The most significant part of a child’s life in terms of his or her development and health are the early years in his life. Healthy development implies that children of all capabilities including the ones with exceptional health care requirements are able to grow up in an environment that will ensure the meeting of their needs. This is concerning their emotional, social, and educational needs. This goal of meeting these needs can be by providing a loving and safe home and spending quality time with family singing, reading, playing, and talking are remarkably vital. In addition, proper exercise, nutrition, and the rest are necessary. Different skills like smiling for the first time, taking a first step, and waving are initial indicators of development. Different children develop at their own pace, so it is not easy to determine when a child will learn a specific skill. Intelligence refers to the capacity to understand with trying or new situations. It is the ability to apply knowledge to manage one’s environment.
This paper seeks to establish how children develop their intelligence in the first five years of life. The paper will start by examining what constitutes intelligence in children of the age one to five years. This will form the foundation of the discussion as the context of intelligence varies. Next, the literature analyses ways through which intelligence development takes place especially in relation to emotional and social intelligence. These methods will vary from the home environment to the school environment as the children between 1-5 years spend most of their time in the two areas. The next part will deal with other ways in which intelligence development takes place such as the diet, games, and many more. The last section will tackle the recommendations from various aspects that promote or help the intelligence development of a child between the ages of one to five years.
The development of children involves different stages that see the advancement of all aspects of a child’s life. These aspects include physical, emotional, social, and psychological and intelligence. In this paper, we are going to focus on the advancement of the intelligence aspect of children between the years of one to five. Focusing on the intelligence development, the paper will look at ways that children develop intelligence, the activating and supporting skills and the roles adults play in this development. A major finding in this paper is that children living in more stressful homes are likely to have delays in intelligence development as compared to those who stay in comfortable and peaceful homes. Stressful homes comprise of dysfunctional homes, families living in poverty, violent neighbourhoods, alcoholic and mentally unstable parents. Delays in intelligence development will have long-term impacts on the child’s school completion, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, employment, and criminal behaviour.
Intelligence in children is an abstract idea whose meaning keeps on changing and in most cases relies on the present values as much as scientific ideas. In general, intelligence in children refers to the different capabilities, which includes the ability to plan, reason, understand difficult ideas, solve problem, think abstractly, learn from experience, and learn quickly the ability to do these things. In the twentieth century, several theories concerning intelligence came up leading to the debate concerning the type of intelligence and what determines it came to place. Intelligence in children is a by-product of several characters like visual-spatial, cognitive, musical, logical, inter-personal, mathematical, intra-personal, kinesthetic, personal, and societal. All these aspects involve brain development that is an extraordinarily complex process. At birth brain, development is exceedingly rudimentary as neurons in the brain grow. At three years old the number synapses in the brain of a child are more than those of an adult. As the child grows, the number of synapses decreases and as an adult, the number of synapses is three. What best facilitates the development of intelligence in a child is their experiences, maturity, and heredity. The amount of positive stimulation involves responsive forms of play, discovery, affection, and language interactions. In cases where these positive stimulations lack, children’s brain and behavioural development fails to progress.
Intelligence development relies mostly on how the brain of the child develops. Several findings are necessary for this subject, and most researchers have come up with the opinion that there is a larger scope for shaping, and forming of the brain in the early years of a child’s life. In spite of the multifarious interrelationship among genes in the development of the brain, such interconnections do not maximally explain how the brain develops. Researches explain that from delivery of a baby to about the age of twelve years, the brain takes in sensory experience from the child’s environment and goes on to reshape itself to accommodate the experiences it accumulates.
We now focus on what happens between the ages of one year to five years in a child’s life. When it comes to intelligence, the lives of toddlers generally involve experimenting with and exploring the surrounding environment. At this stage, the major source of learning is the toddler’s family. Here, the babies can recall familiar objects, react to unfamiliar persons or objects. They can also realize their names and permanent objects. At three years of age, the toddler starts sorting and grouping similar objects by their shape, function, and appearance. They also begin to know how some things operate, and their memory improves quickly. They can search and locate hidden items or those that have been moved to another place. Toddlers should be able to know contrasting ideas like small and large, closed and opened, outside and inside, and less and more. In relation to time, toddlers develop an elementary knowledge of regular activities like bedtime and mealtime.
