The rate of development is dependent on many factors and can differ greatly from child to child. The main areas of development are:
1. Physical development
2. Social development
3. Intellectual development
4. Language development
Below is a short list of how they might develop in specific age ranges: 0-3 months: Smile, turn their head at familiar sounds, shake and hold a rattle, 6-12 months: Make noises and show feelings of joy and sadness, begin to crawl, recognise their name, look for dropped objects, reach towards food, show affection to familiar people 1-2 years: Begin to walk, begin to pick food up with fingers, wave, say no, hold drawing materials, shows preference for one hand, mostly cooperative, play alongside other children, use phrases 3 years: want to do things for themselves, demanding attention, jump, climb, paint, eat by themselves, understands how to do 2/3 things at once, vocabulary extends, more controlled use of drawing materials, asking questions, making sentences, can walk on tip toes, pours liquid, kick and throw a ball, sense of humour. 4 years:
Pedal a bike, throw with aim, confident with scissors, more cooperative with adults, likes to help with everything, sociable and starts to show concern for others 5 years: grammar more accurate, able to communicate own ideas, recognise their own written name, use pictures to follow stories in a book, questions become more complex, hold drawing material steadily and copy shapes and lettering 5-7 years: fluent speaker, can make up stories, handles books, start to read 7-12 years: team games, climb confidently and swing, hit a ball, skip run and jump, becoming less dependent on adults, aware of own gender, starts to form close friendships at about 8 years, can be shy, arrogant, bossy, uncertain, take an interest in certain subjects by 9, may need help with spelling but vocabulary will grow, know different tenses and grammar. 12-19 years:
Adolescence is said to start for girls at age 11. At this stage they still lack clearly defined roles and feelings of anger, insecurity and frustration may surface. Rate of growth is different in children and a 15 year old girl can be physically mature by the time she is 15. Boys usually reach adolescence later at age 14 when their voices may break and they will develop body hair. Co-ordination and strength will increase greatly in both sexes. Their bodies are experiencing dramatic changes and they also become less worried about adult approval generally seeking peer approval in its place. Their pace of intellectual development depends now on what guidance they are given to make the connections between knowledge and practical application in daily life. The more they are supported the quicker they will grow.
Task 2: Explain the difference between sequence of development and rate of development and why the difference is important
The difference between sequence and rate is that the sequence of development is a process where one development is followed by another and achieves a certain level with a series of changes or growth that leads to a matured state. The rate of development is the pace of something that compares to something else. Although children follow the same pattern of development, every child has a different rate of development. So sequence will mostly be uniform and rate is very likely to be different in each child.
The difference is important because these principals run through all the areas of development from physical, social, intellectual and language no matter what the age of the child. If one or other is skipped or is slow it can be a cause for concern and may lead to a child being given a special recommendation or having a special need in or outside school.
Task 3: Explain how children and young people’s development is influenced by a range of personal factors Home environment, relationships with carers/parents and siblings, the child itself, behaviours and health as well as personal characteristics, are all factors that can impinge on a child’s development, personal and external. If there are negative experiences in any of the factors it can be harmful to brain development and affect a child’s ability to gain the core skills that are necessary to reach developmental milestones. Developmental delays can happen in all areas of a child’s development or just one or two areas.
Prenatal care can have a serious impact on a child’s development. Certain risks factors before birth can be avoided if the mother takes care of herself by not smoking or heavily drinking alcohol which could affect impact on brain development. Richard H. Schwarz, MD from American Baby states that ‘children whose mothers drank heavily during pregnancy may have problems with learning, memory, attention, speech, and hearing, as well as severe behavioral problems’
Health – is a very important factor in development. If a child has any serious health issues it can have a detrimental effect on their learning ability across all spheres of development. For example a deaf child will have language and communication issues and this will significantly slow down the learning process.
Learning Difficulties – A child with learning problems may be many developmental years behind their peers; this will have a big impact on what they can do in all areas of development including physical skills, social skills and intellectual skills.
