Early Childhood Care and Education

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All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual – Albert Einstein.

This essay will endeavour to outline that ‘children develop in an integrated and holistic manner’, giving a brief summary of the core stages of development, physical, cognitive, social and emotional, while including the theory of great pioneers in the field of developmental psychology.

Holistic development refers to the integrated nature of children’s development in the following areas, physical, cognitive, emotional, social, language, moral, creative, spiritual, and cultural awareness; all these developmental threads are closely linked and interdependent. The word holistic originates from the Greek word ‘Holos’ meaning whole, entire and complete, thus the fundamental interconnectedness of all things (Adams, 1998). Holistic development means looking at the whole child (Fabian & Mould, 1991, P.9). The word integrated is defined as “To make into a whole by bringing all parts together; unify”, It is important to stress that children develop in an integrated and holistic manner e.g. If a child’s physical development is impeded then their capacity to explore the world will be affected and this affects their learning (O’Hagan & Smith, 1999, P.3). Play is the process through which children learn, play occurs throughout life, although the form of play varies as a child grows older. Babies play while exploring with their hand and feet, while a young child may dress up as part of pretend play. Play is considered to be one of the primary needs of a child and is often said to be a child work (Tassoni & Hueker, 2005, P.1) Physical development can be broken into two categories, fine and gross motor skills. Gross motor skills refers to the use of the larger muscles of the body e.g. jumping, running, skipping etc. while fine motor skills refers to the use of the smaller muscles in the body e.g. holding a crayon, fastening a button,...
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