Child Development: Importance And Stages

The Five Areas of Development in Children

Child development points out the different crucial significance of a wider range of factors which have the capability of affecting the individual pathway through which individuals grown from the time of their bath to their adulthood. There are mainly five areas of development where children develop skills (Jackman, Beaver and Watt 2014, pp: 456). These are cognitive development, social as well as emotional development, speech and language development, fine motor skill development as well as gross motor skills. Researchers are of the opinion that experiences gained by children during their early years can strongly influence the future development of the child. It is extremely important for practitioners to ensure highly quality as well as appropriate care and educations that would support their growth, development and learning that meet their individual needs (Winer et al. 2015, pp: 225). These assignments would b written in the form of portfolio, which would cover child development concept, and the ways how its study can help professionals. It will also discuss brain development and developmental theory following my opinion about the child development procedures that I would be adopting in my practice.

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Child development is the procedure which every child goes through. This procedure is seen to be involving learning as well as mastering skills that involve walking, sitting, skipping, talking as well as tying shoes. Most of the children are seen to learn these skills and they are called the developmental milestones during the specific predictable times periods. Researchers have noticed that milestone develop in a sequential fashion that means that a particular child will need to develop some specific skills before he or she can develop other types of skills (Luis and Ronaldo 2017, pp: 49). This can be explained with the help of example. A child must first learn the skill of crawling and pulling up to the standing positions before they are able to achieving the milestone of walking. Researchers have also noticed that each of the milestone that a child mainly develops acquire building on the last milestone develop (Chalke 2016).

It is extremely important for practitioners to develop detailed ideas about child development. Knowledge of child development as well as learning helps practitioners in providing the best foundation in planning for different cohorts of children. It provides the best arena to start as it helps practitioners plan experiences and environments according to age and learning needs of children. It also helps in planning the next steps for supporting the growth and needs of the child at an individual level (Pálmadóttir 2017, pp 133). It also enables them to create curriculum as well as environment tat align to the different standards and guidelines of the state in every childhood programs. It also helps them to feel confident about their own practices. This makes them believe that their practices have solid basis that align with the larger childcare professional community. Specific knowledge of each age of child development helps them to realize that child is lacking in capabilities and require special guidance (Churches, Halls and Higgins 2017, pp: 556).

The Role of Early Experiences in Child Development

Starting from the last trimester of the prenatal period, pathways of the brain starts forming by the development of new connections. At birth, newborns are seen to start with very similar brain as well as brain structures. These are the followed by the sensitive periods during the development of the brain of the child when the wiring of the brain for specific abilities is established. Researchers are of the opinion that providing nurturing; responsive as well as stimulating experiences mainly help in establishing the wiring of the brain connections (Szilagayi 2018: pp 21). Children who are well supported as well as nurtured emotionally, socially, physically as well as intellectually tend to develop multitude of neural connections. These mainly help them to serve throughout the life courses. The interest and the curiosity of the child act as the main motivators. These help in creating new connections in the brain for the acquiring of the new skills. It is seen hat each of the new skills of the child are based on the skills which are already developed and learned (Zollo 2017, pp: 55). The environment of the child mainly helps in supporting as well as enhancing the interest and curiosity of the child. Studies have shown that early brain development mainly helps in establishing the social competence of the child. It also helps in developing cognitive skills, motional well being, literacy skills, physical abilities and language. This development of brain in turn acts as markers for well being as well as life resiliency (Goddord 2015, pp: 23). The brain of the child produced more than a million of neural connections each second and this development of brain isninfleunced by many factors likes experiences, relationships and environment of the child.

