Every child has needs. A need is defined as “a requirement, a thing necessary for life” (Pollard and Liebeck, 1994, pp539). This essay will look specifically into the physical and psychological needs of a three year old child and how they should be met in a setting/nursery. Aspects of how these needs tie in with statutory requirements as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Physical development allows children to explore their environment, which allows for new types of behaviour. It has an important effect on cognitive, social and emotional development. It also affects the way in which others respond to the child and influences the child’s self-concept and self esteem (Bee 1995). Psychological development includes social and emotional needs. Socialisation is the way in which we learn to become members of groups within our society and culture. Developing emotionally is learning how to express and cope with feelings that are socially acceptable for the culture we live in.
Physical needs of a three year old are the tangible necessities s/he requires for secure and healthy growth and development. Growth and development depend on suitable nourishment, age appropriate exercise, rest and sleep, playing and learning, hygiene and health and safety. A healthy diet is absolutely necessary for an all round development and physical growth. However, individual children grow and develop at different rates. Percentile charts help in assessing and recording physical development. Region and race appropriate charts should be used to make accurate observations. Healthy eating is a key factor in promoting good health. It is important to get the food nutrients balance right. Essential nutrients help the body grow, repair damage and fight infections. The seven essential nutrients are; carbohydrates, water, protein, vitamins, fats, minerals and fibre. A healthy balanced diet is essential. Food should be attractive and appealing to the child. The child should be encouraged to help in the preparation of the food, laying the table and clearing up. Mealtimes are an excellent opportunity for socialisation.
Age appropriate exercise encourages ideal development of the muscles, heart and lungs. It also curbs obesity and health problems associated with obesity. Good posture and co-ordination are also promoted. Both rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep are essential for healthy functioning of the nervous system. The effects of lack of sleep can be serious – irritability, poor concentration, visual problems and even hallucinations and psychotic behaviour. A three year olds mind needs stimulation through play and learning. Personal hygiene encourages a feeling of well being, helps prevent infections and helps in the removal of waste products. Body, teeth, hair, nails...