Development from conception to 16 years

There are many factors which affect children’s development, such as diet as children’s diet affects their ability to keep healthy and well. A good diet makes a difference to children’s ability to concentrate and learn, love and affection, this makes a significant difference to physical well-being, behaviour and learning. Sleep is vital for cognitive function and for growth; lack of sleep affects children’s relationships with others as it makes a difference to behaviour and control of emotions.

Stimulation is important in order for the brain to develop and create opportunities to physically use the body. Children’s environment is often linked to money, as the place in which children grow up affect their development, as low-income families often have poor access to housing and facilities within the community, and that means fewer opportunities for practice of new skills. Medical conditions and illness can affect children on many different levels, some may have to take time off school or restricted on what they are able to do.

This affects them in many areas of development Physical development: Physical development is the gradual process by which children develop the use and control of muscles, gaining a wider range of movements. Motor skills are actions that involve the movement of muscles in the body controlled by the brain. Gross motor skills are larger movements involving the arm, leg, foot muscles or the entire body, such as crawling, running, jumping. From birth to 1 year, physical development is at its fastest, as the child is developing all their muscles and skills they need for later life.

It starts with the reflex action, as a baby they have 7 primary reflexes which are: Moro reflex, which is the startle reflex, walking reflex, grasping, rooting, asymmetric tonic neck and the swallowing and sucking reflex. After a few months these reflexes usually disappear. Over the next 3 months the child gains strength in the muscles of their neck and are able to lift their head and upper chest. From 6 to 9 months, they are gaining more skills and strength in their muscles as they are able to sit with support and they are able to kick, roll and crawl around.

Up to 12 months they may be able to walk alone or walk using furniture to support them and are able to sit up from lying down. According to Mary. D. Sheridan a child at 12 months “crawls on hands and knees, shuffles on buttocks or ‘bear-walks’ rapidly about the floor”. From 1 to 2 years they are now able to get to their feet without any support, they may be able to back into small chairs in order to sit down and walk up and down stairs while holding on a rail or wall in order to support themselves. According to Mary. D.

Sheridan at 2 years a child may be able to “walk into large ball when trying to kick it” From 2 to 3 years are starting to be more mobile and walk confidently, all their loco motor skills are rapidly improving and they are beginning to climb with agility. They are able to kick with force, they can walk up and down stairs and carry a toy, and they might be able to jump from the bottom. According to Mary. D. Sherdan a child at 3 years “can stand and walk on tiptoes”. At the age of four years, children are able to manage many tasks with independence. Such as eat with a fork and knife and dress themselves.

Their hand-eye co-ordination has now increased enough so they can draw pictures with more realism and make things like necklaces with strings and beads. From five to six years their development is quite steady until the point of puberty and the changes we see our mostly improvements of existing skills, such as using scissors with increased accuracy. Also they have increased their co-ordination and they are able to run and play games such as dodge ball more easily. Finally children at the age of seven to eight are now able to do “tasks more quickly and with more confidence” P.

Tassoni, childcare and education. Intellectual development. Intellectual development development is a large area of development also known as cognitive development. It includes the way in which we think and learn. It is responsible for reasoning and behaviour. It also includes understanding of abstract concepts such as the ability to remember things. Intellectual development and learning: 0-3 years. As a newborn, babies are able to make eye contact and cry to indcate needs, they are able to imitate things such as making their mouths widen and pulling their tongues out.

And they have also become awake of physical sensations such as hunger. As they get older they recognise their primary carers and they start to repeat enjoyable movements and interact with adults. By the age of 6 months they are starting to learn meanings of words such as ‘bye-bye’, ‘mama’ and ‘dada’. They know to raise their arms to be picked up and turn around immediately when they hear their main carer’s voice. By 18 months they can refer to themselves by their own name and recognize that people may have different desires and also may know the names of some body parts such as ears, nose etc. nce at the age of 2-3 years they can match two – three primary colours and begin to understand the concept of time.

