Q 1.1 Explain the sequence and rate of each aspect of development from birth – 19 years:
The five aspects of human development that are measured are social, physical, intellectual, communication and emotional (SPICE). All of these are interconnected and each stage occurs at different rates although a child may not go through each stage in a particular order e.g. a baby may go from crawling to walking missing out the first stage of rolling. So, sequence and also rate will vary for each individual child and there are a number of factors that will affect this e.g. food, environment and also health and genetics.
Social development is the ability to interact with people effectively, creating friendships, becoming independent and managing one’s own feelings and behaviours. This begins almost immediately when a baby is just a few weeks old responding to people with a smile. They are very much dependent on carers, thus developing bonding and feelings of security and emotional comfort when all their needs are met e.g. by feeding, providing warmth and cuddles.
At around 3 – 9 months babies will start to differentiate between familiar and non-familiar people. Before this development babies will smile at whoever interacts with them and even smile at a cardboard cut-out face with dots for eyes.
They begin to recognise their own name and enjoy playing simple games such as peek-a-boo, attempt to communicate and are starting to realise that they are a separate body to others.
From 9 months babies will try to engage with familiar adults and may start to try to help with chores etc. and enjoy playing games becoming more independent. Around 1 years of age is around the time that object permanence comes into effect. Before this a child will not realise that an item or indeed person still exists when it has gone out of sight.
This realisation can cause separation anxiety. From aged around 2 years children may become frustrated when trying to carry out activities that they cannot quite do, and will play alongside other children and copy the actions of adults and older peers. Jealousy can also start to occur at this stage, particularly if the child’s carer is paying attention to another.
Playing within a group can prove challenging and adult intervention may often be required! Imagination and role play are engaging for the child at this stage. Play is an important aspect of development as it gives children the chance for social skills to develop i.e. learning how to ‘play nicely’ and resolve conflict.
At age 3 – 5 years social skills develop further and children can play better together rather than just alongside each other, thereby gradually learning to share, take turns and consider the feelings of others a little more, thereby developing friendships.
Between 4 – 7 years children appreciate being given responsibility and helping out wherever they can e.g. domestic chores. Routine and structure that nursery and reception class can provide is important and enjoyable to a child at this age. Research has shown that social and emotional skills develop the greatest within the first 5 years of child-hood; therefore investment into early childhood programmes and pre-school may very well be of great benefit.
Children between 5 – 7 years will now fully be able to understand and follow rules in games and taking turns. Individual friendships i.e. ‘best friends’ can become of particular importance.
From aged 7 – 12 years children often enjoy competitive games and may wish to pursue a particular hobby. They may expand to a group of friends whilst also maintaining key friendships and become much more independent. At this age children understand right and wrong behaviour.
Between the ages of 12 and 19 years brings about a large change in both physical and emotional sense, and children can shift for mature to immature behaviour. They may become somewhat distant from their parents or carers and enjoy spending most of their time with friends instead and interest in the opposite sex develops. As the child begins to create and understand their own identity parental beliefs and guidance can be questioned which can create quite a strain on relationships within the family.
Physical development is very rapid in the early years. Within a few weeks of being born a baby will smile and respond to people, sounds and their environment. By 3 months babies can lift their head whilst lying on their front. Between 3 – 5 months babies will reach out for objects and enjoy playing with rattles and at 5 – 8 months will hold the object and lift it to their mouths to suck. At first babies can hold objects but are unable to let go. At around 6 – 7 months babies learn to pass this from hand to hand. Babies will hold their head up and extend their arms and legs when lying on their front –this is known as the Landau reflex. By 9 months a baby can sit without support and is starting to try to crawl. The stages of crawling and walking vary between each individual, some will learn to walk without ever crawling, others’ shuffle on their bottoms without crawling. Between 6 – 10 months a baby will pull themselves upright and hold on to furniture to stand. All children are usually walking independently by the time they are 18 month old.
At around 1 year a baby will start to feed themselves finger foods, moving on to using a spoon at around 13-15 months. As motor skills and vision improves children enjoy playing with building blocks from 15 months. From around 18 months children will enjoy making marks with a crayon on paper and a preference for using one hand may start to occur. They will learn to wave goodbye, point to what they want and shake their heads to say ‘no’! Playing with play dough, pretend cooking and dressing up are enjoyable past times at this age. From 18 month onwards babies start to go upstairs on all fours but will find it difficult to come down again – this is usually grasped around 18- 24 months. Toilet training begins at around 18 – 24 months and is usually mastered by 3 years of age.
Between 2 – 3 years children enjoy scribbling with a crayon, building towers using blocks, playing with water (pouring more accurately from container to container), junk modelling and enjoy climbing as their balance improves. From around 2 years children learn to kick and throw a ball. Toddlers will learn how to do buttons and zips on their clothes and milk teeth will all have come through at this point.
At age 3 – 5 years children can jump up and down form a low height, begin to hop, walk a straight line and jump over small heights landing on both feet. Fine motor skills develop – holding a pencil in a tripod position, turning pages in a book and successfully pouring. They become more skilled in moulding play dough into shapes using their hands and tools and begin to use scissors to cut paper indicating an increase in binocular and visual tracking ability.
