It is important to remember that each area of learning and development does not work in isolation but they are all in fact interlinked. Good quality activities will cover more than one area of development. For example, allowing children to access the outdoors will not only support their physical development, but encourage their communication and exploration of their environment. Where a child experiences a delay in one area, it is likely to limit their learning and development in the other five… child with cerebral palsy who experiences hand-eye coordination difficulties is likely to find completing a puzzle difficult therefore hindering her problem solving, reasoning and numeracy.
It is therefore vital that settings recognise each child’s individual needs and plan holistically in order to help children achieve their full potential across the six areas of learning. The physical development of babies and young children must be encouraged through the provision of opportunities for them to be active and interactive and to improve their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement.
They must be supported in using all of their senses to learn about the world around them and to make connections between new information and what they already know. They must be supported in developing an understanding of the importance of physical activity and making healthy choices in relation to food. A child’s physical development may have an impact on their self-confidence as they grow older, if a child is unhappy with their appearance e. g. oung girls may feel their friends are physically developing at a faster rate to what they are, this may affect their social development and maybe even intellectual, when a child loses self-confidence they may become distracted in lessons and therefore fall behind in their school work. On the other hand if a child or young person is very physical and active and lives a healthy lifestyle, it is proven that this improves concentration, better sleep and a healthier life in general.
This will impact on a child or young person’s intellectual development as they will be more alert and ready to learn, physical activity is also likely to encourage social and emotional development as schools will provide sports clubs and after school activities, giving children and young people the opportunity to socialise and progress in self-esteem. For a child to understand the world, he/she will understand that people have different beliefs, colour skin and religion, the world and technology. A child will also learn other children’s names, talk about family and friends.
This has a huge impact on a child’s social development; they will have awareness of the world and the people around them, and therefore are able to confidently make new friends as they go through transitions such as moving schools. It is important that children and young people are given the opportunity to speak about themselves, their lives at home and also listen to others, and this gives them a perspective on the fact that everybody does different things, others’ lives differ to theirs and this is something that needs to be recognised and respected and not judged.
Expressive arts and design means a child or young person making new things, designing and inventing a piece of art that is unique to them and their style, using a variety of materials and equipment. It is important to introduce this at a young age, not only does this encourage a child to express themselves creatively but also contributes to physical, intellectual, social and emotional development.
Creativity relates to physical development from a young age as the movements required to make marks such as brush strokes improves both fine and gross motor skills, feet painting is a great activity to do with children to improve both creative and physical development, you could ask them to hop, skip, jump to make a variety of marks with the paint on their feet, children love doing activities like this as they are free to create whatever they like.
You could introduce pattern making to expressive arts and design, progressing the child’s intellectual development; you could do this by providing a range of materials allowing the child to create their own pattern or engaging in the activity with the child engaging in discussion about what pattern they can make or get them to identify a pattern you have made and see if they can make one similar. Some children or young people use expressive art and design as a “get away” from any stress, they find it relaxing and calming.
Personal and emotional development means a child developing skills to be able to make relationships and bonds, having self-confidence and self-awareness, understanding that actions may affect others and be able to learn positive dispositions such as empathy. We can encourage this in setting through “circle time” allowing children to talk about a topic of their choice, it is also important to discuss things such as disabilities and learning difficulties, so that if there is a child with these things in setting the child’s peers can empathise and help support the child as well as the adults.
Personal and emotional development can be affected through a number of ways, one being if a child has a severe disability, they may feel that they are unable to take part in the same activities as their peers or may have a low self-esteem, this is why it important to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in setting it is important to plan activities around children’s needs leaving no child to feel left out. Physical disability often disturbs intellectual development, the reason for this being the main focus would be improving the child’s physical abilities e. g. he child may need to attend physiotherapy or regular hospital appointments, this also results in the child or young person missing a lot of time in school.
It is important to focus on more than one area of development; this is why children with physical disabilities may also have a special worker helping them with the school work they have missed, so they do not get too far behind. From working in a childcare setting I have become more aware of how development areas are interdependent and try my best to support children in all areas of learning and development, taking into account any difficulties they have when planning activities.