Explain What Constitutes the Physical and Psychological Needs of a Three Year Old Child. Explain How These Needs Can Ideally Be Met in a Childcare Setting.

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Explain what constitutes the physical and psychological needs of a three year old child. Explain how these needs can ideally be met in a childcare setting.

Explain what constitutes the physical and psychological needs of a three year old child. Explain how these needs can ideally be met in a childcare setting.

A three year old child starts to become more independent, often wanting to do things without intervention from adults. It is the age that most children are toilet trained and children of this age can,generally make themselves understood verbally. In order to create an environment which allows children to grow, develop and flourish it is vital that close attention is paid.


If we take Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as our framework in looking at the actual needs which need to be met on the road to self-development, and we think of them in relation to a 3 year old we can see that there are certain pre-requisites that need to be met in order to give the child the mental freedom to develop. This translates in a childcare setting to meeting the physiological needs such as sleep, warmth, air, exercise, food and nutrition. If there is a deficit in any of these areas the child will become either lethargic, overly-tired,anxious, irritable, or malnourished and in such circumstances the child would be unable to develop fully. A childcare provider needs to provide opportunities for all three year olds to have a short nap, if required, to exercise and play outdoors and to eat a nutritious, balanced diet which provides the vitamin and nutrients required for physical development. Additionally the facility needs to be warm enough with good ventilation.

In terms of physical needs, children need to have the opportunity to develop gross motor skills, which are strongly linked to broader cognitive development, through running, skipping, jumping, hopping, playing with a ball. There should also be provision for development of fine motor skills through activities such as drawing, threading, clay modelling, puzzles and eating together as a group with an adult to develop motor skills in eating with cutlery whilst observing social mores.

Once these primary biological/ physiological requirements are met, Maslow talks about the need for Safety, Order, Protection, Limits. Within a childcare environment for a three-year old, this will include consistent application of relevant Health and Safety Practices, as well as children having a clear understanding about what they can and can't do regarding safety and health ( sharp objects, washing hands, covering mouth when coughing, not hitting others, not standing in front of a swing etc). This should give them not only an appreciation about what constitutes safety for themselves but also an appreciation and respect for the safety of others. Safety also includes suitable clothing for different weather conditions and children should begin to develop an understanding of what is suitable for hot sunny weather and why we protect ourselves from the sun as well as wearing warm clothes in winter. At this age, children should begin to be involved in their own personal hygiene, including washing hands after the toilet and before eating,toothbrushing and not sharing toothbrushes for example.

The Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (2012), pays particular attention to Safety Issues such as written Health and Safety policies and procedures, staff training, staff to child ratios, recruitment of suitable people,access to first aid, non use of or threat of corporal punishment and the safety of the premises for children. This includes indoor and outdoor space and also having a hygienic area for the preparation and/ or safe storage of food.

Around three years of age, children begin to explore their world and their limits and this state of curiosity can be encouraged only if their physical, safety needs are met and also if...
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