargo net, while a couple of children rock on a see-saw in the background. He plays with rope netting and rolls an old tyre. In the garden he uses a rake to gather leaves from the grass. He walks backwards pulling the rake behind him. Leaning over he pulls some leaves off the prongs of the rake. He continues gathering. He helps a man push a wooden cart which is full of leaves and garden debris.
He sits looking at camera eating (a biscuit?) and takes a drink from a mug decorated with Peter Rabbit. He sits chewing with his mouth open. He reaches across the table for another biscuit and tries to lick the pattern off. He licks his lips.
"Four years".
Wearing raincoat, sou'wester style rain hat and black fisherman style wellingtons with the tops rolled down, the boy splashes through puddles on a street. He stands in a puddle and walks round and round. He crouches next to a pond and puts a white model sailing boat on the water and pushes it out. The wind blows it back to shore and he stoops down to pick it out of the water and put it on the bank. He puts it back in the water and walks along the edge as the wind carries the boat.
Indoors, he bends down and sweeps using a hand brush. Close up of the brush. He uses a shovel to pick up the pile of dirt and puts it in a square tin. The boy wears dungarees with no shirt underneath and crawls down stairs (with a carpet runner) head first. He sits on a patterned carpet and plays with a wooden train set. He puts trucks and the engine on the track. Close up of his finger pointing at words as he reads a book. Close up of his head.
"The End".

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