Considerations for Child Development - Middle Childhood

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Physical development is concerned with the biological changes of the body and the brain. It includes genetics, a foetus’s growth in the mother’s womb, the birth process, brain development and the acquisition of fine motor skills; it also encompasses behaviours that promote and impede health and environmental factors that influence physical growth. (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010, p. 5). I have chosen to evaluate the physical developmental stage of middle childhood, children the ages of six to ten years of age. This essay discusses the considerations for physical development and how it can be supported in the learning environment. It will look at motor development and its influences, the benefits of physical activity, and the consequences of inactivity. How a student’s physical development can facilitate or restrict development in other areas, and how we can support the physical needs and development of students. Generally, children will develop their motor skills at them same time in life, however there are other factors that influence this development e.g. a child’s environmental influences, (nurture) and also inherited characteristics and tendencies (nature). There are many things a teacher can do to facilitate a student’s basic cognitive process, they can help children pay attention to things that are important for them to remember; e.g. completing homework tasks, throwing litter in the bin, raising their hand and waiting before they speak in class. Introducing new information to the students existing knowledge will help them to continue to improve and learn. In middle childhood, children start to improve further on their fine motor skills, their handwriting becomes smaller, smoother and more consistent, and they will also start to participate in such fine motor activities as sewing, model building and arts and crafts projects. They will also intensify their speed, and coordination in running kicking, catching and dribbling. (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010, p. 161) In the case of infants and young children, teachers should try to provide a variety of sensory experiences, to facilitate a student’s motor development. It is very important to gain a balance of physical activity as well as class room work for a healthy all round child of this age group. Regular physical activity can benefit students by actually increasing their attention to more cognitively demanding tasks (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010, p. 172), in most cases if a child has a chance to be active and move around, they may be better able to prepare and settle into their theory work. Sport is another way that physical activity can benefit children. During Middle Childhood children begin to be more interested and start to excel in sport and athletics. Both organised and individual sports can be a good way to help maintain and enhance a child’s physical strength, endurance and agility. It can also promote social development by fostering communication, cooperation, and leadership skills (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010, p. 171). ‘The reality is that appearance is influential in social relationships, and it does affect how children feel about themselves’ (Chu, 2000; Dohnt & Tiggermann, 2006b; Harter, 1999.). Regular physical activity can help improve a child’s fitness, and help to maintain their weight and physical appearance, therefore making them feel better about themselves. Prolonged inactivity can result in weight gain, therefore effecting a student’s social emotional development. Being overweight or obese is a serious health risk in childhood. It predicts health problems in adulthood (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010, p. 189). Prolonged inactivity can cause lack of motivation and a decline in a child’s self-confidence. This is particularly important as during Middle Childhood, children start to develop friendships and internalise many of society’s rules and prohibitions (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010, p. 29). If a child fails to be physically active on a regular basis,...
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