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Child Development and Developmental Science

Question:

This assessment requires you to draw on your learning from weeks 1-7, in relation to theories of learning and development, and respond to a statement in the form of a scholarly essay with academic referencing. 
 

This essay aims to draw our learning in relation to the theories of learning and development and images of the child. The deconstruction of the statement-“Our image of the child is rich in potential, strong, powerful, competent and most of all, connected to the adults and other children” will be taken into consideration. The stages of childhood concern a type of apprenticeship for consecutive stages of the future. Childhood is the initial step for getting mentally prepared to learn new things. Child development is an element of an interdisciplinary field called as developmental science. It comprises of all the alterations which is experienced throughout the lifetime. Huge diversity distinguishes the concerns as well as interests of several investigators who are involved with the study of child development. All of them want to accomplish the similar goal: to explain and recognize the factors that persuade the consistencies and alterations in young individuals in the first two decades of existence. This essay will also identify and discuss the theories and will explore the implications of the theories along with the images for learning as well as teaching.

The understanding of individuals regarding child development involves an interdisciplinary approach (Kolb, 2014).  By involving the mutual efforts of individuals from different fields it has attained a successful growth. Because of the necessity to solve daily problems relating to the children, several researchers from different fields such as sociology, psychology, biology, neuroscience and anthropology have joined hands with the professionals from medicine, public health, education, social service, family studies et. Child development is a field which exists today as an acknowledgment to the involvements of these disciplines. The knowledge regarding child development is not just logically important but appropriate and valuable (Trawick-Smith, 2013).

The interdisciplinary study with respect to human constancy and alteration is divided into three broad domains: Cognitive, social and emotional, physical. These three domains are not really different. Rather, they come together in an amalgamated, holistic approach to yield the existing, growing child (Gonzalez-Mena, 2013).  Moreover, all the domains are influenced by each other. Social and emotional development involves the changes in social and emotional communications, knowledge of self-understanding regarding other people, friendships, interpersonal skills, intimate relationships, behavior and moral reasoning (Lewis & Mitchell, 2014). Cognitive development involves the alterations in the intellectual abilities together with memory, attention, academic and knowledge of each and every day, creativity, language, problem solving and imagination. Physical development involves the alterations in size of the body, appearance, functioning of the body, motor and perceptual capacities along with physical health (Wasserman & Zambo, 2013).

Besides differentiating and amalgamating the three domains, an additional dilemma comes up in the discussion of development which is involved with how to part time flow into reasonable, controllable parts. The researchers frequently utilizes the periods of age which brings societal expectations and new capabilities that function as significant transitions in the key theories (Morrison, 2013). 

Domains of Development: Cognitive, Social and Emotional, Physical

In the field of early childhood care and education, a theory refers to a collection of thoughts that elucidate a certain subject matter in the field of learning and development in children (Penn, 2014). Characteristically, the development of a theory occurs through the utilization of thoughtful and coherent forms of conceptual and comprehensive idea. Additionally, a theory is frequently based on common ideologies that are autonomous of what is being elucidated. As a result, someone who thinks regarding the given details and comes up with a probable elucidation for those details is known as a theorist. A number of individuals articulate that theorists turn up with conceptual thoughts and viewpoints and subsequently spend their lives struggling to prove themselves, since ideas can constantly be uncertain until confirmed completely. What theories offer are ‘ways of knowing’ that persuade thoughts and impact on performing in meticulous ways (Mitchell et al., 2013).  

From the theories, different sets of suppositions are created regarding how little children learn as well as develop, and what knowledge and education may possibly and be supposed to appear like (Kolb, 2014).  These suppositions persuade the way educators reflect and operate, and they possess an impact on their thoughts and viewpoints. They vision the world in definite ways. They recognize and elucidate what is happening based on the existing theories they identify in relation to, and that reverberate with their individual understanding, thoughts and consideration (Bruce, 2012). These are the speculative viewpoints, the analysis arising from the theories from which educators function on a daily basis when functioning in the settings of early childhood. These theoretical perceptions could be on social views of upbringing, how children gain knowledge, and the responsibility of families as well as communities in the development of a child (Gordon & Browne, 2013).

