Many researchers have conducted studies about children development and how they learn. Child development is the change that takes place from the age of one to twelve years and it has domains that include motor, cognitive, language, communication and social-emotional skills (Charlesworth 154). Learning is the interaction between a child and an adult to facilitate physical, social and emotional development (Holt 300). This paper will discuss the promotion of child development and learning in three different stages that include early, middle and late childhood according to the domains.
At the start of this age, the understanding of the child about the environment is under the influence of sight, touch and sound and as the child grows, the thinking process assimilate mental symbols and he starts to fantasize (Cath 87). The one-year-old child needs to master mobility while the older one wants to explore the environment and become independent. According to Anning, the one year old starts imitating sounds and gestures while the four year old has already mastered language skills and can effectively express his thoughts and ideas (45). The child starts realizing that he is separate from the parents or other caregivers and he begins to relate with people, who are not immediate family members. In order for the parent and caregiver to promote the child development at this stage, they need to understand and respect the domains of development at this stage.
Parents and caregivers can promote the development of the child and facilitate learning. Cath explains that the domain of development at this stage include motor, cognitive, language, communication and social-emotional skills (80). Motor skill is the ability of a child to use muscles to seat, stand, or pick up something. Cognitive skill is the ability of a child to solve problems like exploring the environment or simple mathematics. Language and communication skill is the ability of a child to comprehend as well as use the language, while social-emotional is the ability to interact with other people and control himself (Anning 78).
Motorskillsdevelopment.The physical ability of a child ranges from mild to aggressive activities like picking up objects and moving from one place to another (Charlesworth 32). The child is susceptible to environmental hazards, thus requires a safe environment and supervision so that he can move freely and avoid traumas. Many of the times, the environment in which a child resides, is unsafe. A parent can try to secure the home environment, but there can be pollution and overcrowding in the surrounding areas. Fabian states that health care providers, who are aware of the unfavorable environment, can support parents via finding surroundings that facilitate safe development of motor skills (32).
Cognitiveskillsdevelopment. Cath explains that a child learns through play and if he experienced love before the age of one, he can explore the environment without any restriction (84). A child is usually egocentric because he lacks the cognitive ability of seeing things from the perspective of other people. His understanding of the environment has a positive relationship with language development because it depends on his ability to name and recall things found in the environment as well as communicating child's desires to significant others (Healy 220).
According to Charlesworth, a child usually lives in a fantasy world and experiences difficulties in differentiating the real environment from the imaginary one (123). Parents and caregivers should motivate the child to live in a fantasy world if it is not creepy to him. According to a psychological study, Anning reports that some of the fantasies include imaginary friends and convoluted plays (86). The role of the parent and caregiver is to assist the child to distinguish between imaginary and real and facilitate the child's ability to think logically.
In order to facilitate the aforementioned distinction and logical thinking, Johnsons states that parents, teachers and caregivers should provide an environment that is free from hazard so that the child can learn to explore (165). The child requires a chance of learning via experiments and planned attempts. At this stage, the child has endless questions, which puts the parents and caregivers to the test for patience and tolerance. The parent and caregivers should concede and respond to these questions in such a way that it does not only give the appropriate answer but also verifies and reinforces the curiosity of the child (Cath 82).
Language and communication skills are imperative for the development of cognitive skills later in life (Anning 30). It will affect the way in which a child performs at school and interacts with others. Levine states that when a strong bond between the child and the parent exists , the child will be motivated to communicate starting by gestures followed by spoken language (124). In order to facilitate language development, the parent should play interactive games as well as read with the child.
Languageandcommunicationskills.The three categories of language are speech, receptive and expressive languages (Charlesworth 132). Speech is the ability of a child to produce sound and it entail rhythm, eloquence and pronunciation. Receptive language is the child’s ability to comprehend what he sees and hears. Expressing language is the ability of a child to pass information and ideas verbally through words and non-verbally through gestures. A child can have a problem in either of the aforementioned language categories. Johnsons explains that a parent should facilitate language development by exposing the child to books and loud reading before the formal training (36). The acquisition of a child’s receptive and expressive language varies from age to age.