It is clear that brain of the child is made of numerous brain cells that are called the neurons. These are responsible for creating connections through synapses. It is very much important for the professionals to understand the concept of learning by experience for the children. Studies have suggested that every new experience is responsible for creating new connections in the brain. Repeated experiences are seen to strengthen the connections and unused connections are seen to disappear of not used through the procedure of forgetting (Robson 2014, pp: 22). Therefore, it is extremely important for the professionals to help the children in creating new connections by exposing them to newer healthy and safe experiences and often conduct activities that enable them to repeat such experiences. The negative experiences that are not considered just for the chulddren should be prevented from making the children exposed to it. The professionals should be well aware of the critical period of brain development of the child that occurs during childhood and to some extent in the adolescent period (Genessar 2018, pp: 37). Researchers are of the opinion that formation of the new neurons and synapses is the fastest at birth and they gradually begin to slower over time. Therefore, babies and toddlers learn fast compared to adults and these situation should be used with proper planning and better expectations and good experiences by the professionals so that the child brain develops well. Researchers suggest that play is a wonderful way of helping the baby as well as toddler for development of the brain (Popeska 2016, pp: 89). Babies feel stressed and therefore comforting, cuddling and making them feel loved ensure better development of the baby. Reading is another way of promoting the brain of the child/ foe ample, it is found that hearing words and thereby seeing pictures help in connecting the two in the mind of the child. Even before he or she recognizes letters or words, reading is mainly seen to kick-start communication as well as language skills (Karmiloff 2018, pp: 69).

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Brain Development and Its Significance for Child Development

This theory is said to be concerned with the developmental procedures of the thought processes of the person. This also helps in looking at how these thought processes helps in influencing how individuals understand and thereby interact with the surrounding environment. It was the famous researcher Piaget, who had put forward an important concept (Osherson 2017, pp 229) . This might seem obvious in present days but had helped in revolutionizing about child development studies. This is that “Children think differently than adults”. This theory mainly helps in describing as well as explaining the development of the thought procedures as well as the mental states. It also helps in understanding how these procedures help in influencing the ways individuals understand and thereby interact with the child (Demetriou, shayer and Efklides 2016, pp: 45).

The first stage is called the sensorimotor stage and this stage is covered from the time of birth to that of 2 years age. Some of the major as well as the developmental changes that the researchers have found in these stages are that the infants learn to know about the world through their movement and sensations. Children learn about their world through their movements and sensations (Van-hoom et al. 2014, pp: 42). They are seen to learn about the world through their basic actions like that of sucking, grasping, looking as well as listening. They also learn that things learn to exist even when they are not been seen. They feel that they are separate beings from the other people as well as the objects about them. They realize that their actions are also seen to cause things around for happening in the world around them.

The cognitive development that is seen to occur during this phase is seen to take place over a relatively shorter period and even involves a great deal of worth. During this phase, children are seen not only to learn about the ways to perform physical across that include crawling and walking but they are also seen to learn a great deal about the language from the people with whom they interact (Sieglar 2016, pp: 130). Therefore, the professional or the people with whom the children spend most of the time should continuously encourage them for more interaction. This ensures them to learn newer words and they begin to connect themselves with others and the world surrounding them. The main arena where the practitioners and the parents should try to focus in the children belonging to such an age is object performance. This  had been coined by Piaget and is also called the object constancy, which mainly states the understanding of the fact that objects continue for existing even when they cannot be seen. This is indeed an important element in this stage of development. With the help of the parents and the professionals they need to learn that objects are separate as well as distinct entities and that they have their own specific existences in their own outside that of the individual perception. With the help of these, the practitioners should help children to develop the ability of beginning to attach the names as well as words to objects and gradually develop a connection with the world and his immediate environment (Singh et al. 2016, pp: 305).

Learning Through Experience: Creating Connections in the Brain

The next stage is called the preoperational stage that mainly extends from 2 to 7 years. Some of the major characteristics as well as the developmental changes that are seen in children in this phase are that children start thinking symbolically and thereby learn using words and pictures for representing objects. Another interesting fact stated by the researchers is that the child tends to be egocentric and they struggle for seeing things from the perspectives of the others. Although they tend to gradually get better with language as well as thinking but they still tend to think about things in very concrete terms.