At around 4 years of age there may be a difference in the development of motor skills – boys tend to develop gross motor skills e.g. throwing, climbing and pedalling, with girls fine motor skills are more developed e.g. using scissors, drawing with a pencil, threading beads, puzzles and sewing stitches.
By 6 years of age children begin to dress independently, and writing skills improves and develops to writing words and sentences. Children enjoy climbing, jumping and learning to ride a bike as confidence and independence increases. Children will lose their milk teeth around this age.
At around 7 years of age they enjoy playing sport, dancing, learning to play a musical instrument – enjoying hobbies as natural talents begin to show. At around 8 and 10 physical and hormonal changes can start to occur ready for the onset of adolescence and puberty. The rate and timing of physical changes during adolescence vary greatly for each individual as hormonal changes affect growth and sexual maturity. The average age for girls to start menstruation is 13. Gross and fine motor skills continue to increase and complex hand – eye co-ordination increase thus ability in sport, music and art increase particularly if encouraged.
Intellectual development –babies learn rapidly in the first few years of life particularly in four closely related areas: perception, action, learning and cognition. These domains are all closely interlinked and learning that occurs in one area leads on to learning in another area e.g. improvements in visual ability in the first few months allow the baby to see more of the people and objects around them thereby increasing the amount of information and opportunities to learn as babies first learn by copying. They will start to recognise familiar faces and voices and are stimulated by bright colours. Over time and with experience children develop memory, problem solving skills, reasoning and thinking ability.
Concentration increases from 3 months and babies will begin to explore the world around them e.g. by putting objects in their mouths and enjoying peek-a-boo games. Between 3 and 9 months babies have no sense of danger and do not understand the meaning of “no”. Their sense of self develops and they enjoy learning through the use of simple picture books, toys such as rattles and everyday objects that make different sounds and have different textures. They learn by repetitive movements e.g. kicking their feet to move a mobile above the cot.
From 9 months babies begin to develop stacking ability as hand eye co-ordination develops and may recognise their reflection in a mirror! Actions become more intentional e.g. reaching behind a cushion to retrieve a hidden toy. They learn their can be a consequence of their actions e.g. pull a blanket towards themselves to retrieve a teddy resting on it. From 18 months old the ability to problem solve before responding e.g. place shapes in correct holes and they begin to recognise different objects. Concentration continues to increase and a baby may be able to follow very simple instructions such as “pick up teddy”.
Between 2 and 3 years of age toddlers learn a lot through observing and applying behaviours, they enjoy role play and music. A lot of learning is through play which is why play is so important particularly for young children. Young children aged 3- 5 years will understand more complex instructions e.g. “put your wellies on and wait at the door.” They will recognise parts of the body, head, arms, legs – shapes such as circle, square and sizes e.g. big, medium, small. They know if a question has been spoken rather than a statement and begin to draw, thread beads and building thereby developing motor skills.
From 5 years and up to 7 years children become increasingly aware of the world around them – but are still ego-centric and self-centred. Imaginative play increases and children become more interested in reading. They will recognise numbers and count to 20 whilst learning about money values and recognise both upper and lower case letters.
After 7 years reading, writing and maths knowledge develops as concentration increases. Children understand the concept of time and space and understand the concept of cause and effect. Older children of 7 to 12 years of age find the moral values are very important – they want to be good and follow the rules and do things right. Children become much more independent and are able to dress and wash themselves. At around 9 years of age children become more aware of their talents and may wish to pursue a hobby – this increases self-esteem.
At 12 -19 years children understand ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ and are more able to understand different points of view and ideas. They become even more independent and like to form their own identity particularly through the teenage years!
Communication development – enables understanding and expression it supports thinking , problem solving and reasoning. Being able to talk and listen is important throughout school for learning and also throughout adult life for job opportunities and social development. However children do need adults to teach them good language skills. Attention and listening are the basics of language without which children will struggle to learn, understand and respond appropriately. Early development of communication is critical as research shows that a child’s vocabulary at the age of 5 is a strong predictor of qualifications within education i.e. school, college and university.
Babies first start to use their voices in the first 3 months – ‘vocal play’ – they will observe and copy mouths and faces and make sounds. They will turn to sounds i.e. recognition and respond to smiles and learn to cry to get attention. After 3 months babies will begin to concentrate on specific objects and explore objects by putting them in their mouths. Between 6 – 12 months babies enjoy making new sounds and will use this to show their emotions e.g. laughing, crying. At around 7 months they may say 2 syllable sounds – the most popular with parents being “mama” and “dada”!! Babies will increasingly demand attention by raising their voices. They will enjoy singing games such as ’round and round the garden’ and ‘This little piggy..’ which help develop language and communication skills.
Babies will begin to names objects between 9 and 18 months and will start to use simple language e.g. “me” for “pass it to me” and will use a word for any similar object, e.g. “dada” for any man – embarrassing for mum in the supermarket! Or “dog” for any furry four legged animal. Language use will develop into 2 + word sentences. They will learn to wave and say “bye bye” or shake their heads whilst saying “No!”. They will begin to try and join in with familiar nursery rhymes enjoying rhyme time sessions which help to stimulate language skills. By 2 years of age toddlers can understand more of what is said to them than they are able to speak and be understood which can lead to frustration for them. They can point to objects and body parts and name them, use simple questions and repeat words. Their motor skills develop and they enjoy making marks on paper with crayons which is the first stage of communicating by writing.