At the age of one to two years, a child stops imitating sounds and acquires meaningful words like biscuit and play (Fabian 30). As a child repeats these words, he learns to use them in communication. At this stage, the child acquires expressive language by demonstrating an understanding of simple commands like run, come, drink and eat and can name common objects and people (Anning 76). The child strives to know how to communicate through gestures such as pointing and waving. According to the recent research, Levine explains that the desire to learn how to communicate indicates a normal language development and a parent should facilitate it by motivating the child with presents, for example sweets (48). At one and a half years, the child learns approximately ten new words daily and the trend continues up to four years. At the age of one and a half to two years, a child can identify nouns and comprehend straightforward questions (Maurice 89). The parent and caregiver should facilitate the comprehension development by asking a child simple questions, an example of which is “Where are you going”. The child can also express himself via short phrases that contain a verb and a noun. At the age of three up to four years, the child knows basic grammar and he can pronounce words that people understand. Parents need to know the language development so that they provide an environment that facilitates learning.
According to the research done, Levine explains that a parent can collaborate with health care professional so that he learns what is safe for the child (31). For instance, a child raised in a home, where people speak different kinds of languages, can learn and communicate effectively in all the languages used at home (Johnsons 86). In case the child experiences a language delay, the parent should let him learn the caregiver’s language. This is because the child spends most of his time with the caregiver. In another study, Levine reports that although language develops irrespective of the environmental conditions, the family members and other people that the child interact with influence the language proficiency of the child (135). A child, who is raised in the environment where people speak rich in vocabularies language and play word games and rhymes, is likely to be proficient in language as well as social-emotional skills.
Social-emotionalskills.The development of this skill depends on temperance, culture and individual difference. Johnsons explains that the temperance that the child exhibited while eating, playing or feeding affect his coping and adaptation mechanisms (123). The temperance is highly individual and varies from child to child. Some children become angry very fast, some are quiet, others are very reactive and some kids act quickly before they think. Parents and caregiver need to understand the variation in temperance so that they assist the child in developing emotionally and socially (Maurice 91). When a child has a confusing behavior, the parents should discuss it among themselves or with the caregiver in order to solve any conflicting problem. According to the research done, a parent, who intervenes when the child behavior is in conflict with the caregiver's and family members' lifestyle, is likely to avoid irresponsible social and emotional behavior of the child (Maurice 84). This will prevent problems in the future as the child will develop into a person of good moral character and starts developing appropriate manners. The parent should not coerce the child but counsel him in a friendly way.
The culture of a community contributes to the socialization process and it influences the social and emotional skills development of the child (Levine 32). Culture affects the way a parent and family members bring up a child. In some cultures, it is only the mother who can discipline a child, while in others every person in the community is responsible for the child’s growth and development. According to the researches done, community members should be involved in the discipline process of a child so that he grows socially and emotionally according to the existing culture (Maurice 12). The community can also decide how a child should behave according to sex and gender roles.
The child is usually faced with a number of issues concerning gender roles, morality and competition as he grows and develops among people with different cultures, values and beliefs (Fabian 38). Depending on the socialization process, the child can develop antisocial behavior in the worse case. Caregivers should assist the child to grow into a mature person by either disciplining him whenever he goes against the set values and principles or rewarding him when he is morally upright (Levine 45). Occasionally, the caregiver can take a child to recreational facilities where he can play games with other children because it facilitates social interaction and makes the child feel valued. Apsa conducted a retrospective study and reported that when children feel valued, they develop appropriate social and emotional skills (203). A parent should develop a healthy relationship with his child and value him so that he builds a strong emotional foundation and develops self-esteem.
At this stage the child is stable and does not have dramatic behaviors that are noticeable in early childhood. The child develops skills that will prepare him for the late childhood stage. At this stage the family and caregivers should strengthen the emotional and cognitive skills of the child so that he can cope with the stresses associated with late childhood (Fabian 37). The parent and caregiver should assist the child in developing communication skills, becoming sensitive to others, forming a positive relationship and being independent.
According to Johnsons, family members and the caregiver should support the physical development of the child by collaborating with the community (111). The family members and the community should ensure that the physical environment is free from hazards and a child can access safe playgrounds and recreational facilities. This will help the child’s body as well as mind develop holistically. At this stage, the domains of development include motor, cognitive, language, communication and social-emotional skills (Anning 100).
Motorskills. At this stage, there is gross improvement in motor coordination and the child becomes competent in physical abilities and can participate in sports (Cath 80). These activities facilitate positive interaction, thus parents should strive to promote healthy physical skills development. Johnsons states that parents should supervise the physical development of the child by monitoring growth and improvement through weight assessment (92). This is imperative in alleviation of overweight and underweight which is common at this stage. Maurice reports that the physical development of a child can interfere with cognitive development if the parent and caregiver do not monitor the child closely (15). Researches show that an undernourished child performs poorly at school because of ineffective cognition (Maurice 29).