The practitioners should try to understand that although the foundation of language development already starts in the previous age but emergence of language is mainly seen to be one of the major landmarks of this sage. Therefore, practitioners should prepare a suitable environment and initiate experiences that help the children to develop their language skills. They are seen to become more skilled at pretend play during this time and therefore this could be also used as opportunities for helping the children develop new knowledge and scopes. Although tgey learn through pretend play but they are still seen to struggle with logic and taking of the point of view of the other people. They are also seen to struggle with the understanding of the ideas of constancy. Therefore, the professionals should introduce innovative play options or activities that help them in overcoming the difficult barriers (Singh et al. 2016, pp: 342). For example, when the practitioner would give two same amount of clay to the children with one made into ball and the other made flat into pancake structure, the children will choose the later because of its larger outlook. The professionals would help the children in rationalizing in such situation for their development of reasoning skills.

The third step is called the concrete operational stage that ranges from 7 to that of 11 years. The children start thinking logically about different concrete events. Here they begin to understand the concept of conservation. For example, their brain development reaches to a stage where they can successfully conduct thinking which are organized and logical. However, they are still concrete. Children are using inductive logic or reasoning from specific information for a greater principle. This can be explained with the help of an example. They learn to understand that the total amount of liquid in a short wide cup is equal to that in tall, skinny glass.

Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

While children remain concrete and literal in their thinking in this phase of development, they become more successful in using logic. Therefore, the job of the practitioner is to develop activities by which they can strengthen the logic development in the children. The egocentrism that the kids used to have in the previous stage starts disappearing. Kids are seen to become better at thinking about how other individuals might view a situation. Many of the researchers are of the opinion that although children become more logical during the concrete operational state, they are also seen to be very rigid (Greenfield and cooking 2014, pp: 425). They tend to struggle a lot with hypothetical as well as abstract concepts. Children are also seen to become less ego-centric and they tend to understand how others might visualize a situation and what they may think. They tend to understand that their thoughts are unique and others may necessarily not share the same feelings, thoughts as well as options. Therefore, practitioners and parents in this stage should be less judgmental od the children and they should not guide every actions of the children. They should be provided scope to evaluate situations themselves, learn from their mistakes and accordingly think logically how to overcome different stressful situations.

The next stage is the formal operational stage for children of 12 years and up. Teens in this age start about moral, ethical, social, philosophical as well as political issues that are seen to require theoretical as well as abstract reasoning. They start utilizing deductive logic as well as reasoning from the general principle for specific information. Here the researchers are of the opinion that children in this age develops the ability for thinking about abstract ideas and situations which are indeed the hallmark of this stage of cognitive development (Crain 2015, pp: 23). They develop he ability planning of future and reasoning in the systematic ways about hypothetical situations. Accordingly, practitioners can develop mathematic problems, quizzes, reasoning ability questions from their book chapters comprehensions and others so that they can develop effectively.

Conclusion:

This portfolio provided me a wonderful opportunity to discuss one of the widest domains of child education that is child development. The development procedure of the child is quite complex and includes a number of factors that influence effective development in children. Support, relationship with parents, responsiveness of others towards the children, the environment where the baby is developing and many others impact the brain development of child. Mainly five arenas need to be attended by the professionals to help in effective development of children. As a practitioner, I have developed the knowledge that I should focus on the cognitive development, social s well as emotional development, speech as well as language development of the children. I should also develop fine motor skill development as well as gross motor skill development so that the child does not face any difficulty to face different challenges in their lives. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development has been exceptionally helpful to understand the different stages of cognitive development of children. This had been extremely helpful, as it had helped me to understand the specific features and understanding and comprehending ability of the children in specific ages. Hence, the activities that I would be preparing for the children would be aligning with their requirements and needs. This theory would also prevent me from understanding any initiative that would pressurize the children.