They are fascinated by cause and effect and usually ask ‘why? ‘ Intellectual development and learning 4-7 years At the age of four, as children are developing their friendships, they may fall out and disagree but at this age they usually learn how to make up and negotiate simply.

Children at the age of five to six will be learning how to read and write, this is a hard process to decode simple words, but as they are learning this they will also be learning about new concepts such as numbers etc. t the age of 7 they learn how to reason, their games have more rules and they understand these rules change in different situations, they are also increasing their reading and writing skills, as they are able to read without following the words with their finger or read aloud. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development: Piaget’s theory was that we all go through the same stages in our development as we develop, that children have the quantity of reason, it’s the quality that differs when compared to adults.

He called children ‘little scientists’ because children would go investigate the environment around them and that’s how they learned and discovered new skills. He grouped children’s cognitive development into four stages and gave ages to each stage, although he suggested that not every child would reach the final stage. The first stage was the ‘sensori-motor’ stage, the age for this is 0-2 years, and Piaget explains that at this age the child develops physical schemas as they gain control of their body, around 8/9 months they begin to understand that objects continue to exist even though they can’t see them.

Also known as object permanence) Piaget states how this may explain why most babies begin to protest when their carer leaves the room. The second stage is pre-operational stage, the age for this is 2-7 years, and he explains that children at this age begin to use symbols to stand for things, also that child show ‘egocentrism’ – believing that everyone will see the same things as them or have the same thoughts. Piaget felt that children in this stage were easily tricked by appearances and even did an experiment involving conservation.

Conservation is when you understand that things don’t change, even if their appearance has, Piagets suggested that children found it hard to understand this as they were easily drawn in by appearances, he also believed that this is why children found it hard to come to different conclusions. The third stage is concrete operations, this age is 7-11 years, and Piagets felt that this stage marked a significant change in children’s logic. They were less easily deceived by appearances and could apply rules and strategies to their thinking.

The term ‘concrete’ is used because Piagets felt that children were helped in their thinking when they could do and see things in practical ways. The finial stage is formal operations; the age is 11-15 years. In this stage, children are able to think entirely in the abstract for example, multiplying in their head. Piagets work suggests that children and young people need opportunities in order to extend and revise their schemas. Piaget also accepted that brain maturation was part of the process.

This also means while opportunities for children are essential, you cannot necessarily ‘fast track’ children since their cognitive development will affect their logic and thinking process. Piagets approach does mean that you should observe children and young people carefully so that you can provide appropriate experiences to extend their thinking; this affects practice as practitioners need to be able to provide enriching opportunities for children and young people to grow and develop their logic and thinking processes.

Vvgotsky’s studies on the way children learn. Vvgotsky’s believed that children are active in their learning and thinking. He also believed that children’s social environments as well as their experiences are very important. He considered that children were born sociable, and through being with their parents and then with their friends acquire skills and concepts. Vvgotsky’s saw children as ‘apprentices’, learning and gaining skills through being with others.

The term scaffolding’ is often used alongside Vvgotsky’s theory; this reflects the idea of the child being helped by the adults to learn new concepts. As well as Piagets, Vvgotsky’s also suggested that maturation was an important element in children’s- development although he felt that adults had an important role in extending children. Vvgotsky’s felt that adults were able to ‘extend’ children’s thinking and skills by careful intervention. By looking at what a child can currently do and then thinking about what might be within the child’s grasp, the adult moves the child to a higher level.

There are many ways in which to apply Vvgotsky’s theory to practice, firstly Vvgotsky’s saw that adults need to be actively involved with children and young people; he suggested that children and young people should tackle problems at a higher level when working in groups rather than individually. In practise this means as an early year’s practitioner, you might organise group activities that require problem solving, and you need to interact with children and young people and encourage their thinking.