Cognitiveskills.The child's ability to learn depends on cognition and experiences. At this stage, the child shifts from magical to logical thinking (Healy 217). The child can collect information and make sense from it by comparing and classifying it so that he understands the world in a conceptual manner. Parents and caregivers should promote logical thinking by giving the child a chance to observe and experiment (Anning 48). They can give him a drawing book where he can draft what he thinks. At this stage the child has abstract thinking and he uses objects to represent ideas (Levine 39). The representation enables the child to explore imaginative ideas and move from magical to rational thinking. Parents and caregivers should facilitate abstract thinking by allowing them to play games that they saw on television or draw pictures after reading a story. As the cognitive development of the child continues, his language and communication skills improve.
Languageandcommunicationskills.The understanding of language and abstraction enhances the child’s reading, writing and communication skills (Apsa 156). As the child develops, he is able to understand the people around him and become independent. Parents and health care providers should occasionally screen the child to ensure that he does not have development impairments, like learning and behavior problems, which are prevalent at this stage (Healy 200). A child can have a delay in language development or ineffective communication skills like stammering, which requires attention.
At middle childhood stage, the child wants to be proficient in communication and language and be successful at school. In a survey done, Apsa reports that when a child performs well and the family members appreciate him with warmth, he is likely to excel in education (123). Excellence in performance increases the child’s self-esteem and motivates him to work harder. A parent should facilitate the child’s performance by providing the reading and learning materials as well as assisting him in doing the homework (Cath 54). This will also assist in development of social emotional skills.
Social-emotionalskills. In the middle childhood, the child becomes innovative, independent and sensitive to other people (Johnsons 95). He selects his friends, the food to consume and the games to play. In the event that the selection does not match with his preference, he can suffer from emotional breakdown, like stress and depression (Levine 127). The parent should support the child by allowing him to express his thoughts and feelings.
A child requires freedom so that he can express his feelings and thoughts, as well as rules that he comprehends and accepts (Charlesworth 109). Parents and caregivers should allow the child to play with other children without intruding. According to the research, children learn from each other as they play together and they develop healthy social-emotional skills (Johnsons 90). On the other hand, a child should interact with adults so that his self-esteem and self-worth increase and he realizes his success abilities (Holt 312). During the interaction, the parent should give the child a specific role so that he feels valued and appreciated. The parent should also evaluate the child performance depending on the assigned task and give him another role if he has improved.
At this stage the child mature physically, socially and emotionally (Apsa 200) Parents can complicate the experience of the child if they have marital problems. This can create conflict in the family that interferes with the development of the child. Maurice states that parents should not allow their emotional differences to interfere with the development of the child because at late childhood stage the child is vulnerable to stress (21). The development domains at this stage include motor, cognitive, language, communication and social-emotional skills.
Motorskills.The child develops most of the motor skills at this stage and can effectively coordinate all the physical abilities (Levine 130). The child can play a variety of games like football and basketball. Parents should facilitate motor development by encouraging the child to engage in extracurricular activities at school. Teachers can facilitate motor development by making sure that sports is included in the curriculum and is compulsory to every child.
Cognitive,languageandcommunicationskills.A child who excels at school has high self-esteem and is socially competent. When a parent discusses with the child his performance, he is motivated to work hard; thus teachers should involve parents in the education process (Healy 189). Parents should discuss with the teacher their child’s performance so that they identify and strengthen the strong areas, as well as correct the weakness in the timely manner. At this stage, the health care providers should assess the development of the child to determine if he has any cognitive, language or communication disabilities (Charlesworth 21). In case of any disability, the parent should refer the child to a psychologist or counselor.
Social-emotionalskills.The emotional skills of the child have a positive correlation with self-esteem (Holt 324). A child with high self-esteem is usually happy while the one with low self-esteem is always sad. At this stage, the child has labile moods. The role of the parents is to understand their child and assist him in developing social emotional skills (Apsa 215). Parents should give the child freedom to associate with other people but with some restrictions. It is necessary for the parent to discuss with the child different social-emotional issues and address problems that arise. This will promote emotional development.
Parents, teachers and community members should collaborate in order to promote child development and how they learn. This is because the child requires comprehensive support in order to learn and develop the different skills that are crucial for the development domains. Motor skills development requires that the parents allow the child to play with others. Cognitive skills development requires that parents allow their child to engage in activities like games that facilitate cognition. The development of language, communication and social emotional skills requires that the child interact with community members and learn from them.