Role of Environment in Child Development

Topics: Child development, Developmental psychology, Childhood Pages: 12 (4241 words) Published: March 10, 2013

Environment literally means surrounding and everything that affect an organism during its lifetime is collectively known as its environment. It could be a physical element that includes the built in environment, natural environment - air, water, land, human environment, emotional environment, home environment and school environment amongst others.

An early childhood environment is many things: It's a safe place where children are protected from the elements and are easily supervised, and it's where the important activities of the day take place, such as playing, eating, sleeping, washing hands, and going to the bathroom. Beyond the basics, however, an environment for young children implements and supports a program's philosophy and curriculum.

Childhood is the most important phase for overall development throughout the lifespan. Part of our capacity for change and growth depends on early experiences and the interrelationships of children and parents. Early experiences determine health, education and economic participation for the rest of life. A child's identity develops as he or she grows. Brain and biological development during the first years of life is highly influenced by an infant’s environment. Early childhood is the most intensive period of brain development during the lifespan.

To reach their potential, young children need to spend time in a caring, responsive environment that protects them from neglect and inappropriate disapproval and punishment. Parents and families are the key to early child development, but need support to provide the right environment. Some families provide an atmosphere of love and acceptance. Others have a climate of instability and hostility in which love is not available to aid the children's development. Studies show that children need love. Families that are loving and democratic not only have children who are brighter than those families which are cold and autocratic, but also tend to have children whose IQ's increase while in school rather than decrease. Attention and interest leads to children with a high self esteem. Those mothers who show affectionate warmth toward their children have children with a lower incidence of juvenile delinquency. Interest and affectionate warmth in the home are important for the growing personality. Each family is different, because the family is a system composed of unique individuals. Families can be classified as child-centered, home-centered or parent-centered. The parents in the child-centered family willingly sacrifice their needs and desires for the sake of their children. The happiness and health of their children are more important than any considerations. Typically, in the child-centered family, a division of labor occurs in which the father specializes in maintaining economic security and in ensuring a respected place for the family in the community, the mother specializes in taking care of the children. In home centered families priority is also given to the needs of the children. The difference between the child centered and home centered families is that home centered families are not oriented toward socio-economic achievement, instead both the father and mother give priority to personal relationships among family members, emotional security and companionship are highly valued. The family's energy is spent on the family life, rather than the community. These two family types provides a conducive environment for a child development. Parents who spend time playing and teaching their kids through reading and by performing various types of hands-on games and activities can have a positive impact on their child's development. The child's immediate family...
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