Theories place children and their education in meticulous behaviors which have implications for how educators instruct, discover and recognize the development of child. Courses intended to train educators to work in the education of early childhood and concerned professions are supported by a diversity of theories that associate with a variety of characteristics of development of child and learning such as mental and emotional expansion, physical and cognitive development, verbal communication and societal development, engage in recreation, self-sufficiency along with independence (Essa, 2013).  

In Western countries the most important theorists includes Vygotsky, Bandura, Erikson, Ainsworth, Piaget, Bowlby, and Skinner. The viewpoints of these theorists enlighten and direct the work of educators’ with families, young children, as well as communities and at the same time they make available theoretical understandings on characteristics that are complicated to understand (Trawick-Smith, 2013). Thinking intensely regarding one’s performance and then associating this with the theoretical viewpoints that enlighten that practice facilitates the educators to proceed in a more knowledgeable way to alter their practice (Wittmer et al., 2012). 

Talking about the developmental theories, these theories initiated from the conventional base for development of child involving developmental psychology and created the conception that there is a worldwide outline of development and consequently an expected way to development and learning for every child (Penn, 2014). . Ideas developing in the course of the 19th century focused on the pragmatic alterations in children as they matured. These alterations or ‘milestones’ have been expressed into different phases which are differentiated by qualitatively diverse behaviors (Bornstein & Bradley, 2014).

The Role of Theories in Early Childhood Education

A number of developmental theorists observe development as an irregular course of action. They consider that development engages separate and different stages with diverse types of behavior taking place in every stage (Trawick-Smith, 2013).   On the other hand few support a unremitting vision of development and propose that development engages regular and continuing alterations throughout the existence, with behavior in the prior developmental stages providing the foundation of talent and capabilities essential for the subsequent stages.

Developmental theories are condemned for not reflecting the existence of present children and their knowledge by not focusing on the societal and educational characteristics that impact on the process of development (Lewis & Mitchell, 2014).  


Talking about Socio-cultural theories, in modern years, these theories have offered a significant theoretical tool for rethinking a great deal of the practice in early childhood education. They illustrate profoundly on the effort of Vygotsky (1962), and more lately Rogoff (1990). These theories suggest that educators should be able to comprehend ‘the development of children in the perspective of their individual communities’. The children are placed as learners through the system of belief to which they are demonstrated and in the course of their communications with others (Crain, 2015). .

Hedegaard (2004) illustrates this sight of development as the association between the society and the child. This means observing the development of a child in the conditions of their society, furthermore Fleer argues, ‘society not just establishes the values for defining the process of development but outlines the framework in which the child development is supported’ (Swim, 2015).

Vygotsky observed the societal surroundings as being influential to the learning of a child. It means that learning in the company of and from other individuals is prioritized. Prospects of what a child can accomplish at definite ages turn out to be uncertain as dissimilar cultural observations are reinforced through the community of a child (Mooney, 2013). 

Taking into consideration the Socio-behaviorist theories, it might seem unusual to cluster behavioral and social theories collectively as they are two extremely contradictory approaches (Morrison, 2013). Though, the major dissimilarities on which they rely involves their outlook of the child, their vision of the responsibility of grown-up individuals and their vision of understanding and create them questionably more appealing when positioned in concurrence than when alienated (Morrison, 2013).  For behaviorists, information is provided to the children by the grown-ups in bite-sized amounts, whilst for the sociologists, understanding is formed as we comprehend life whilst interrelate with other individuals. The behaviorist children are flexible and moldable individuals who can be shaped by our wish, completely a product of the setting in which they mature (Crain, 2015). 

