Wheelock College Student Observations: Follow Me!

Climber 5This post is the last in our series of articles by Wheelock College students documenting their observations of the many different kinds of learning and adult-child interactions taking place at Boston Children’s Museum every day.  This post was written by Wheelock Student Researchers Meghan McWeeney, Katherine Finegan, Emma Petner and Paige Dillon.

Children loved leading us up and down the Museum’s Climber. Through these journeys, we discovered answers to the following questions through observation, note-taking, picture, and video:


1) What does the interaction between children and caregivers look like?

2) How do children find their way to the top and back down The Climber?


Climber 1In order to get a closer look at how children moved up and down The Climber, we sent one of our researchers, Emma, to gain a better understanding of how Josh, age 5 made his way through.

Climber 2Right from the start, Josh was eager to show researcher Emma how he found his way to the top. He paused every few steps to ensure Emma was still following behind. Josh’s mom attempted to follow him up and down the stairs next to the climber, but Josh moved fast!

Are you still behind me? Josh asked.

I sure am! I’m coming!  replied Emma.

Climber 3How do you think we should get down, Josh? asked Emma.

Josh replied, Follow me. I know the way. Maybe go the way we came up?

Josh paused to look around from the top of The Climber, seeming to judge which platform to go on next.


Climber 4As they worked their way down, Josh pointed out his mother standing below.

Mom! Josh shouted.

Look how high up you are! Josh’s mom responded.

Which way should I go, Mom? Josh asked.

Just keep going – You’re doing great! said his mother encouragingly.


Emma and Josh continued to work their way down The Climber. Josh occasionally stopped to ask Emma which way to go. Emma insisted that Josh was the expert and could guide them to the bottom.

Climber 6Yay! We made it to the bottom! exclaimed Josh.

I couldn’t have done it without you! said Emma with a smile.

Throughout our visits to the museum, we found that children just like Josh use teamwork and trial-and-error to find their way through the climber. Younger children request more explicit help from older peers and caregivers while older children look for reinforcement from caregivers while finding a way for themselves or with other peers through The Climber.

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