A theorist is a person who develops or believes an idea in which to explain something, including what, how and why. Theories are development through observations, analysing and experiments. Theories of development are important because they help us to understand children’s behaviour, to help us understand the sequence that children and young people develop. Theorists- influencing current practice.
A Swiss biologist and psychologist jean piaget (1896-1980) is renowned for constructing a highly influential model of child development and learning. He suggested that children develop cognitive skills through mental “maps”, schemes and network concepts for understanding and responding to physical experiences within his or hers environment. Piagets theory identifies four developments stages these four stages are, sensorimotor stage 0-2 years, preoperational stage 2-7 years, concrete operations 7-11 years, formal operations 11-15 years.
Educators must plan activities that are developmentally appropriate according to the curriculum which expands the student’s logical and conceptual growth. Another theorist that supports cognitive development is Vygotsky. He believes that children learn and understand through others around them, such as friends and family. He believed that children need challenges and teaching experiences set for them to help them develop in all areas and to help them to reach their full potential.
Sigmund freud (1856-1939) another theorist believed that there are 3 parts to each child and young person’s personality. He believed that there are; the ID, the ego and the super ego. He believed that these 3 parts aren’t always there from when the child is born but develop with the child as they grow. He said that they are different through certain factors and behaviour between each different child,
Abraham maslow (1908-1970) looked at peoples motivation in the 1940’s. He believed that people needed to meet their fundamental needs before they could meet their potential or self-actualisation. He believed that if they were not met then they would become a deficiency in the person. This links to practice because we need to meet the needs of the children for, warmth, care, hunger and environment that they are providing and what they do to meet the children’s needs.
Social learning theorists believe that we learn through observing others. Albert bandura born 1925 believes that we learn through ‘imitation’. Eric Erikson (1902-1994) believed that a child and a young person’s personality will change throughout their life, due to social development and experiences. This links to practice as nursery practitioners are told to be good role models to the children. This is because they observe us and ‘copy’ or ‘imitate’ actions that we may make.
The theory of operant conditioning is based on learning from the consequences or reinforcement due to a type of behaviour. B.F skinner (1904-1990) is recognised as a key figure for developing the behaviourist approach to learning and developing the theory for operant conditioning. He believed that we learn through our experiences in the environment and the consequences to our behaviour. Skinner separated the sequence of actions into three groups; 1; positive reinforces
2; negative reinforces
The positive reinforcers are what make us repeat actions or behaviour when we get something we desire. Skinner suggested that the positive reinforcement was the most effective way of encouraging new learning, such as getting attention from adults, receiving praise and receiving rewards. The negative reinforcers is a behaviour that also makes us repeat actions or behaviour, but not in a bad way but in a way to stop something bad happening from something good. For example children may learn to hold onto the stair rail when walking down the stairs to steady them self rather than feeling the need to sit on their bottom and bump down them. The ‘punisher’ is what is going to stop people from repeating behaviour, such as checking the temperature of the bath water before getting in it, after burning yourself because you didn’t check.
Skinner also researched unexpected positive reinforcers. This is when children show negative behaviour to receive attention from adults. He proved that showing more frequent positive reinforcement was the most thriving way to help children learn about acceptable behaviour. This links to practice because we reward and praise children for showing positive behaviour. Nursery practitioners often say ‘well done’ to children as a way of praising them for showing positive behaviour than their negative behaviour. We also try to focus more on children’s positive behaviour rather than their negative behaviour, this is because they eventually learn that their good behaviour is more noticed and praised than their bad behaviour. This proves skinners theory.
Behaviourist. The behaviourist theories suggest that learning is influenced by rewards, punishments and environmental factors. ‘conditioning’ is often used by behaviourists because we learn in a certain way due to past experiences that teach us not to do something or to do something. Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) was a physiologist who was studying dogs. Whilst doing this he recognised that the dogs started to salivate before their food had been put down for them. He came to the conclusion that they were doing this because they learnt to associate the arrival of the food with other things such as, the sound of footsteps and the bowls or buckets. He did and experiment to look at this more closely. He used a bell because dogs do not salivate when hearing a bell. The dogs eventually begun to associate the bell with been fed.
He then rang the bell constantly and eventually the dogs begin to stop salivating and finally did not react to the sound of the bell. Behaviourists use the term extinction when this happens. John b.watson (1878-1958 Took up pavlovs work and demonstrated that children and adults can be classically conditioned. In an experiment he created a phobia of rats in a little boy known as little Albert.
In our practice we do not experiment or use classical conditioning, although we may recognise it among the children for example, children may become excited when they see bowls or a tray been brought into the room, they may associate this with food being given to them after this happens. Another example would be that at the end of the day all the children put their coats on they then may anticipate home time because they associate putting their coats on with their parents arriving to take them home. It is also useful to remember that classical conditioning can relate to children’s phobias. Social pedagogy.
Social pedagogy is the holistic and thoughtful way of working. The aim of this is to improve the life chances and social outcomes of babies and children, therefore we must work with each other as well as the children to find the best possible way of improving these outcomes. The theories of development that have been shown help childcare workers put together framework and education for the children. It also helps us to understand why babies, children and young people do things the way they do. Conclusion.
This shows that theorists have helped us come to conclusions for why we do things the way we do as well as how we learn through our experiences. It also helps to understand these theories so that we can provide better care and knowledge in the childcare setting.