Language recognition and production rapidly increases between 2 and 3 years with children asking questions, using a widening range of words, speaking in the past tense and taking an interest in books and reading. Sharing books from an early age promotes language skills and an interest in reading. Children will join in at familiar points in the book and may pretend to read.
From 3 years vocabulary increases to around 1500 words and drawing skills improve. Between 3 -5 years children will be able to describe a chain of events and may be able to retell familiar stories with or without a book to follow and enjoy imaginary games. They may deliberately use naughty words to test them out!
At 5 years children’s speech is more understandable and they will speak using longer and more complicated sentences. As English is such a complex language mistakes will still be common, but with practice children will improve and use these skills to develop friendships. They are able to structure a story so it makes sense and understand pictures in story books and follow the tale. Pencil control improves as they learn to write letters and copy shapes and patterns. They will recognise their own name written down and some other familiar words.
By age 7 grammar is still developing and becoming more complex. Children at this age will be able to use speech clearly and should be easy to understand. Conversation skills improve as they will have learnt to take turns, listen and respond. Children of this age are prone to exaggerate things to make them more interesting! Reading and writing skills improve and children become more curious and aware of the world around them asking lots of questions. They should be able to speak on the telephone and be able to retell their birthday, address etc.
From 7 – 12 years children are able to appreciate humour, from around age 9 they gain more sophisticated understanding skills. They are able to speak clearly and fluently about past, present and future events and will use language skills for a range of reasons e.g. complimenting and negotiating to create and maintain friendships. Around age 11 they are good at listening, appreciate sarcasm and are able to understand different question types i.e. open, closed and rhetorical. As vocabulary increase older children are able to describe actions and feelings using long, complex sentences and using joining words such as ‘meanwhile’ and ‘therefore’. They are able to communicate with peers sharing ideas and information, give and receive advice and take notice of others opinions. They can negotiate agreement within a group and enjoy organising group games.
From 12-19 years young adult’s language skills and intellect develops, and confidence and debating skills increase – giving a reasoned argument for their views.
Emotional development – what happens in the first few years of a babies life can impact on long term emotional, intellectual and social outcomes of the child, which is why it is so important to ensure babies and young children have a stable, loving, secure and stimulating environment to grow up in. All areas of development are interconnected e.g. a child’s ability to learn is influenced by their ability to interact with others and control their impulses and emotions.
The first sign of emotional development occurs in the first few months when a baby responds to a carers smile, voice and face – this creates emotional bonding between them which promotes a positive relationship between them. Babies rely on adults for all their needs at this stage – feeding, cuddling, warmth and hygiene. Babies respond well to routine and can get upset if this changes. Attachment develops with main carer and close family and friends from around 6 months. They become more sociable as they enjoy the company of others and playing simple games such as peek-a-boo. Babies will start to communicate and use their voices to show emotion e.g. laugh, cry or squeal in excitement. They begin to be able to recognise and respond to emotions in others e.g. if somebody becomes angry this can upset the baby.
Separation anxiety may occur at around 9 months as the baby cannot understand that the parent or carer will come back to them. From 9 – 18 months they become more independent minded and assertive and know what they want to do or play with or where they want to go and tantrums can occur as they become frustrated or tired. A lot of babies like to seek comfort with a specific blanket or toy. At this age babies find it very difficult to share toys and may snatch things away from another baby. They can become worried, reserved or concerned in a new environment or when meeting new people. They can begin to show empathy and may become upset if others around them are.
At 18 – 24 months young children will learn to express love through hugs and kisses and will enjoy playing with other children. They will still be egocentric with difficulty in sharing toys etc so disagreements will still need to be guided by an adult as they learn how to ‘play nicely’.
From 2 years language develops and children will become aware of their own feelings and emotions and of others. They may find it very difficult to make a decision when given a choice e.g. of 2 toys to take on a trip. After 3 years children become more interested in other children and may initiate or join in play and may even have learn to share! Emotions can run high if they are unable to carry out a task or something isn’t working properly. A sense of right and wrong develops and they gradually become less attached and more independent as they start nursery and school and enjoy the new stimulating environments.
From 5 – 7 years as reading, writing and language skills increase so will self-confidence – although comfort and reassurance will be needed for when there are knockbacks. Approval is important to a child at this age and a child may resort to blaming somebody else for their own misdemeanours rather than accept the blame and risk being called naughty! However, at this stage they may want to test the boundaries of what is right and wrong. Empathy increases and a child may comfort somebody they see is upset, and will enjoy making others laugh. Frustrations can still lead to angry outbursts especially as they can only see things from their own point of view. Children will enjoy role-play and imaginative games which is a good tool to help work out their own worries or concerns.
Older children between 7 and 12 years will now have a clearer view of what is right and wrong but still need clear rules of behaviour. They are now becoming more aware of themselves as individuals and are able to understand other viewpoints and opinions.
At 12-19 years hormonal imbalances can result in emotional outbursts and mood swings. Behaviour towards friends can be understanding and supportive- but older children can also be capable of bullying and socially excluding individuals so some behaviour needs to be monitored still. Competitiveness and rivalry can be high so clear guidelines and rules may still be required. Older children are able to understand the consequences and possible outcomes of actions and behaviour and can consider reasons and motivations for behaviours in other people.