Task 4: Explain how children and young people’s development is influenced by a range of external factors There are many risk factors which can impinge on a child’s development. Home environment is key to development and learning by positive experience can make a huge difference. Much of what a child learns comes from the culture around them, early exposure to books, parental involvement and informal education in the home will be positive in a child’s development whereas poverty and neglect will have the opposite effect.
This may mean a child develops poor social skills, may live in cramped housing where there is no room for play or to develop, unable to afford resources in and out of school, therefore not encouraging the child to progress in development outside school. Inability of parents to care for a child properly providing a positive home environment can influence how the child behaves at school. Community environment can also have a big part to play. Available resources and structure and in the community as well as the home make a difference to how a child can perceive the world.
Task 5: Explain how theories of development and frameworks to support development influence current practice The many different theories of development are all equally important as they help us to understand children’s behaviour, reactions, and ways of learning and therefore influence practice. Jean Piaget was the first psychologist to make a study of cognitive development using detailed observational studies of cognition in children, and a series of simple tests to reveal different cognitive abilities. Before Piaget’s work, the common assumption in psychology was that children are less competent thinkers than adults. Piaget showed that young children think in very different ways compared to adults. His theory is that a developing child builds mental maps for understanding and responding to situations. Development is therefore biologically based and changes as the child matures. Cognition develops in all children in the same sequence of stages. Piagets work influenced teaching practices to provide more hands on and relevant tasks for children where they learn through play.
Piaget has been extremely influential in developing educational policy and teaching. For example, a review of primary education by the UK government in 1966 was based strongly on Piaget’s theory. The result of this review led to the publication of the Plowden report (1967). The idea that children learn best through doing and actively exploring was seen as central to the transformation of primary school curriculum1. Unlike Piaget’s theory that children’s development must necessarily precede their learning, Vygotsky argued, “learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function” In other words, social learning tends to come before development and the environment in which they grow will influence how they think and what they think about. He places more emphasis on social contributions from peers, family and teachers believing this has a greater contribution towards learning than development.
Vygotsky’s idea was “reciprocal teaching”, used to improve students’ ability to learn from text. In this method, teacher and students collaborate in learning and practicing four key skills: summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting. The teacher’s role in the process is reduced over time. He believed that children could guide and develop each other by completing tasks together such as reading buddies which is widely used in schools today. Maria Montessori is associated with an educational method that encourages education through movement using multi sensory educational materials. Montessori also championed the concept of multi-age classrooms. She stated “The idea is for each child to move as quickly or as slowly as they need to move (in terms of learning).” Montessori believed that her ultimate aim would be accomplished by allowing the children to manipulate their environment. She believed it was not only important to Montessori to teach children the practical life skills necessary to live in society, but also to integrate the family into the learning process.
Like Voygotsky, Montessori said that it was the union of the family and the school in the matter of educational aims that would enhance student learning and be beneficial to both the parents and the child. Montessori said that both home and school were places of social processes and it was important to educate children in both contexts to allow them the skills to generalize any lessons learned to their future schooling career and ultimately the greater society. Multi-age classes that are part of the Montessori method allow younger children to learn from older ones. The older children in a class are able to practice their skills by sharing them with younger children. The span of ages makes it easy for a younger child with advanced skills in a particular area to be able to work at a higher level than other children of the same age. Older children build self-esteem by serving as class leaders.2 Schools now increasingly use “hands-on” methods to teach math and science.
Though those schools may not use Montessori materials, the idea of using concrete items that children can manipulate is one promoted by Montessori. Many of these theories have come together and helped create a framework for learning and development. The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework for example uses some of these theories, positive relationships to encourage parents and carers to take an active part in their child’s learning (Vygotsky, Montessori), enabling environments, and the theory that every child learns and develops at different rates (Montessori). Children being allowed to play and explore by themselves as per Piagets theory, The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework states there are 3 prime areas for learning: communication & language: physical development: personal, social and emotional development: all of which our theorists believe in and articulated throughout their research.
