Demonstrate Your Understanding of Average Child Development Using Detailed Knowledge of One Child Development Theory and Making Links to Two of Your Observations.

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Demonstrate your understanding of average child development using detailed knowledge of one child development theory and making links to two of your observations. My knowledge of average child development will be illustrated by looking at Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, this will be linked into two of the observations that I have made whilst studying a 3 year 4 month old boy in a nursery setting for an hour at a time. This will be connected with legal policies and framework that show the importance of child development in relation to social work practice. It will then be noted how these observations on child development can help us to understand social work practice and make sure that practice is anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory. The observations will also be used to show how anti-oppression and anti-discrimination have been carried out in a nursery setting. This is fundamental in understanding what average child development would be considered so that there can be awareness when a child is not developing ‘normally’. Piaget studied cognitive development and saw it as how children adapt to the world to try and find meaning and to develop their understanding. He believed that it was the role of the adult to provide the child with a stimulating environment which allowed the children to manipulate objects and ideas. Piaget saw cognitive development as a set of stages that all children needed to go through and that they had to fully complete one stage before moving on to the next, these stages are; sensory motor, pre-operational, concrete operational and formal operational. “Although there have been criticisms of Piaget, the contribution that he has made to our understanding of children’s intellectual development is still significant. He suggested that children progress through a series of stages in their thinking, each of which corresponds to broad changes in the structure and logic of their intelligence” (Brigid, D et al 2010 p153) Piaget claims that this theory is universal and applies to all children regardless of race or culture. This initially links to both my observations as, in my observations the nursery always had differing activities set up for the children to participate in, this can be associated with Piaget’s belief that it is the role of the adult to provide the children with a stimulating environment in which they can manipulate ideas. In my second observation a table is set up for the children to mix flour and water to make dough and make decorations, the workers were supervising this situation without actually being involved in the making of the dough, this provides a stimulating environment in which the child can learn. This correlates with Piaget believing that children initially learn through physical experiences. Piaget claims that children have a physical experience and through this they create a schema, this is a mental representation they have from what they know. These schemata are then adapted over time through assimilation, which then reaches equilibrium before becoming accommodation, this occurs as the children learn new information. “Schema’s are basic building blocks and are the internal representation of a physical or mental action” (Crawford, K and Walker J 2010 p46). An example of a schema being adapted from assimilation into accommodation is in my first observation where the child is playing with the train tracks, he is driving his train through when another child puts a block down in front of the child’s train and tells the child that there is a blockage and he cannot go through, the child’s assimilation is that the train must go around the track in one direction, the child then adapts his knowledge when the new information is provided that he cannot go through and he will have to change direction, the child then reaches accommodation by reversing the train around the track. Piaget states that these schemata and how they change will continue through all the stages that...
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