Q 1.2 Explain the difference between sequence of development and rate of development and why the difference is important:
The sequence of development is the order in which a child learns to carry out new movements and skills e.g. hold head up, learn to sit with support, learn to sit without support before moving on to standing whilst holding on to furniture, and then standing independently. Another example do a sequence of development would be a baby rolling, sitting, crawling and then walking. Some babies may miss out one of these stages and simply go from sitting independently to walking and omit the crawling stage. This is perfectly normal as all children are different, however all development will occur in the same order as all developmental stages are linked together.
Development does occur at different rates for each individual child. The rate of development is the speed at which a child has learnt to accomplish a certain skill or activity. For example, a child may learn to walk at 10 month or 14 months old, but all children would be expected to be walking independently by the time they are 18 months old. This is known as a milestone. If a child is not able to carry out a specific activity by the milestone age this could indicate a special need or learning disability. The earlier this is recognised in a child the quicker intervention and relevant investigations and help and support can be organised and given to the child. Child development experts have carried out extensive research and have identified key milestones in social, physical, intellectual, language and emotional development from birth to adolescence.
Development is a gradual sequential process and humans learn many skills as they are growing up – all in the same order but not at the same speed. It is important to know the difference between rate and sequence when noting and observing the development of individual children as this can help to identify when a child is in need of extra support or extension. Although these key milestones are in place it is always important to remember each child is an individual and will master skills and mature at their own pace over time.
Q 2.1 Explain how children and young people’s development is influenced by a range of personal factors:
Personal factors such as genetic information, as an inherited condition or due to complications during birth which result in a lack of oxygen to the brain can all affect the overall health, brain and physical development of a child sometimes even whilst the embryo is still in the womb. Issues that arise due to the genetics of the individual are predisposed and intrinsic to the child, they are not under the control or affected by actions of the child, the people supporting them or the environment they grow up in. Genetic disorders arise from an extra or missing chromosome or abnormal gene as the embryo develops. Genetic inheritance influences everything about a person – eye colour, personality, mental health and physical ability.
Downs Syndrome is an example of a genetic disorder which can impair both cognitive and physic al ability and development. It occurs in 1 of every 1000 births and the occurrence is markedly higher in babies born to women over 35. Downs Syndrome occurs when the egg doesn’t divide properly and the egg contains an extra chromosome 21. Characteristics of the condition include distinctive facial features, intellectual disability a number of physical problems and a sweet temperament. The degree of disability varies widely and extra support may often be required.
Health problems can affect the development of a child e.g. asthma which is a chronic disease of the airways that can cause breathing difficulties. Common asthma triggers are exercise, cold air and allergens. A child who suffers with asthma may have time off school which could affect their education and learning. They may be reluctant or unable to take part in physical games and activities, or may not be very good at them due to being out of breath. This may result in a loss of confidence and social difficulties as their peers may exclude them from playing games.
Children with sight and hearing problems may go on to suffer from learning difficulties as they may struggle with reading and writing. Hearing is linked to speech so speech problems may arise resulting in communication difficulties. Again this can cause issues with social development and integrating with peers if other children find it difficult to understand what the child is trying to say or have difficulty in being heard, thereby making it more difficult to create and maintain friendships.
Learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism affect development. A person with a learning disability sees, hears or understands things differently e.g. letter and word recognition. A child may require extra support with learning in school and can become frustrated with oneself and others which can result in behavioural issues. Again socialising and friendships may be more difficult for children with such conditions.
Obviously personal factors can also have a positive influence on development e.g. natural talents, high intelligence and physical attributes.
Being aware of a child’s personal factors is important when looking after a child and if any issues arise within school as support may be required or adaptations and changes
Q 2.2. Explain how children and young people’s development is influenced by a range of external factors:
There are a number of external factors that influence a child’s development; environment, wealth, family, education, friendships and media all have an effect – both positive and negative.
The environment a child grows up in particularly in the first 3 years of life has a strong effect on a child as this is when the brain is most sensitive to external factors. A stable loving home and family life with an enriching and nurturing carer is important for a child to develop socially and confidently, providing love and warmth and comfort gives a sound basis for further development at school and throughout life. Family break ups and an unstable home life can cause stress related illnesses to develop along and behavioural and social difficulties. Poor housing conditions such as damp and cold can affect the health of a child e.g. asthma sufferers. Noise, pollution and overcrowding can also have a detrimental impact on the wellbeing and development of a child living in these conditions.
Poverty and wealth have long term consequences on development. A child from a wealthy background will have more opportunities in life – holidays, days out, hobbies to enjoy and education – private school, tutoring to support any difficulties, after school clubs. However without a loving family or carer these advantages can lose their impact on development. The number of poor families has increased since 1985. Key groups of people that are mostly affected by poverty are one parent families, unemployed and disabled. In 2004 26% of children in England on free school meals gained 5+ GCSE’s grade C or above. Compare this with 56% of children who were not eligible for free meals and the effect of poverty is obvious.