At age three, children are commonly referred to as preschoolers, and they are able to say short sentences, tell simple stories, curious to understand their environment, and respond to questions. At four years of age, children are able to use complete sentences, ask questions, and know to generalize. Their imagination is exceptionally high, dramatic and doodles recognizable basic objects. Basic concepts like numbers, size, days of the week, and time need to be understandable to the preschoolers. Their attention span is of at least 20 minutes, and they are still differencing between fantasy and reality. At age five, the children have better vocabulary, tell long stories, carry out instructions, count to ten, know colors, differentiate between fiction and fact and their surrounding, community and neighborhood excite them.
The above intelligent developments come about because of various reasons and stimulations. The principal factor that influences children’s intelligence development is the relationship between the child and the people around her. These persons include the parents, peers, and caretakers. We begin with emotional and social intelligence of a child, which children of this age group significantly display. Emotions are part of a child’s life and can be happiness, frustrations, sadness, weeping, laughter, and anger. In children emotions, help them to organize, recall, gather, prioritize, remember, and process varied kinds of information that is necessary for their intelligence development. Emotional and social intelligence comprises of a set of mental abilities in which the child perceive, appraise and express emotions, use the motions to stimulate thinking and know the cause and consequences of emotions. Emotional intelligence involves the child being able to regulate self-emotions. Young children show useful emotions, regulate their own emotions and others, knowledge of emotions where essential and this adds up to their pre-academic and social adjustment. Young children between the age of one to five use emotional communication to pass clear non-verbal information about relationships and social situations. This can be by stamping feet and hugging among others.
Parents play a significant role in the development of emotional intelligence in children. This is by expressive parents giving their children information about the type of emotions- their expression and more personalized causes. Staying in an attaching environment improves children’s expression and experience of specific emotions. By providing positive and loving environment parents help in the development of the emotional intelligence (Denham, Bailey & Zinsser, 2011). The parent’s reaction to a child’s expression of emotion is another way of development of the emotional intelligence. Giving direct instructions to the young ones acts as a considerable socialization tool that helps this development in children. When a two-year-old child smiles at the parent or caretaker, it is necessary that the response is positive so that the child can be able to grow emotionally. In a situation where a child exhibits negative emotions especially to those around him or her, the parent needs to reprimand and contain the child in order to avoid the development such emotions.
An early interaction of the young children with their parents develops their social and emotional intelligence. This relationship lays the basis on the founding of peer relationships and social competency. Positive interactions involve showing consideration for their desires, feelings, needs, and showing interest in the daily undertakings. Respecting the child’s viewpoint, which he or she will express through emotions and being proud of their achievements will develop the child’s intelligence. This is because if the child receives positive appraisal he or she will get the motivation to repeat the meritorious deed and repetition will develop intelligence. This intimate relationship is necessary for the preschoolers of the ages one to three years so that they can develop early emotional competence, be ready for school and avoid chances of them displaying negative behavior at school or home. Several preschool programs have their attention on parenting education and parent involvement (Boyd, Barnett & Leong, 2005).
Another way in which a child’s emotional and social intelligence develops is through the creation of opportunities. This best applies within a child’s early childhood education settings. This method of creation of opportunities best applies to the school-going children from whose age varies from three to five years . For instance, the preschoolers PATH program educates children concerning emotion knowledge, expression, and regulation. Programs that are more educational are in place specifically for help in beginners’ classrooms to assist young children to develop their emotional intelligence. In the school, there are caregivers and early childhood teachers who play the same role as parents in developing social and emotional development in the children’s life. At this tender level, the children need individual attention in the classroom setting so as there can be a close relationship between the two parties. To achieve this management of the kindergarten need to avoid high staff turnover.
