Physical Development Theorists.
Through 37 years as director of the Yale Clinic of Child Development (later renamed Yale Child Study Center), Arnold Gesell pursued the task of observing and recording the changes in child growth and development from infancy through adolescence. Gesell is a maturationist; his descriptions of developmental patterns in childhood emphasize physical and mental growth that he saw as determined primarily by heredity. By carefully observing children in his campus school, Gesell established norms or typical behaviors of children throughout childhood. He categorized these typical behaviors into 10 major areas that he called gradients of growth (Gesell & Ilg, 1949) http://www.education.com/reference/article/arnold-gesell-child-learning-development-theory/
Intellectual Development Theorists.
Howard Gardner proposed a theory of multiple intelligences that suggests there is more than one intelligence – in fact there are 8 and possibly 9 as he is currently exploring Existentialist Intelligence. He considers children and adults to be individuals who all have skills and areas that we enjoy and excel at and that these fit into our major intelligence. For example, a child who is a capable sportsman and able to problem solve how to fit his/her body into small spaces to complete an obstacle course but struggles to complete other problem solving experiences, is more likely to fit into the Bodily-Kinaesthetic intelligence. This doesn’t mean the child is unable to solve problems but is more likely to be successful when the problem or challenge relates or the solution relates to using the body. https://sielearning.tafensw.edu.au/MCS/CHCFC301A/12048/chcfc301a/lo/12020/index.htm#d27e104 Jean Piaget (1896-1990)
Piaget believed that early cognitive development occurs through a process where actions prompt thought processes, which influence the actions the next time around. He talked about Schemas which describe both the mental and physical actions involved in interpreting and understanding the world. New information acquired through an experience is used to modify, add to, or change previously existing schemas. http://familychildcareacademy.com/basic-theories-and-principles-of-child-development/
Language Development Theorists
Jerome Bruner emphasised the connection between language and thought. He saw children as an active participant in making sense of their world. Like Vygotsky, he sees cognitive development to be a social process. Discovery learning where the environment provides the answers but the child makes the connections is promoted by Bruner. He, like Vygotsky, uses the term scaffolding to describe the role of others in fostering a child’s social development (Nixon and Aldwinckle, 2003). Information processing theory sees the mind’s structure as similar to a computer, with information going in through the senses, being processed, and memory skills being used to decide if the material is retained or lost. https://sielearning.tafensw.edu.au/MCS/CHCFC301A/12048/chcfc301a/lo/12020/index.htm#d27e104 Noam Chomsky believes that children are born with an inherited ability to learn any human language. He claims that certain linguistic structures which children use so accurately must be already imprinted on the child’s mind. Chomsky believes that every child has a ‘language acquisition device’ or LAD which encodes the major principles of a language and its grammatical structures into the child’s brain. Children have then only to learn new vocabulary and apply the syntactic structures from the LAD to form sentences. Chomsky points out that a child could not possibly learn a language through imitation alone because the language spoken around them is highly irregular – adult’s speech is often broken up and even sometimes ungrammatical. Chomsky’s theory applies to all languages as they all contain nouns, verbs, consonants and vowels and children appear to be ‘hard-wired’ to acquire the grammar. Every language is extremely complex, often with subtle distinctions which even native speakers are unaware of. However, all children, regardless of their intellectual ability, become fluent in their native language within five or six years. http://aggslanguage.wordpress.com/chomsky/
Emotional Development Theorists.
John Bowlby was a theorist who examined the attachment relationship between parents and their children. He identified four phases in which attachment develops. He believed that children are born with a variety of behaviours that encourage parents and others to be near to them. These proximity-seeking behaviours include laughing, gurgling and crying. Attachment develops over a period of time and is mainly achieved by the routine caregiving tasks that parents and children are involved in (Berk 1996). Bowlby was convinced of the importance of the mother-baby bond and he believed that this special bond had a biological basis. Bowlby believed that the baby is born with the need to form this bond and mothers instinctively need to form this bond with their baby. Bowlby suggested that if mother and child are separated during the bonding process (without the baby receiving good substitute care), the baby-bonding process will be disturbed and there will be long-term negative effects on the child’s emotional development. Bowlby called the bond between mother and baby an attachment relationship. https://sielearning.tafensw.edu.au/MCS/CHCFC301A/12048/chcfc301a/lo/12020/index.htm#d27e104 His brilliance as a theoretician, diagnostician, and clinician redefined the understanding of child development—that is, how infants, young children and adolescents feel and think—guiding parents, professionals and researchers. His ideas will continue to improve the lives of children for generations to come. Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D., was the world’s foremost authority on clinical work with infants and young children with developmental and emotional problems. Dr. Greenspan died shortly after finishing his work on The Learning Tree. His seminal contributions in the theories of child development brought insight and clarity to the emotional world of infants and young children. http://www.stanleygreenspan.com/about-dr-greenspan/
Social Development Theorists.
John Dewey believed that change brings new opportunities and that we need to embrace these and think of new ways to help our children become socially responsible people rather than cling to the past and parent/educate using older methods. There is a need to move with the times – changes within our world are vast and rapid and we need to adapt our ways to meet them. His