When we look at a growing human child there are five apparent developmental domains. These being physical, cognitive, language, social/emotional and spiritual. They are not necessarily distinct but interweave with each other to complete a whole picture of the developing child. Each domain influences and is influenced in turn by the others. The principals and strands of Te Whariki support this holistic development as they too interweave within each other. In this essay I will discuss how Te Whariki our national curriculum supports each of the above domains.
Physical development begins in a newborn infant with essential survival reflexes such as breathing, suckling and rooting. Gradually voluntary control increases and the infant starts to develop gross and fine motor skills. This physical development and growth goes on to become milestones such as rolling, sitting and walking and grasping objects and using fingers and toes. Te Whariki supports physical development through strand 5 – Exploration, Mana Aoturoa. One of the direct goals in exploration is “they gain confidence in and control of their bodies” (Ministry of Education [MoE], 1996, p. 82). Te Whariki gives us guidelines that we can follow like helping children to develop increasing control of their bodies, manipulative skills and co-ordination and balance. Te Whariki also provides us with reflective questions and gives us examples of how we can help the children to meet these outcomes such as providing safe objects that infants can pull themselves up on. With mastery of new motor skills comes the ability for children to explore their environment in new ways. Once infants start moving they actively seek out human interaction (Berk, 2013), which in turn leads to all of the other developmental domains.
Cognitive development is the process of knowledge. Berk states that “it includes all mental activity – attending, remembering, symbolizing, categorizing, planning, reasoning, problem solving,...
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