Development from conception to age 16

Social development is learning the skills to communicate with other people becoming independent and learning to do things on their own as they get older. Emotional development is the growth of feelings and the ability to express and control your feelings; it is also about developing your self esteem/self image. Children go through all different stages of development.

In the very first year the child’s first relationship is with the mother, who they make an instant connection with and then perhaps with the father because in the first year children only form a bond with the immediate family and maybe with others such as grandparents, aunties or uncles, depending on their location and the frequency of their visits, and also it depends on their social background. At around 8 months they also develop a fear of strangers, they show this by getting really upset. At 15 months children are very changeable in their emotions and can be unstable, for example throwing toys when angry.

They tend to show off but do not react very well to getting told off. They can also help dress and undress themselves. At 2 years children have temper tantrums over little things, also making choices can prove very difficult for children at this stage because they want it both ways, and they enjoy doing household tasks and imitating adults, for example, toileting their teddy or feeding their dolls. At 3 years of age they start calling themselves ‘I’ and have a set of feelings about themselves and see themselves as they think others see them.

They also want the approval of adults and adopt the attitudes and feelings of adults. They show affections for younger siblings and can share things. They are also able to go toilet themselves and can wash their hands. During this short time children develop at a very fast rate, but they can only do this with the love and support of others and their experience through social interactions. On the other hand, if a child, from an early age have no contact with any human being and is raised with no love or social interactions it can have serious consequences. An example of this is with the rare cases of feral children.

A feral child is a human child who has lived isolated from human contact from young age and who had none or very little experience of social or emotional behaviour. The Meggit childcare and education book (2006) states, ‘Children who have grown up without other people do not seem to show the kind of social behaviour we think of as human; they do not make human sounds, smile, use eye contact or walk like humans. ‘ (Page 356) The child has normally survived due to certain animals taking care of the child as their own. So the child has grown up with no human language and a lack of self-awareness, making the child more animal than human.

The child is often able to recover and have a normal life although in serious cases the child can never fully recover. Intellectual development is the way that we learn to think and store information. Intellectual development is linked to cognitive development, although they are not necessarily the same thing. Cognitive development is about the way our thought processes develop. It is the process of thinking and organising information. Cognitive development consists of 6 main areas, imagination, concentration, creativity, problem solving, concepts, and memory.

Children go through all different stages of development. Between the ages of 3-4 years the child should be able to count to ten objects with support, name three shapes and also know their primary colour (e. g. red, yellow, and blue). At 5 years the child should be able to name eight colours, counts by rote up to 20, name five textures (e. g. soft, furry, hard, smooth, etc) and name the times of the day, for example bedtime, dinnertime. At age 6 children should be able to count by rote to 100, can name the days of the week in order, can print own name and can tell the month and day of their own birthday, etc.

In childcare there are many different theorists and theories to explain the different behaviours and attributes displayed whilst growing up. There are 4 main theories of development that theorists focus on. They are constructivist theory, social cognitive theory, behaviourist theory and psycho-analytical theory. Bandura is a main theorist and is widely recognised. Bandura’s theory is part of the social cognitive theories. The social cognitive theory looks at the way that children learn by observing and imitating. This process is known as ‘modelling’.

In this theory there are no developmental stages but Bandura has tried to explain why some actions are imitated and others are not. Bandura’s experiment during the 1960’s involved showing some children a video of a adult who is in a room with a large inflatable doll, known as a ‘Bobo doll’ , In one video a group of children watched the adult hitting the doll and being overall aggressive, and another adult either ignored the behaviour or encouraged it. In a second video, another group of children watched the same adult hitting the doll in the same manner as before, but the other adult intervened and punished the adult for their behaviour.

After watching the video the children were put in the same room, one-by-one, with the Bobo doll and there actions were observed and recorded. The observation showed that the children in the first group copied the aggressive behaviour on the doll but the second group showed little aggression to the doll. This experiment proved that children learn from and are influenced by adults; behaviour and actions. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is one of the most influential theories put forward. Piaget’s theory is part of the constructivist theory.

The constructivist theory is based on intellect and how children learn and development. The theory involved four stages of development, Sensori-motor (0-2 years), Pre-operational (2-7 years), Concrete operations (7-11 years) and Formal operations (11-15 years), although Piaget did add that all children might not reach the final stage but it has been suggested that Piaget underestimated children’s development. There are many different types of techniques that can be used to observe children. One technique normally used is called a checklist. Checklists are easy to use and understand.

The Tassoni book states, “They are used in many settings and form the basis of most systems of record keeping on children and young people”(Page 93) this means that this method is deemed very popular and is used a lot. This method is most commonly used in order to observe something specific. It is also easy to observe many children and is easy to be objective. The disadvantages of the method are that it has been planned beforehand and is not detailed. Also it is closed data and there is no record of how easily the child achieved each task. Another method is called time sample.

This can be used to give information at regular intervals about whatever activity the child is doing. This method is good because an activity can be recorded over a long period of time and can be more detailed. Also the observer can look after other children whilst still observing. The disadvantage is that other adults may be needed and also good time keeping is essential. One more method of observation is a written narrative. This is seen as the simplest observation since all you need is a pen and paper, because all the observer needs to do is just write what they see and is a spontaneous observation.

Also the method is versatile, which means it is quite adaptable and can be used for many different things. The disadvantage of this method is that it can be quite difficult to record everything and details can be forgotten because while you are writing something, another thing could be happening that you have now just missed. Also since you are meant to be writing things quite fast, your writing might not be legible or neat and also your sentences might not make sense, so it is important to re-write what you have written and this can take up your time.

Also you might not be able to remember what you have written causing confusion and difficulty for yourself. It is important to maintain confidentiality when doing observations. The Tassoni Childcare and Education book, states, ‘ All children, young people and their families have a right to confidentiality’ (page 98) The main reason for this is that observations might involve very personal things that should not be disclosed, mainly to help protect the child and their families.

There are different ways that practioners and others can make sure they maintain confidentiality. Examples of this are doing things such as, not using the child’s name, or child’s date of birth, store the information in a secure place such as a locked cupboard or a drawer and should not be easily accessible, so hidden in a office or closed room, and away from public places of the school. It might also be kept on a computer although it would need to be password protected to avoid accidental leaks of information of any kind.

The information should only be shared with anyone if essential because this way it helps gossiping and does not embarrass the people concerned. You should also not feel superior by knowing this information and the information should not be given or received for your own curiosity. The Data Protection Act 1998 was established to help protect individuals and to prevent the breach of private information. The Act is to be followed by all settings whether or not they have computerised records.

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