Intelligence in children develops through their interactions with peers. Emotionally stable children of the age 1-5 years engage in healthy play behaviors, create mutual friendships and are likely to be recognized by their peers. Through these plays, the children develop their intelligence by learning teamwork and cooperation. The interactions and behaviors children will show at this point will affect the way in which their teachers and peers will perceive and treat them. Intelligence of children starts as early preschool and the interactions they have will have a permanent effect their academic achievement as the positive association’s results to increased eagerness to participate in classroom activities. Engaging in classroom activities will result to better levels of achievements in academics. Researches indicate that early rejection by their peers makes the children develop social and academic difficulties in elementary school. For this reason, it is necessary to have trained preschool teachers who can help children who are finding it hard to associate and interact with their peers. The teachers should teach the children how to resolve conflicts, respond to the emotions of others, and regulate their emotions.
Children develop intelligence through going through positive preschool environment. When a child begins school at the age of three years, it is indispensable as a parent to provide a school with a positive environment to boost the development of the child’s intelligence. High-quality kindergartens constructively affect social-emotional growth. Several studies indicate that quality preschool brings into being long-term benefits in terms of advanced classroom behavior and social adjustment. Positive preschool reduces future crime and delinquency traits in children. High intelligence development from preschool leads to children being able to graduate from high school and continue with higher education. The prominent programs that provide high quality center based preschool education services vary in some way or another, but, they mostly focus on 3 to 5 years.
Family risk factors affect the intelligence development of many if not all children in the beginning times of their life. The family risk factors have an impact on the children’s presentation both in future life and school. First, family risk factors can be affairs between economic, community and home factors young children experience as they grow up. The early environment of a child constitutes several factors that will have an impact on his or her intelligence development. These factors revolve around issues like the family’s educational, emotional, economic, social, parenting possessions and practices. The effects of the above issues on a child’s intelligence can be seen later in life in the child’s health, educational achievement, employment outcomes, and social adjustment.
Poverty is one of the risk factors that will have an impact on a child’s intelligence development. Children from poverty-stricken families experience delayed intelligence development because there are chances of child maltreatment, reduced parent-child interaction, and inconsistent discipline cases. Families with low income tend have stress and this causes problems to the children. Poverty implies that most things in the family will have a negative impact because of low incomes. For example, a poverty-stricken family will not be in a position to provide a balanced diet in terms of food to the growing child. As for intelligence development, proper nutrition is mandatory in the child’s life, as it will maintain the health and growth of the child. These children of the ages 1-5 years are still undergoing the growth process, and so is their intelligence. Therefore, it is noteworthy that parents and caregivers of the children in this age group get at least the basic requirements of life. This will see to the development of their intelligence. Lack of food reduces the child’s concentration in class for preschoolers, and this will in turn have an effect in their intelligence. From this, it is evident that the development of intelligence thrives in situations where the child is provided with all the basic needs of life- food, shelter, and clothing.
A child’s intelligence will develop in comparison to the parents educational achievements. Parent education level may influence children’s intelligence development. Studies carried out indicate the relation between delays in intelligence development in children whose parents have low education attainment. Growing up in a single parent setting can influence the child’s intelligence. Most single parents are associated with dropping out of school and not having a job. This means that these families have high chances of experiencing poverty and low education level. This will in turn affect the development of the child’s intelligence. It is extremely difficult to separate the above elements- poverty, low education level, and single parenthood. In most cases, they go hand in hand and studies show that children from families with these elements tend to have low intelligence or their intelligence develops at a slow pace.
