Factors Affecting Cognitive Development

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The future development and maintenance of the world is in the hands of the children at present. These children will grow up to be our politicians, doctors and accountants. However these very prestigious positions aren’t just handed out like ice cream. Only a selective group of people possess the qualities to achieve these occupations, mainly consisting of children growing up in a relatively medium to high socioeconomic and loving family. This secure and supportive upbringing stabilises the child’s mental development by providing consistent education (school) and domestic learning skills. However children that are deprived of this (i.e. orphans) go through much tougher experiences and don’t mentally develop the same as others because they are not given the same opportunities. The issue of relative loss due to ill health or accident can put a barrier between a child’s mind and a healthy mental development. Also children that move country are cognitively halted due to the fact that they have to ‘catch up’ with new languages and culture. As children enter the later stages of their childhood, many differing factors can be identified about how they were raised or just by assessing their attitude, actions and abilities. Some children are more interested in getting a university degree, while others are still immature and don’t have any idea of what they want to do with their lives, still believing that after school is finished they will not have to be independent. All these issues will be discussed and verified using numerous studies and tests.

Children that are abandoned by their parents in the early stages of their lives are already limited from developing as they don’t even know their real parents and usually the quest to find their parents takes over from their learning. Children that live in orphanages may also be restricted from cognitive development, if they attend school they could experience bullying or being singled out due to their living arrangement and would associate negative emotions with school and learning. A recent study analysing the difference between foster children and orphanage children gave some very interesting results. It discovered that children in a foster family were given a “father and mother figure” which therefore distracts them from the thoughts of who their parents really are. It also performed a study of the student’s performance at school. Showing that the foster family children were excelling compared with the orphanage and the study explained that the foster kids had “two to one, home teaching”. Meaning both foster parents contributed to the child’s understanding and learning of the material presented at school. On the other hand the orphanage supplies tuition, however it is on a larger scale, with up to 40 children being tutored simultaneously. This denies the child from one-on-one learning that foster children and average children receive. One-on-one learning experiences are almost compulsory for a young child to be successful in developing cognitively. The findings of this study thus indicate that childhood experiences do alter cognitive development. Even before school and kindergarten, parents or guardians provide excellent role models to increase learning and development. Most parents these days will teach their children basics, like reading, writing, language and counting before they even commence kindergarten. This gives the child an upper hand in cognitive development before they enter education and may find learning easier and more fun. Also it is proven that children whom are raised in a slightly higher socioeconomic family tend to develop mentally quicker due to the fact that more consistent education is given by the parents. Later on in life these children become the kind of student that likes to take on a challenge, work through it and master it. However children from a lower socioeconomic background with less home education may get frustrated with the task and give up. Some of...
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