Poverty can also have an effect on the food and nutrients eaten – a good healthy diet promotes good health and higher concentration, ‘junk food’ and fizzy drinks can affect a child’s concentration abilities and behaviour which in turn affects social and learning development.
Friendships can be very influential to a child and can motivate many behaviours, actions and beliefs particularly when growing up. Children can develop friendships from 2 years onwards, and children as young as 12-18 months can display a preference by touching, smiling and engaging with individuals.
By age 3 or 4 children make and maintain friendships and may begin to identify ‘best friends’. Interaction with peers is very important in the early years as it gives children the opportunity to develop socially e.g. learning to share and take turns and as they get older learn to solve differences between themselves.
Throughout the teenage years friendships become more important and influential to a child. This can have a positive effect e.g. support through body changes, coping with peer pressure and pressure from school work and exams as they all go through the same things together. Negative effects can include bullying – the use of technology has made it easier for bullies to attack a child, and made it more difficult for the victim to avoid as incidents occur on Facebook etc. i.e. cyberbullying, neglecting school work, truancy, alcohol or drug abuse. Research shows however that with a strong, stable family life, open communicative relationship with parents or carer this period of development can be navigated without too much upset.
Finally, in more recent times exposure to media has become a concern regarding children’s development with more children playing on tablets, watching TV and using the internet. Watching violent films can have an effect on a child’s behaviour, whilst sleeping patterns can become disturbed when playing video games and using phones late into the night. Not enough sleep causes tiredness the next day and a lack of concentration thus affecting learning and behaviour particularly at school.
Q 2.3. Explain how theories of development and framework to support the development influence current practice:
Theories of development have had a huge influence on developmental frameworks that are used nowadays as tools to recognise when a child may need intervention or support. Assessment frameworks include EYFS, baseline assessments for children entering a new setting, 2 year progress check and P scales – used to assess the development of a child that may have learning difficulties.
School tests and cognitive aptitude tests enable teachers to gain an insight into a child’s academic ability at a certain point. Health programmes are used throughout the UK in schools e.g. sight, hearing and weight/height at 5 years old to ensure each child is developing physically as they should.
Educational psychologists use reasoning tests to assess the intellectual abilities of a child who has been flagged as having possible special needs in order to work out what extra support is required.
Each of these frameworks has been developed using information gained from research into the theories of development as follows.
Jean Piaget was a cognitivism theorist who believed children created their knowledge for themselves from their own experiences, with organisation of the knowledge through a series of stages;
Sensorimotor a child learns through sensory and motor abilities developing.
Pre-Operational Stage (2-7 years) egocentric, perceive things from their own angle only.
Concrete Operational Stage (7 – 12 years) develop logic, abstract thoughts, imagination
Formal Operational Stage (12 – 18 years) able to use systematic thought, experiments, hypothesis, logic.
Piaget also proposed that children learn in stages:
Assimilation – child creates theory
Equilibrium – thoughts / knowledge are balanced
Disequilibrium – a confused state where new experience or knowledge causes disruption to the original schema.
Accommodation – child changes original schema to fit in the new piece of information.
Piaget believed children are intrinsically motivated to learn, so do not require rewards to want to do so.
Implications from his theories for how children’s education should be planned suggests the different stages of learning at different ages needs to be considered when deciding how to teach. Children learn best by interacting with the world around them both physically and mentally so relevant physical activities and experiments can help children understand new topics. This emphasises the nature/ nurture interaction within a child’s development.
Vygotsky is another cognitivist theorist whose work has influenced framework on children’s development. Vygotsky produced the idea of ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD) where teachers/parent s extend a child’s learning out of the comfort zone to use and develop emerging skills whilst being careful that the child does not lose confidence whilst doing so. The use of a ‘scaffolding’ technique to do this promotes individual thinking and development of new ideas. Social interaction whilst learning is considered important with the need of adults working alongside the children. Vygotsky’s theories have been extremely influential in current teaching practices with children interacting and having a hands-on group approach to many lessons and subjects.
The Behaviourist approach to development concentrates on how children behave and how positive and negative reinforcement affects learning and behaviour in general. Skinner demonstrates how behaviour can be shaped, learning through experience and reward – positive rewards for good behaviour is the basis for many behaviour management programmes used in schools today. Children learn of consequences of their behaviour through positive reinforcement e.g. stickers, praise, treats.
Key figures of the Humanist approach include Carl Rogers, William Glasser and Maslow. The Humanist theorists recognise an open –minded approach promoting creativity and psychological freedom. They believe that if a child is open to express themselves results will naturally be good both for the individual and society. Maslow recognised that if a child’s basic needs were not met there would be a deficiency in that child. This certainly influences current practice where carers and teachers must take into account the environmental influences of each individual child and the importance of positive supportive relationships, which give a child higher self-esteem and confidence enabling the child to reach full potential.
Constructivism theory states that children construct their own knowledge through experiences of the world and reflecting upon those experiences and learning from them. Influential theorists in this field are John Dewey and Maria Montessori . Dewey believed learning develops in three steps: discovery, introduction of an idea, and application of that idea. Constructivists believe that lessons should be: relevant to the child, starting from basic ideas on which the child develops; teachers to ask the child questions to see if the child understands and can elaborate; curriculum is adapted and teachers mediate rather than teach.