This could affect practice as practitioners should engage in child-centred practice and also adult-led practice, “Early year’s practitioners should lead children’s learning by interacting with children when appropriate”. Tassoni p. This is because as Vvgotsky’s theory shows that children do need adults help in order to maximize their abilities and skills but they also need practitioners to understand their needs and interests in order for the children to develop as much as they can. “If early year’s practitioners view their role as that of the nurturer and respond to each child individually, then their practice will be truly child-cantered.

There are many factors which might influence observations, such as emotional factors such as children who have just fallen out with a friend, parents are splitting up or a child who is celebrating a birthday, physical factors such as children being tired or hungry will find it hard to concentrate. The environment around the child and the practitioner can affect the observation as it might disturb the child/adult such as a doorbell ringing or new children entering the room which could distract the child or the adult.

And there are also many other factors such as the child are interested in the activity or the child behaving different amongst groups such as them talking and getting distracted or being shy. There are many different observation techniques, they all have different advantages and disadvantages and they are all good for different situations and for different things you are observing the child for. The three that I’m doing are: * Narrative * Target child * Tick Chart

Narrative observations are were you as a practitioner watch what the child does and write everything you see, they tend to be a non-participant observation, this is when you sit back from the child and just watch, these observations are usually like this as you are trying to write down lots of information at once. This observation technique is good as you don’t need much preparation before doing it and all you need is a pen and paper, the information that you collect can also be interpreted later on and it can be carried out when convenient.

The disadvantages are that children do so many things in a short space of time and there might be some things that get missed that are important. Also the child’s moos can affect the result and there could be irrelevant information collected. See appendix 1 Target child observations are aimed to look at the activity of one or more children and recorded what they are doing over a session/ activity. This method relies on using codes because it is quicker and easier than to write for long periods of time. Target child observation can be used to track a specific type of behaviour or to see generally what children are doing.

The advantages of this method are that the child is tracked over a continuous period of time, several children can be observed at once and that you can choose specific activities for them to do while you observe them. The disadvantages are that the observer needs to be able to use the codes which can be hard and time consuming and that the observer has to concentrate hard, which can be difficult in a childcare setting. See appendix 2 Tick chart observations are easy to use and understand by everyone and easy to use in a childcare setting.

This can be used to look at a child’s skill/knowledge, it is also a method to see progress children are making as you can use the same tick chart again. The advantages of this is its simple to use and simple to understand, its quick and easy to fill in and the same observation can be used on different children, to see if they are hitting the norms of development, instead of having to do another one. The disadvantage to this method is that it doesn’t include the information of how the child does the skill chosen as its closed data. See appendix 3

Observations help practitioners learn more about children which should help practitioners work more effectively. From observing children you can find out their interests, understand a child’s behaviour and focus on particular areas of a child’s development. This all is used to support planning as you can use all this individual information when you’re planning for that individual child, for example, you can observe a child who has an interest with trains, from this information you can plan things with trains so they can enjoy and participate in the activities more.

Observation can also support planning as you can identify if a child extra support and you can provide early intervention with such problems, and get support from multi-agency teams, this supports planning as you can then get the extra support for the child but also for you as a practitioner as you can get help with different activities you could do to help the child, which can be put into planning. I learnt a lot about the child’s development from the observations I have done,( see appendix one) At the age of 4 b.

S should be able to kick throw catch and bounce to a high standard . she should also be able to show an improvement on catching throwing bouncing and kicking and also batting, according to Mary D Sheridan in ‘Birth To Five years’ my observation shows B. S seemed to show that she found catching easier with the small ball but was capable with everything else. Her struggle with catching the larger ball could be due to her hand eye co-ordination. At this stage B. S balancing skills and hand eye co-ordination should be under good control and use a preferred hand/foot which B. S did. B.

S’s hand eye coordination could be a little behind for her age because she doesn’t get the opportunities for this specific skill, to improve this I could ensure that she gets plenty of activities revolving around hand eye co-ordination and her physical development. B. S should also be able to walk alone upstairs using alternative feet, comes downstairs two feet to a step. Can sit with legs crossed at the ankles. I feel from my observation that it suggests b. s lacks in some aspects of her physical development b. s’s balance seems to be a bit below average for her age and this could effect future milestones.