Task c. introduction pack for a new staff member. At the mother goose pre-school we monitor each child’s development we do this by using the learning journey. In the children’s learning journey we have “early learning goals” for each specific age group, to give us guidelines or the “norm” development for each stage of their time at the setting. We also carry out observations on the children to show which stage they are at, at the time on the early learning goals.
Before any observations take place on the children, permission must be given from the parent/carer, this is also helpful as we can share findings with the child’s parent/carer and they can share findings with ourselves. If we were to do observations on a child without consent from their parent/carer then they may feel angry and upset as they may not understand that this is normal practice and help us to help the children. Assessment methods.
Here are two examples of assessment methods we use to monitor a child’s development; checklist/tick chart and a free description with a snap shot picture. A checklist and tick chart observation is a chart with particular activities written on and the child is observed to see if they can reach the milestones set according to the child’s age. These observations are usually taken place when structured activities are set up for the children to do and are based over a longer period of time, but are taken place less frequently to show the progress in the children’s development. The advantage of using this observation is that you can observe more than one child at a time and they are quick and easy to use.
The disadvantage of this is that observing at different times may produce different results and that it only shows what the child can and cannot do, not how confident and happy they are to attempt tasks and join in. A free description with a snap shot picture is to show skills that children show or are seen doing. A description of what you see is written into a small observation sheet and put the child’s learning journey next to the picture of them doing so. These observations are used frequently to show what milestones the child is at for their age group. The observation has the advantage of been able to use it frequently and no preparation is needed. Although the advantage is that different observers pick up on different things that children do and it can be hard sometimes to find the right words to use to describe what you are seeing. Examples of why sometimes child/young person’s development does not follow the expected pattern.
Children develop at different stages for example, a baby of 12 months may be walking with support but a baby of 10 months may be walking unaided. Some children just happen to develop quicker or slower than others, but for some babies and children there are reasons why their development does not follow the expected patterns. Premature birth can have an effect on development, such as sitting up unaided, crawling, standing and walking. Learning difficulties can also have an impact on development, some children may pick up writing and reading easier than with a learning difficulty, but help is available such as special support and multi-agency approaches. Another reason why development may be delayed could be disability for example, a baby that has a disability with their legs may not be able to walk until they are 2 or 3 where as the expected age is roughly 1 years old.
Impact by disability.
Disability can impact and effect development as it can prevent children and young people from completing tasks. Although most activities can be adapted to suit children and young people’s needs. Intervention.
Intervention can be done to promote positive outcomes for the child or young person where development is not following the expected pattern. Specialist support can be used in the preschool to support children with learning difficulties or disabilities. They can arrange meetings to come and see the child to observe them and give the child’s key worker activities and goals for the child to meet. Multi agency approaches can also take place to help babies, children and young people to meet the expected pattern of development. Another intervention could be supported play by adapting the activities to support the child or young person to reach the milestones for their age group. Task d .
Early identification of speech, language or communication delay is important for a childs well-being because it can affect their development. The sooner it is picked up on the sooner it can be amended therefore the child will not miss out on educational activities and lessons which would otherwise potentially hold them further back. Potential risks.
Any delays in a child’s speech, language and communication could result in a lack of development in the future. They may not be able to develop their skills further for example, if a child cannot speak then communication will also become a problem. This is why it is important to identify these delays early. If a child cannot speak then their development will slow down as they cannot further their skills through others around them. This can therefore cause the problem to become greater if it is left to long. Importance of early identification and potential risks of late recognition.
It is very important that early identification to speech, language and communication as it can affect children and young people’s further development and expanding skills. If it is picked up on early enough then help can be given to the child to either overcome the issue or to give extra support to them to help them develop further. If it isn’t picked up on early enough then the child
could fall behind in development and education. When a child falls behind it can sometimes be difficult for them to catch up although there are organisations to give extra support to the child. Multi-agency team.
There are many organisations that can help support a child or young person’s speech, language and communication. The child’s GP (general practitioner) can refer the child to a speech therapist which will help their speech and communication. The child’s health visitor can also help with the child’s speech, language and communication. How when and why.
A multi-agency team would be brought in to support a child when a speech, language or communication delay takes place. The manager would have a meeting with the child’s parent/carer to discuss the issue and then they would discuss the best possible option for the child. If they decide that a multi-agency team is to be contacted then a meeting would be arranged with the team to examine how the child can be helped. They then will arrange with the team to examine how the child can be helped. They then will arrange the times and dates that they can come and visit the child either at the childcare setting or at home.
There are many types of play opportunities that can be put into place to help support a child’s speech, language and communication. Role play is one of the most important parts of play for children, it covers physical activity as well as allowing the child to communicate, be creative, be independent and build self-confidence. Another play opportunity could be music and movement activities which include singing, dancing and nursery rhymes.
The children can be independent and make their own choices to join in. this allows children to communicate with each other and to sing along to the songs and rhymes. Reading stories are vital in a child’s development. By reading and listening, children pick up new words and meanings which allow their knowledge to expand. If a child has a difficulty in communicating or in their speech then books can be very useful for developing their speech and communication. Show and tell is another way of supporting a child’s speech, language and communication. It allows the children to listen to others and to communicate if they wish to by asking questions about the show and tell that is shown, which can expand their word dictionary by using new words. All of this concludes that noticing a delay in a speech, language or communication development is important to prevent further delay in other areas of development.
Courtney from Study Moose
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