Montessori recognised the importance of the teaching environment and rather than having children sat at desks believed freedom to move and investigate stimulates learning. She recognised planes of development, and the need for repetitive behaviour for cognitive development. This style of education has been so influential that Montessori nurseries and schools have been set up throughout the UK and worldwide.
Q 3.1. Explain how to monitor children and young people’s development using different methods:
In order to monitor how a child is developing in all areas it is useful for a school or nursery to have in place tools which can be used to assess where each child is up to. This information can flag up if any potential learning or developmental issues which can be identified early on and support or tools put in place to give the child assistance where necessary.
The 2 main types of assessment used are known as Summative or Formative. Summative assessments are tests such as SATS, formal tests and exams. EYFS requires a review of each childs progress at 2 points – 24-36 months and at the end of the EYFS stage. All this information is then shared with parents and sometimes the new school the child is entering. Summative assessments can be used to record a child’s academic and intellectual ability at a certain point in time.
Formative assessments are based on different observation models that can target a specific child if required. Observations involve observing children or an individual child as they interact and behave in play and other activities, looking at how the child behaves and also perhaps using information from parents or carers on how the child behaves if a specific issue is being looked into. Assessment is then required in order to analyse the observations and can be used to identify what stage the child is on their individual developmental path and then considering ways to support the child. It is essential that observations are objective and the assessor does not jump to pre-conceived conclusions. For this reason it is a good idea to carry out several observations and have a number of people carry them out as each person will see different things, thereby avoiding incorrect conclusions leading to mis-diagnosis of any problems.
Observations can be formal – planned ahead for a specific purpose or informal – more opportunistic e.g. if a teacher sees a child carry out a particular skill set. Observations can be recorded in a number of ways.
Checklists or tick-lists relevant to the child’s age / stage of development e.g. developmental checklist.
Written records / snapshot observations give a brief description of a child’s activity and an assessor can record several areas of development, but observations need to be quickly noted to capture all the information!
Time samples- used to observe what a child does at a specific time of day, this helps to gain a full picture of the child. This method can be used for more than one child and again can be used to monitor development in several areas. However if significant action occurs out of this time frame it may be missed.
Event samples – these are used to note when a particular action/behaviour takes place and how often e.g. unwanted behaviour such as hitting, giving an idea of triggers and reasons for this behaviour.
For example if a child has been having difficulty in lessons and is suspected of having a learning disability an observation checklist could be used to help assess and feedback to the teacher and parents if this is the case.
It is important in each case to take into consideration also any environmental issues or cultural settings e.g. a child with English language development needs may be fluent in a first language but uses English as a second language – so is not actually a developmental issue as such for the child.
Results of all assessments would be compared with the expected norms of that particular age range, comparing milestones and key statistics along with any feedback from other parties e.g. such as families/parents reporting on behaviour at home, or teacher in a particular subject. The teacher could then involve and discuss with SENCO or other relevant parties and decide what appropriate action or support needs to be put into place to support the child.
Results of observations are highly confidential and are only shared with relevant staff and professionals. All information would be feedback to the teacher and then on to the parents/carers and in the case of older children in particular the child themselves as it is very important to maintain open channels of communication particularly when dealing with what can be sensitive issues. The child must have their wishes and views considered when discussions and decisions are taking place.
Q 3.2. Explain the reasons why children and young people’s development may not follow the expected pattern:
There are a number of factors that influence a child s or young person’s development. As development progresses on a step by step basis the ability to complete one skill provides the base for development of the following skill e.g. recognise letters, phonics leading to reading words. If a delay occurs in one activity this can have a knock on effect on the next stages of development. Also, as development is interlinked a delay in one area can affect the development in another e.g. physical issue with eyesight can affect the intellectual development of reading/ writing etc.
Reasons for interruption in the pattern of development of a child include:
Environmental – issues such as poverty, housing, and pollution can all interrupt normal development patterns. Low income may result in lack of opportunities, and a child not being stimulated enough. Poor housing may affect health and therefore school attendance and educational development.
Disability – both physical and mental disabilities, depending on their severity many have an impact on development and cause delays. Children can also suffer from bullying by peers affecting self- confidence and learning. Learning difficulties affect the development of speech, language and communication skills.
Family – factors such as divorce and separation, bereavement and even a new baby arriving in the family can all result in emotional upheaval for a child. This can result in behavioural changes which can affect learning resulting in delays.
Cultural – Diversity and traditions need to be recognised and respected. Sometimes children from different cultures can experience difficulties in development e.g children who use English as a second language may have delays in speech, reading and writing in English.
Diet – issues such as food intolerences and allergies can cause physical delays. A diet that is high in artificial colourings and sugar can affect the behaviour of a child resulting in hyperactivity and behavioural difficulties which in turn affect attention and learning.
Health – short term or minor illness can have an immediate impact on learning as a child may become lethargic in lessons and have low attention. Short term absence from school may result in interruption in learning and a child may need extra support to catch up with school work. A child with chronic illness such as diabetes or asthma will need to learn how to manage and control their illness so as to avoid learning delays through absenteeism. Serious illness can cause developmental delays and can have a severe impact on learning again.
Such factors may be the reason for unexplained emotional outbursts or change in behaviour such as introverted and withdrawn or angry and aggressive. The child or young person may need to adjust to life changes and families and schools may need to intervene to help them cope and deal with situations.
