Elizabeth Barlow: Child Development in the Early Years

Topics: Developmental psychology, Child development, Childhood Pages: 7 (2619 words) Published: October 11, 2013
Elizabeth Barlow
4010 LDS - Child Development in the Early Years Within this assignment I will discuss the importance of practitioners in the children’s workforce having a good knowledge of infant and child development theory. I will demonstrate my knowledge of both infant and child developmental theory including historical theory and theories of development in the womb. I will discuss specific aspects and theories I consider to be important within infant and child development and I will highlight theories of child development I find to be of more importance than others referencing these to my practice. I will also discuss how children, young people and their parents benefit from practitioners within the educational system having a good knowledge of infant and child development theory. Early childhood development is defined as,

“a set of concepts, principles, and facts that explain, describe and account for the processes involved in change from immature to mature status and functioning” (Katz, 1996, p. 137). Experts such as Berk (2000) divide child development in to three broad categories which are: physical development; cognitive development and social, emotional and behavioural development. Physical development is how we refer to any change in the body, including how children grow, how they move, and also how they perceive their environment. Gross motor skills and fine motor skills would also come under physical development. Cognitive development pertains to the mental processes such as language, memory and problem solving that children use to acquire and use knowledge. Emotional and social development addresses how children understand and manage their own feelings and also how they handle relationships with others. Over the years there have been many different theorists, each of them with their own personal views on child development. However, we must also that remember that the development of a child does not start on the day upon which they are born but in fact, the process of development starts at conception. Before birth it is the responsibility of the mother to ensure of a healthy environment for the foetus to grow, i.e. the womb. Barker (1990) says, “The womb may be more important that the home.”

Gluckman (2006) suggests that poor nutrition during foetal development could lead to the child to expect a hostile environment in later life, thus affecting its ability to cope with a richer environment. Gluckman believes that developmental factors within the womb do not cause disease, however they create a situation where the individual may become more (or less) sensitive to certain factors in their postnatal environment. Ludwig & Currie (2010) on the other hand, suggest that developmental factors in the womb can lead to disease and they believe that maternal weight gain during pregnancy increases birth weight independently of genetic factors and that this subsequently increases the long-term risk of obesity-related disease in the offspring. I believe that it is of upmost importance for practitioners within the children’s workforce to have a good knowledge of both infant and child development theory. Without a good understanding I believe that as a primary carer, wrong decisions could be made which could in theory, jeopardise the development of a child in our care. Hanz Peter Dreitzel (1971) believed that the child was an ‘incomplete organism’ which developed in different directions in response to different stimuli. He believed that adulthood was the critical stage of life and that childhood was merely preparation for adulthood. His belief was that adults in this time should ‘mould’ their children to make them into better adults. From experience, I believe that there are some parents that still look at the child in this way. Parents often try to...
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