I think this could have been for many reasons, such confidence or she might have felt ill, because of this I would have to continue to observe b. s to ensure I had all the correct information about her development. I would also ensure that I had the equipment and toys available for the opportunities for b. s to reach her full potential The second observation I had done ( see appendix 2 )showed me that At 4 years according to Mary D Sheridan’s birth to five years, B. S should be able to thread a large bead on a shoelace. Hold pencil near the point with two fingers and thumb and uses it with good control.

Copies circles and letters “v”, “h” and “t”. cuts with toy sissors. My observations seems to show b. s wasn’t able to thread large wooden beads on a shoelace although she can hold pencils near the point with good control. She also uses two fingers and thumb. B. S was also drawing some letters and drawing on paper. B. S has good hand control and can use the pincer grasp as she should for her age.

B. S will need to develop her hand control and be able to write letters for when she gets older to progress and reach all of her expected milestones for school activities. B. S might have not been able to thread the large wooden beads as she was grumpy and didn’t want to, and she hadn’t had her dinner yet. I would continue to observe b. s to ensure I got the correct information and start doing more activities based on fine manipulative skills so she has the chance to improve these skills. The third observations conclusions were the same as the first. ( see appendix 3) The families and children involved in my observation have a right to confidentiality, as observations can include sensitive information, practitioners need to understand the limits and boundries of confidenatility.

Before starting any observation you need consent from the child’s parents and the setting, this is done with a consent form, most placements give the child’s parents consent forms for observations being done and pictures being taken before the child has officially started the nursery, but these consent forms only give the nursery nurses looking after the child the right to do those things. The observations need to be stored properly, this is usually a secure place, such as a locked cabiniate in my placement or with college lecturers.

It is important not to discuss the observations with anyone outside my placement, as sometimes it can be hard to understand the boundrys of confidentialty it is always important to ask the supervisor at my placement before including certain information in my observation. The Data Protection Act 1998 was created to protect individuals rights and to prevent breaches of information. This act is based around protecting people’s personal information. “data stored on a person must not be given to anyone without that persons permission or kept for longer than necessary.

Tassoni. P pg 224 The Data Protection Act 1998 also states that everyone has the right to see any records that are kept about them. The information you get from observations need to be evaluated and this is done in many ways, you can link them to the ‘norms’ of development, using curriculum guidance and using theory to in interpret them. As a practitioner observations will be evaluated so that the information can be passed on to the parents or so you can plan more effective activities for the child’s needs/ interests.

Norms of development or milestones are often used to help interpret observations. Using this helps you as a practitioner realise that either the child’s development is typical of their age group or if they are ahead of their development or if the child needs further support. Normative development is usually used in early years as early intervention and identification helps make significant difference for later outcomes in the child’s life, this is because development is interlinked.

Looking at normative development can also help you as a practitioner aware of what the child needs to go on and do and will help when planning activities and when checking that opportunities and challenges are being provided for that child. Also progress with children is important, even though normative development is very useful, you need to take into consideration that every child is different and not all of them conform to the same development progresses at the same time as others do, as long as they are making progress its not a cause for concern but it is wise to keep checking that the progress is consistent and on-going.

Practitioners also need to be un-biased in their observations with what they see and what they don’t see. Practitioners will have to carry out observations on children to assess them against curriculum guidance. These observations usually are planned with this in mind, but there may be occasions when some observations will be done to support records. These profiles and curriculum guidance observations have differences and inconsistencies compared to children’s developmental norms and the theories of child development.

Theories of development are often used in understanding the reasons children do certain things. This is useful as it helps you see what the child needs so you are able to plan activities and are able to make sure that further experiences and opportunities are provided for their specific needs. This is also helpful as it helps practitioners be more ‘strategic’ in guiding behaviour

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