Q 3.3. Explain how disability may affect development:
Disabilities are categorised as two types – physical and learning. Disability can occur as an impairment of a body function or structure e.g. in the eye therefore affecting sight, or a limitation in activity e.g. mobility issues which may result in the use of a wheelchair. Such disabilities can affect development in all areas i.e. sight issues can affect reading and writing and so delays in learning may occur. Some children may be born with a disability or a disability may occur at some point in life e.g. due to an accident.
A person may have a single impairment or multiple. Quite often an issue that affects development in one area can affect development in another as each stage of development is a complex interaction between a number of structures within the body. Successful development involves mastering simple skills before more complex skills are mastered. An example of this would be cerebral palsy which is a condition that affects movement, posture and co-ordination of a person. This would obviously affect them physically -they may also suffer seizures, epilepsy- or speech and language difficulties which can affect development in communication skills.
Children with a disability are more likely to be exposed to negative factors which can affect the development of the child e.g. poverty and disability are strongly linked. Living in poverty increases the likelihood of disability due to pollution, lack of nutrients, poor housing. Families of children with disabilities are more likely to be economically disadvantaged – perhaps one parent has to reduce working hours to care for the disabled child or attend medical appointments.
Discrimination is more likely to occur if a child or young person is disabled, they may be marginalised by their families and communities particularly in cultures where guilt, fear and shame are associated with the birth of a child with a disability. As a result disabled children can suffer poor health, suffer educationally and have low self- esteem, limited social interaction and less of a chance of creating friendships which is so important for children in general. A disabled child may be more vulnerable and could therefore be at a higher risk of suffering abuse or neglect within the home or health or education establishment. This can lead to behavioural problems and developmental delays.
Examples of learning disabilities are Autism. A child with autism finds it difficult to understand facial expressions and voice tones of another person which can cause isolation, frustration and behavioural and learning difficulties and delays. Dyslexia is a difficulty in learning to read, which may result in lack of enjoyment and concentration in learning at school, behavioural problems can occur as the child becomes frustrated.
Many children with disabilities require access to specialised services and additional support with learning in order to reach their full potential. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to which the UK is a signatory ‘A child with a disability has the right to live a full and decent life in conditions that promote dignity, independence and an active role in the community’. A school will need to interact with families and caregivers to assess ability and deliver effective support both educationally, physically and psychologically on an individual basis to ensure a disabled child is able to develop in all areas to their maximum ability.
Q 3.4. Explain how different types of interventions can promote positive outcomes for children and young people where development is not following the expected pattern:
Intervention can be groups or individual professionals that work to support a child who is not developing at the same and expected rate as other pupils of the same age. The SENCO or another professional with links to the school will have made the decision to provide appropriate intervention and support according to the individual’s need. A SENCO helps to identify and support children and their families with special needs.
A Physiotherapist is a professional who works with the child to develop gross motor skills, and makes appropriate targets for the child. The physiotherapist will monitor progression and work with parents/ carers and education staff such as teaching assistants to offer advice. This is usually ongoing as the child develops and support and targets are reviewed. Further recommendations are amended according to the child’s changing needs so the child can reach its full potential physically.
A Social Worker works with vulnerable children and families– if parents ask for assistance or if there is concern for a child in the home environment i.e. a school may contact social services directly. A social worker will also be used to support disabled children, ‘Looked After Children’ or those on the child protection register. Such intervention protects children from what could be a damaging environment and ensures the child is safe and appropriate needs are being met.
A Nurse or Health visitor measures children’s development e.g. 2 year development check and 5 year check at school. This can flag up any possible delays in development early, thereby ensuring early identification or diagnosis so appropriate support can be put in place for the child. They may also support development of children with physical or health needs and are responsible for giving immunisations.
A Speech Therapist works in partnership with parents, teachers and other professionals involved in helping a child develop communication skills to best of their ability, thereby assisting in education and social development. Such support may involve weekly sessions or may work with parents and other professionals to set appropriate goals and monitor progress. Difficulties with speech can lead to behavioural issues as the child becomes frustrated in not being able to communicate with others or having difficulties with peers behaviour towards them i.e. bullying. A child who makes progress in speech and language will gain confidence and learn to express themselves, communicate and interact socially with others effectively.
A Psychiatrist specialises in mental health diagnoses and supports children with mental health issues.
An Educational Psychologist may be required if child does not make any progress following interventions by speech therapist. Carry out assessment on child using different tools, techniques and approaches to understand what is happening t the child, why there is a problem and what can be done to make a difference. Psychologists are also appointed to intervene to support a child with suspected learning or behavioural issues, and can provide a specific support programme once the child’s needs are identified.
Youth Justice is a public body which aims to stop children and young people offending. The team may be involved with schools and community where there are cases of offending behaviour and work with children with behavioural issues.
Additional Learning Support staff such as teaching assistants or advisors who train and support staff provide a range of services and support for children who have educational needs. Support is tailored to meet the needs of the individual.
All the above professionals are responsible for choosing the right type of assistive technology to support development of children and young people. This can be ensured by the use of a range of technology e.g. a voice activated computer programme will assist children with delayed fine motor skills with writing. A child who has difficulties with walking may use the latest wheelchair so they are able to achieve their developmental goal in becoming more independent.
