Human Development

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Human Developement

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Culture and society have profound influences on a child’s growth and development and are important considerations for early childhood teachers if they wish to better understand children and provide higher quality early childhood education and services to children and their families, (Te Whaariki, Ministry of Education, 1996). One particular example of the effect that culture and society can have on the growth and development of a child is child-rearing practices. Different cultural groups and societies have diverse styles of child-rearing practices which are uniquely influenced by a range of values, beliefs and dominate assumptions (Berk, 2003). A significant factor in view of child-rearing practices is the role of the family. Different cultures and societies have different ideas about the nature of a family. Some cultures value a nuclear family, while others are more accepting of families which are extended, (Papalia & Olds, 1998). The decisions adults make about a child’s growing independence will also vary. In some cultures, decisions are made based upon age or gender, where for some the child’s ability will be the most important factor (Berk, 2003). Bronfrenbrenners Ecological Systems Theory is very useful for the study of child development within a social and cultural context as it provides a framework which acknowledges the entirety of a child’s world and the vast array of social and cultural influences on a child’s growth and development, (Berk, 2003). Bronfrenbrenner described his theory as involving “the scientific study of the progressive, mutual accommodation between an active, growing human being and the changing properties of

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the immediate settings in which the developing person lives, as this process is affected by relations between these settings, and by the larger contexts in which the settings are embedded”, (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 21). Bronfenbrenner’s theory involves the identification of specific systems,

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