March 14, 2011
Infancy and Early Childhood Development
Infancy and early childhood are referred to as those immature years of life and the stage at which most of a child’s development occurs. To strengthen the development of a child’s learning one must understand the physical and mental factors that affect a child’s development through observation and interaction. Development begins during the prenatal period on up to the early years and depends on the nutritional, medical, emotional, and intellectual support of parents, family members, caregivers, and teachers (Cherry, 2011). Parenting styles also play a role in what influences development as well as early childhood education programs. During the prenatal period when a child’s development begins, thus being aware of many factors that can damage the fetus and the development of a healthy child. In the early years the development of physical growth is through constant change. A key component in a child’s development is based on good nutrition as well as motor milestones needed for a child to succeed. Piaget and many other theorists refer to stages of specific age that defines the milestones reached. However, every child is different and so are there developmental successes (Berger, 2008). Infants develop skills based on their experiences in exploring the world around them. Physical play allows them to develop coordination as well as stronger muscles. Sensory skills are developed through taste, smell, touch, seeing, hearing, and from that perception is gained. Motor, sensory, and perceptual skills are supported by stimulation and a caring environment. Cognitive development occurs when a child becomes aware of physical sensations such as his or her mouth, hands, and feet. This is when an infant will explore and begin to understand what is around them (Berger, 2008). It is through early childhood that physical and neuropsychological changes help to increase coordination, control, manipulation, and movement through refining motor and perceptual skills. A good example of refining motor skills is through lacing and threading when tying their shoes as well as writing and drawing. It is these changes that create the milestones of such development. Environmental stimulus creates neurological development to control body functions to succeed in sports and other body-related skills. To enable such development to master such skills one must provide children with the opportunities of a challenging environment to learn and improve on such skills. The importance of childhood development is based on peer relationships, social play, and emotional development that help them build on self and moral values. As children engage in such play, he or she will begin to explore ways to solve problems as well as how they view other’s perspectives (Berger, 2008). It is through a stimulating and supportive environment that will allow a child to develop. The support of the parents, family members, and other individuals will help a child develop self-concept and self-esteem to learn and grow, and will be the foundation for building strong relationships with the ability to express emotion. Such a foundation will allow a child to develop by exploring new situations and being able to build on that to create healthy relationships (Berger, 2008). Parenting Styles and their Influence
Family structure also affects both cognitive and emotional development of a child and is based on the size of the family and what order the child was born. However, a child’s performance is based on how safe and secure the child feels as well as an environment that provides warmth, consistency, and family communication. Family structure also leads to other factor that influences childhood development and the styles in which parents teach that may or may not be a supportive foundation. A clinical psychologist named Diane Baumrind discovered that there were four...