Understand Children and Young Person development
There are many factors that influence child development, and for most of them, we do have some control. When working with children and young people it is important to have a good understanding of what children need to grow, so as professionals we are better able to address the needs.
A child’s environment, for example, their family or school play a huge part in their development. Some of the main factors that influence a child’s development are their family, where the child lives, and socio-economic status. These factors often cross over and blend as they are related.
Abraham Maslow (1908-70) developed a humanistic approach to create a theory of human needs which is relevant to all ages, not just for children. He described five levels of need- physical, safety, social, self-esteem, creativity – and proposed that each level must be met before progressing to the next level. It is difficult to reach one’s full potential unless the lower level needs have been met. Meggit (2011) Below shows Maslow’s hierarchy of need’s.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Meggit, 2011, pp. 78).
Looking from a Maslow perspective if a child or young person’s needs are not met for example, on the lower end not fed and given proper warmth and shelter they will be unable to move up the pyramid.
If children suffer from poor health or a physical disability or impairment, this may restrict their developmental opportunities. For example, a child who has a medical condition or impairment may be less able to participate in some activities then other children. This may initially affect physical development but may also restrict social activities, for example on the playground. The child’s emotional development may also be affected, depending on their awareness of their needs and the extent to which they are affected. It is important that adults in school are aware of how pupils may be affected by these kinds of conditions and circumstances, so that can support them by ensuring that they are included as far as possible in all activities.
A child with learning disabilities should be encouraged to develop in all areas to the best of their ability and as much as they can. When working children and young people with learning disabilities it is important to collaborate with other professionals involved with the child sharing advice and guidelines, supporting and managing the child’s needs while encouraging their development.
When working a school, pupil’s background and family environment are external factors that can effect a child’s development. Pupils come from range of different family environments, cultures and circumstances and a lot of changes which occur during the year may not be known to the school. These may include family break-up or the introduction of a new partner, bereavement illness, moving house or changing country. Any one of these may affect effect a children’s emotional and/or intellectual development, and you may notice a change in pupil behaviour and ability to learn as a result.
Over the years there have been major changes to the structure of the family which increase diversity such as, more single parent families, which links with the decrease in the nuclear family, gay and lesbian families, extended families and more step families (reconstituted).
Poverty and deprivation have a significant effect on a pupil’s development. Children who come from a deprived home are less likely to thrive and achieve well in school, as parents may find it harder to manage their children’s needs, which may impact on other areas of a child’s development. Linked to Poverty and deprivation, education plays an important role in a child’s development, if children are not attending school they may disengage with education due to falling behind with work or parents regarding...
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