Young child playing in squatting position. Child development entails the biological, psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the sensory development in young children thesis of adolescence, as the individual progresses from dependency to increasing autonomy.
There are various definitions of periods in a child’s development, since each period is a continuum with individual differences regarding start and ending. Promoting child development through parental training, among other factors, promotes excellent rates of child development. Parents play a large role in a child’s life, socialization, and development. Having multiple parents can add stability to the child’s life and therefore encourage healthy development. The optimal development of children is considered vital to society and so it is important to understand the social, cognitive, emotional, and educational development of children. Increased research and interest in this field has resulted in new theories and strategies, with specific regard to practice that promotes development within the school system. There are also some theories that seek to describe a sequence of states that compose child development.
Also called “development in context” or “human ecology” theory, ecological systems theory, originally formulated by Urie Bronfenbrenner specifies four types of nested environmental systems, with bi-directional influences within and between the systems. The four systems are microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem. Each system contains roles, norms and rules that can powerfully shape development. Jean Piaget was a Swiss scholar who began his studies in intellectual development in the 1920s. Piaget’s first interests were those that dealt with the ways in which animals adapt to their environments and his first scientific article about this subject was published when he was 10 years old. This eventually led him to pursue a Ph.
Zoology, which then led him to his second interest in epistemology. This is the first stage in Piaget’s theory, where infants have the following basic senses: vision, hearing, and motor skills. In this stage, knowledge of the world is limited but is constantly developing due to the child’s experiences and interactions. During this stage of development, young children begin analyzing their environment using mental symbols. These symbols often include words and images and the child will begin to apply these various symbols in their everyday lives as they come across different objects, events, and situations. During this stage, children between the age of 7 and 11 use appropriate logic to develop cognitive operations and begin applying this new thinking to different events they may encounter.
Children in this stage incorporate inductive reasoning, which involves drawing conclusions from other observations in order to make a generalization. Some positive aspects during this time is that child or adolescent begins forming their identity and begin understanding why people behave the way they behave. Vygotsky was a Russian theorist, who proposed the sociocultural theory. Russian language and began influencing Western thinking. He posited that children learn through hands-on experience, as Piaget suggested. Vygotsky was strongly focused on the role of culture in determining the child’s pattern of development. Vygotsky felt that development was a process and saw periods of crisis in child development during which there was a qualitative transformation in the child’s mental functioning.
Erikson, a follower of Freud’s, synthesized both Freud’s and his own theories to create what is known as the “psychosocial” stages of human development, which span from birth to death, and focuses on “tasks” at each stage that must be accomplished to successfully navigate life’s challenges. Watson’s behaviorism theory forms the foundation of the behavioral model of development 1925. In accordance with his view that the sexual drive is a basic human motivation, Sigmund Freud developed a psychosexual theory of human development from infancy onward, divided into five stages. The use of dynamical systems theory as a framework for the consideration of development began in the early 1990s and has continued into the present century. Although the identification of developmental milestones is of interest to researchers and to children’s caregivers, many aspects of developmental change are continuous and do not display noticeable milestones of change. Continuous developmental changes, like growth in stature, involve fairly gradual and predictable progress toward adult characteristics.
Stages of development may overlap or be associated with specific other aspects of development, such as speech or movement. Even within a particular developmental area, transition into a stage may not mean that the previous stage is completely finished. For example, in Erikson’s discussion of stages of personality, this theorist suggests that a lifetime is spent in reworking issues that were originally characteristic of a childhood stage. Although developmental change runs parallel with chronological age, age itself cannot cause development. The basic mechanisms or causes of developmental change are genetic factors and environmental factors.