The role of the environment including significant adults can have a profound effect on child’s holistic development. Discuss how the environment can impact on child development. In your response consider theoretical perspectives of child development and their influence on current practice within the Early Years Sector
The role of the adult is a key factor in the developmental process of the child, whilst we understand the importance of the adult we have to consider the creation of a positive environment which in doing so provides vital opportunities in enhancing children’s development. Also effective support and encouragement is crucial to children’s learning and growth. In relation to current practice, we need to evaluate the ideas of theorists surrounding the suggestion that holistic development and the environment impact on factors affecting the growth of a child. Holistic development means the development of a child as a whole; every child develops at different rates and there are many factors which can affect development. Development can be divided into different areas, social, language, physical, and cognitive development. Each area of development needs to be connected and working in order for development to be successful and balanced. One of the most important theorists that influenced our current practice today is Piaget, who whilst being a protagonist of child learning is also the most famous for his four stages of cognitive development. Cognitive development is the development of the mind, how it works and the use of mental processes such as reasoning. Piaget suggested that children learn in stages in relation to their senses and their age, and they need to acquire mastery of each stage before they can progress to the next. These four stages of cognitive development assess in what stages a child learns, and most of all is a guideline for practitioners today. Piaget’s first stage of development was Sensori-motor development 0-2 years which focused on sensori and motor skills, Johnston and Williams (2009, p.114) state that at this stage of children’s development children are only concerned with their own needs and they begin to “suck and swallow” at this stage of development children can manipulate objects and “attain an understanding that objects continue to exist even though they cannot be seen” Trisha Maynard and Nigel Thomas (2009, p. 66) This is known as the concept of object permanence. Smith et al (2003 p 373) suggests that the knowledge and understanding of object permanence within a child’s cognitive development is extremely important as without this, they will not be able to understand that words have meaning and represent different things. When children develop to the pre-operational development which lasts from the age of 2-7 years they are capable of thinking symbolically such as they can use objects to represent different things and this can be incorporated into make believe play. Trisha Maynard and Nigel Thomas (2009, p.66) stated “ an example of make believe play would be a three year old holding a banana to her ear and speaking into it as if it were a telephone” this suggests that the child is able to imagine the banana as something else, to what it actually is. Therefore the young child has manipulated the object into something that it wants it to be. During this stage of development a child is also egocentric which means that the child can only see one point of view. Once children progress to the concrete operational stage at the age of 7 until 12 years old, children are able to understand how mass, weight, length and volume work and they become less egocentric and are able to consider other people’s feelings. The final stage of Piaget’s cognitive development is formal operational stage, 12 years and older. Johnston and Williams (2009, p.114) explain how in this last stage of development they can separate, order and combine different ideas whilst solving mental problems in abstract ways....
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