There are certain areas where I would be focusing on while preparing the children for the future. The first would be the cognitive development. I would follow the Piaget’s theory where I would prepare interventions for the child to develop his ability for learning and solving problems. The next arena where I would be focusing is the social as well as the emotional development of the child. Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development would help me to develop the ability of the child to interact with others along with their ability of helping themselves and practicing self-control. Another aspect is the speech as well as language development, which is mainly the ability of the child for both understanding, and using the language and Piaget’s theory would be helpful. Fine motor skill development is the ability of the child in using muscles like their hands as well as their fingers for icing up small objects, holding spoons and turning pages in books. Another important is the gross motor skill development where the children develop the ability for using large muscles. Hence, I have to prepare myself with all skills and knowledge by which I can plan accordingly the requirements of children in their specific age in each of the above-mentioned developmental attributes.

References:

Chalke, J., 2016. Building better beginnings: a case study of how a daily physical skills session is supporting overall learning and development for young boys. Early Child Development and Care, 186(9), pp.1406-1414.

Churches, R., Hall, R. and Higgins, S., 2017. The potential of teacher-led randomised controlled trials in education research. Mobilising Teacher Researchers: Challenging Educational Inequality.pp: 556

Crain, W., 2015. Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications: Concepts and Applications. Psychology Press.pp 10-60

Demetriou, A., Shayer, M. and Efklides, A., 2016. Neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development: Implications and applications for education. Routledge. Pp: 45

Geneser, V., 2018. Illuminating Best Practice For Early Childhood Teacher EducatorS. Effective Teaching: Educators Perspective of Meaning Making in Higher Education, p.37.

Goddard, C., 2015. An essential guide to… the integrated review. Nursery World, 2015(18), pp.21-24.

Greenfield, P.M. and Cocking, R.R., 2014. Cross-cultural roots of minority child development. Psychology Press pp:412-460

Jackman, H., Beaver, N. and Wyatt, S., 2014. Early education curriculum: A child’s connection to the world. Cengage Learning. Pp 456

Karmiloff-Smith, A., 2018. Précis of Beyond modularity: A developmental perspective on cognitive science. In Thinking Developmentally from Constructivism to Neuroconstructivism(pp. 64-94). Routledge.

Luís, H. and Roldão, M.D.C., 2017. Early childhood teachers’ learning and professional development. European Scientific Journal, (June 2017/Special Edition), pp.48-60.

Osherson, D.N., 2017. Logical Abilities in Children: Volume 1: Organization of Length and Class Concepts: Empirical Consequences of a Piagetian Formalism. Routledge. Pp: 556-559)

Pálmadóttir, H., 2017. Value conflicts as important learning opportunities. In Values in Early Childhood Education (pp. 132-145). Routledge.

Popeska, B., 2016. Manifestation, assesment and development of coordination at Macedonian childen in early school period.p : (78-96)

Robson, S., 2014. Self-regulation and early school success.

Siegler, R.S., 2016. Continuity and change in the field of cognitive development and in the perspectives of one cognitive developmentalist. Child Development Perspectives, 10(2), pp.128-133.

Singh, R., Wexler, K., Astle-Rahim, A., Kamawar, D. and Fox, D., 2016. Children interpret disjunction as conjunction: Consequences for theories of implicature and child development. Natural Language Semantics, 24(4), pp.305-352.

Szilagyi, J.R., 2018. Early childhood teachers’ conceptualizations of learning in three different educational public-school settings (Doctoral dissertation).pp: 21

Van Hoorn, J.L., Monighan-Nourot, P., Scales, B. and Alward, K.R., 2014. Play at the center of the curriculum. Pearson.p: 42

Winer, A., Hebbeler, K., Nelson, R., Gundler, D., Cate, D., Hudson, L., Taylor, C. and Peters, M.L., 2015. Critical questions about early intervention and early childhood special education. Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy).pp: 225

Zollo, L.M., 2017. Initial teacher education for early childhood teachers: A rhizomatous inquiry (Doctoral dissertation, Queensland University of Technology).pp: 55