Intelligence development in children profoundly relies on parenting styles (Illig, 1998). There are several parenting styles that different parents employ while bringing up their children. In most instances, the parenting styles tend to be uniform, and each parenting style has its own level of impact on the children. The differences in the present parenting styles come about because of differences in culture, family type, child personality, socio-economic status, family environment, religion, and sometimes-racial background (Denham, Zinsser & Craig, 2011). In order to attain the best intelligence development in a child between the age of one to five years, parents tend to mix the aspects of all parenting styles to obtain the excellent results in their parenting. Examples of these parenting styles include authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved parenting styles. No particular parenting style is recommended, but, styles that are result oriented and involve interactions of parent and child, consider the respect for the child’s opinions, expressions, and views are best at ensuring the development of the child’s intelligence.
The parents approach matters especially in the early years of the child influence the intelligence development. Matters like discipline, academic help, and social issues need expert parenting styles that will affect positively on the child’s intelligence. Harsh or punitive parenting styles or negligent parenting styles hinder the child’s development in all contexts. Harsh parents hamper the emotional intelligence of a child from growing, as they will not be in a position to express their emotions. When the child is experiencing hardships in school with his or her academics telling their inconsiderate parents will not be an option, and in the end, they will opt to suffer silently. For intelligence development to be better for children of this age group, parents need to employ parenting styles that will increase a close relationship between them and their children. This will enable the children to be open and honest and be able to express themselves. They can also learn many things from their parents that will help in the development of their intelligence.
Home environment contributes immensely to how intelligence develops in children of the age one to five years. Home environment includes a variety of elements that can influence family operation. These elements include parent-child relation, responsiveness of parent to child, and provision of proper toys. The paper has already tackled the parent responsive and the parent –child relation. We will focus on the provision of toys. Provision of toys to the children of the ages two rears and above is mandatory in the development of the children’s cognitive aspect. Toys provided to the child need to be appropriate for their different ages so that the development can take place stage by stage. Toys should be present during the child’s play time, and the toys need to be of different types. Since, at the age of one of two years, the children are not speaking or cannot communicate well except through expression of emotions. Toys come in varied natures and help development of intelligence in different contexts. Children learn about things in their surrounding through these toys. For instance, the toys can be of different animals, houses, trees, letters, and other items that the child needs to figure out. Through the use and play of toys, a child’s intelligence develops rapidly in the early years of the child’s life.
Another way in which studies have come up on how intelligence development takes place is through the natural ways. This brings about the hot topic of the Nature versus Nurture with several proponents arguing their case. From the above detailed, discussion, we have strongly based the reasoning on the development of a child’s intelligence on the nurture aspect. That is how intelligence in children from the age of one to five develops through their surrounding environment and people. The question is whether genetic factors play the leading role in intelligence development. Genetic factors include racial or ethnic differences, hereditary elements and other items. There is general knowledge both environment and genes play a significant role in intelligence development and other competencies. The function of genetic factors is dynamic and not fixed at birth. Both nature and nurture contribute to the development of intelligence in a child (Illig, 1998).
The development of the cognitive aspect of children between the ages of one to five years is an ongoing process in the child’s life. A process of intelligence development calls for the help of the adults in the child’s life and providing the child with several intelligence boosters. It is necessary for the parent or caregiver of the child to understand the development of the cognitive aspect of a child goes through several steps. This means that different ages mean different development of intelligence in a child. Parents need to know that three year old cannot behave like five years old as their intelligence varies. The early years of a child are indispensable as they determine the personality and intelligence of the child as an adult in the future life. It is therefore, essential that parents participate in ensuring that children of this age develop fully in the cognitive aspect.
The development of intelligence in children of the ages between one to five years involves several elements in their life. The significant influencing factors involve their surrounding environment and people. For rapid and better intelligence development in children of this age, proper environment and positive people should surround them. Children staying in an inappropriate environment or lack parent-child relationship are more likely to develop difficulties in school, their social life, and their emotions. Parents need to provide their young ones with all the important elements to develop their intelligence both emotional and social intelligence. As for the school going children between the age of three to five years, a good kindergarten with skilled educators are essential in the boosting of the child’s intelligence. All these factors put into considerations will ensure that the development of intelligence in children of this age group happens, as it is required.