Task 6: Explain how to monitor children and young people’s development using different methods There are both summative and formative methods of assessment Summative monitoring such as SATS tests which are used to record progress and academic knowledge and general tests in class for example spelling and maths tests which will indicate a rate of progress. Formative methods such as different child observational methods such as focus child where the focus is on one child for a set amount of time, checklists where development is checked against specific milestones, time sampling recording information at regular intervals, structured which will monitor a child completing a pre set activity, naturalistic which a child will be observed during the normal course of events and a general diary record of the childs progress.
An observer will evaluate the development of the child being measured against specific ‘milestones’ that should have been reached by a certain stage. The child is observed in the classroom or playground in their natural surroundings and also in the classroom to ascertain how they are progressing with their studies. The observer will gather a lot of information on behaviour patterns, interaction with peers and teachers, how the child co-ordinates and solves any problems. Specific emphasis should be put on social behaviour, learning and motor skills.
Sharing information with parents/carers and colleagues can be invaluable as they will see the child in a different setting perhaps to you and can also therefore make informed observations. An older child may need to be involved, according to their understanding, in any assessment of their development. This might include recording their feelings wishes and views. They would need to be monitored in different contexts (depending on which areas of their development is giving cause for concern).
Culture and a different language being their first language must be taken into consideration. A child may not have developmental needs when using their first language and this will need to be noted and addressed.
Any observational monitoring outcomes must be fed back to the parents/carers of a child. If developmental delays were found during the monitoring the SEN Code of Practice rules and guidance would need to be applied. There are many ways to monitor a child’s development and it is important that this monitoring is carried out throughout the early years and primary/secondary school to mitigate the risks of developmental delays. Task 7: Explain the reasons why children and young people’s development may not follow the expected pattern There are naturally many risk factors for development not following the expected pattern. These can be, but are not exclusive to, an emotionally unsettled family life, one parent family, disadvantaged environmentally, cultural differences, disability, learning difficulties, communication and language issues, lack of early exposure to informal education to name a few. Emotional difficulties can effect expected patterns of development.
A child who experiences difficult relationships in the home, perhaps parents who argue or a one parent family situation where the single parent may have other children and no time for the individual child. If a child does not have a solid relationship with the adults in its life from an early stage they are more likely to develop low self esteem and are less likely to try new activities that would help their development. Parents who don’t talk or read to their children can also affect the child’s development educationally and socially. Environmental factors such as poverty and lack of facilities could affect a child’s development, if a family’s finances are low some opportunities such as nursery will not be available and therefore reduce their exposure to early informal and formal education. If a disability is neglected or unidentified this could significantly affect a child’s development process. Not having the correct facilities or resources can obstruct a child’s development if a child or young person is physically not able to progress any further due to the severity of their learning need. Deafness will affect speech and communication.
A child that is unable to use certain parts of their body will encounter developmental delays physically and possibly emotionally. A basic example is a child in a wheelchair will not be able to use a climbing frame and their physical development won’t be able to develop in the expected way. In addition the school they attend may lack facilities for their particular needs. Culturally there could be reasons for development delays for example girls in many cultures are not given the same opportunities as boys and this will limit their development, although that is unlikely to be the case in the UK it certainly is the case in some countries. Girls in certain cultures are perhaps not expected to do as well as boys as they will marry early and be taken care of by a husband and his extended family. Where this is ingrained into a child they might try less hard at school. Particular learning difficulties will have a huge impact on development without the correct help early on.
A child having difficulties with reading and writing and understanding basic instructions will fall behind its peers. Communication difficulties, for example children with a different first language to that of the school where they attend may experience developmental delays due to lack of understanding on both the child’s and teachers part. In addition, incorrect/lack of communication resources can impair a child’s communication development. If the child or young person is physically unable to communicate, they will be unable to develop this area. This may lead to a lack of social skills or confidence which can negatively influence a child’s development. Taking all of the above examples into consideration it is vitally important that the risk factors are identified and where possible, mitigated early on.