Social learning is considered to be predisposed by internal procedures concerning awareness, recollection, and inspiration, which may not be as willingly visible as behavior along with its consequences (Mitchell et al., 2013). Little children are particularly adjusted to learning in the course of representation or observing others, particularly if they recognize with the representation, or observe that the representation is reinforced for its procedures. Therefore, antagonistic and aggressive actions revealed by animated characters or additional media and perceived by the children might in fact persuade children to act in comparable ways, particularly if the character is resistant for its actions (Gonzalez-Mena, 2013).  

Implications of Theoretical Perspectives for Educators


Ideas that distinguish behaviorism comprise the conviction that anybody can gain knowledge of everything if they are given the correct support; this positive support will motivate them to learn (Wittmer et al., 2012).  Learning is hence perceived as being connected with societal and physical habituation. It is throughout the strengthening of behaviors displayed by the children. This signifies that the focus is not on the process of development but relatively on the process of learning along with the circumstances that facilitate or restrict the process of learning (Bruce, 2012).

It is an approach that is directed by a teacher, and is not by the children.  Educators make a decision regarding the everyday tasks to be well-read and subsequently direct the children to start these tasks (Bornstein & Bradley, 2014). They construct their assessments regarding what is to be learnt and after that make available what is essential in reaction to the behavior of children to make sure the learning takes place (Penn, 2014).  The key encouragers to this process of gaining knowledge are rewards along with reinforcements. In the settings of early childhood, educators have a tendency to reward constructive, preferred behavior through appreciation or rewards, furthermore overlook less pleasing behavior in the conviction that all the things can be learned as well as also unlearned (Kolb, 2014). 

In the end, it can be concluded that the theories of childhood development and learning assists in explaining the ways by which children learn as well as grow, the means by which their behavior might be tailored and improved, furthermore why it is argued that their results are created by biology as well as experiences. The stages of childhood concern a type of apprenticeship for consecutive stages of the future. Childhood is the initial step for getting mentally prepared to learn new things. Child development is an element of an interdisciplinary field called as developmental science. By considering the factors which might sustain or compromise the process of development and incorporating this understanding into individual effort with the children as well as their families are fundamental towards enlightening more encouraging surroundings. The professionals of early childhood can assist the parents and additional caregivers by instructing them with the ways of spending and enjoying more time with their children, strengthen optimistic skills, supervise actions and set restrictions, as well as lessen the utilization of insensitive disciplinary ways. These are the vital skills of parenting that facilitate children to develop constructive social behavior, pro-activeness, and some other skills which they will require in school and other environments for becoming successful in an efficient manner.   

References

Bornstein, M. H., & Bradley, R. H. (Eds.). (2014). Socioeconomic status, parenting, and child development. Routledge.

Bruce, T. (2012). Early childhood education. Hachette UK.

Crain, W. (2015). Theories of development: Concepts and applications. Psychology Press.

Essa, E. (2013). Introduction to early childhood education. Cengage Learning.

Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2013). Foundations of early childhood education: Teaching children in a diverse society. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Gordon, A., & Browne, K. (2013). Beginnings & beyond: Foundations in early childhood education. Cengage Learning.

Kolb, D. A. (2014). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. FT press.

Lewis, C., & Mitchell, P. (2014). Children's early understanding of mind: Origins and development. Psychology Press.

Mitchell, R., Myles, F., & Marsden, E. (2013). Second language learning theories. Routledge.

Mooney, C. G. (2013). Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky. Redleaf Press.

Morrison, G. S. (2013). Fundamentals of early childhood education. Pearson Higher Ed.

Penn, H. (2014). Understanding early childhood. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Swim, T. J. (2015). Theories of child development: Building blocks of developmentally appropriate practices. Development, 10, 27.

Trawick-Smith, J. (2013). Early childhood development: A multicultural perspective. Pearson Higher Ed.

Wasserman, L. H., & Zambo, D. (2013). Introduction. In Early Childhood and Neuroscience-Links to Development and Learning (pp. 1-5). Springer Netherlands.

Wittmer, D. S., Petersen, S. H., & Puckett, M. B. (2012). The young child: Development from prebirth through age eight. Pearson Higher Ed.

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