Q 4.1. Analyse the importance of early identification of speech, language and communication delays and disorders and the potential risks of late recognition:
In order for a child with speech, language or communication delays or disorders to reach his or hers full potential it is vitally important that issues are identified early. In the early years a child’s brain is still developing so if intervention can be reached within this period there is a much better chance of there being little impact on long term development. Speech, language and communication ability affects other areas of learning and attainment, so activities and games that stimulate and promote early year’s ability in this area help set a sound base for further development in other areas and education. Without the right support the needs remain – not just at early year’s level but throughout school life.
If a delay or disorder is identified early and correct intervention is put into place children progress better than they would have without any intervention, and long term impact is kept to a minimum. Sometimes children are even able to catch up to the expected level. So, with the required intervention and support a child may flourish in all areas of development. Without identification and support a child may become frustrated and angry – emotions that can affect behaviour and social development. The child may not wish to attend school which can result in high absenteeism, thus affecting learning. In older children truancy can lead onto unwanted behaviours. The child may become isolated, at risk of bullying and lack education. This can have a lasting effect into adult life affecting job prospects, thus a higher risk of poverty and associated risks.
Children with social, emotional or behavioural problems should be assessed for speech, language and communication issues as needs in this area can result in such unwanted behaviours arising. There are such a wide range of difficulties that arise in there are issues in this area such as understanding information, being understood, learning ability and making friends all of which have a huge impact on the quality of life. Such difficulties can create low self-confidence and self-esteem, problems dealing with their own emotions creating frustration leading onto anger issues and anti-social behaviour. The child will not reach its full potential and may have difficulties making and sustaining relationships and friendships throughout adulthood. Long term behaviour issues have a lasting impact.
The risks of late development have been summarised by Lombardino ; Vaudreuili,1998 as follows “no treatment for speech and language delay – it is very likely that he/she will not only continue to experience difficulties with relation to language but also with psychological and social development” which clearly illustrates the importance of early identification and the effects of late recognition of disorders and delays in this area.
Q 4.2. Explain how multi-agency teams work together to support speech, language and communication:
If a parent or carer is concerned about a child’s speech, language or communication development they will probably make an appointment with their GP or health visitor. Delays or issues will also be picked up at the 2 year progress check which occurs at age 2-3 years as part of screening checks. Concerns may also be raised if the child is school age and the teacher or assistant has noticed issues with learning. Children who have speech, language or communication skills issues may find it more difficult to make friends and socialise and struggle with learning, particularly reading. Concerns will be communicated to the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) who is responsible for special educational needs at school.
A child may initially be referred for eye tests to check sight or may be directly referred to speech and language services. The early intervention team include speech and language therapists who can assess identify and treat speech, language, voice, fluency swallowing and feeding problems. Difficulties may arise if English is not the child’s first language – visual aids and clear pronunciation in lessons may assist in acquiring the necessary language skills and knowledge. An audiologist may intervene to assess and identify hearing function and associated disorders that can affect speech and language development. Sensory support teachers can be enlisted to support a child whose communication skills are delayed due to hearing problems. Educational Psychologists use psychological tests and assessments to see if language difficulties and delays are due to emotional or medical issues. If the result is psychological issues therapy can be used to overcome this, if it is due to a medical condition necessary medical treatment can be put into place to help them.
In the wider community the importance of speech language and communication skills has led to a number of charities becoming involved e.g. the Literacy Trust and The Communication Trust in setting up nationwide and more local initiatives to promote development in this area and to increase the early intervention and support. Local childrens centres may hold Rhyme Time sessions and Baby Babble sessions to support, inform and educate parents on how to develop communication skills.
Speech and language delays can be due to such a wide range of issues that many or even all of the professionals in different areas as noted above may be required in order to assess a child’s needs and to make an accurate diagnosis. An individual learning plan may then need to be drawn up to use in the classroom in order to develop the child’s speech, language and communication skills as required.
It is important that all the professionals involved in each child communicate about the issues, developments and objectives by attending regular meetings so everybody knows what the others are doing. Professionals should work collaboratively , reviewing developments and needs for reviews or referral for extra support if required. Working in this way will ensure the childs needs are met in a timely and efficient manner.
Q 4.3. Explain how play and activities are used to support the development of speech, language and communication:
Learning is easiest for children when it is fun, therefore children who suffer from a speech, language or communication delay or difficulty are best supported and encouraged using play and fun activities to stimulate and encourage the child to develop further. It is essential that the child’s full attention and focus is on the task, and using simple techniques such as addressing the child by their name encourages this.
Using toys such as puppets and dolls encourages speech in a relaxed unpressured setting e.g. role play giving a doll or teddy a cup of tea. Role play games are the first point at which a child shows an interest in learning more communication skills and wanting to learn to talk – it shows they are ready to learn new words. An adult can encourage this development by saying simple words such as “doll” or “cup” as they are playing. This only has an affect whilst the child is taking an interest in the game and cannot be forced! The use of dressing up is an enjoyable game and again if an adult is playing alongside the child they can encourage development whilst role playing as different characters in outfits. This may be particularly beneficial if a shy or introverted child is unwilling to take part in more formal methods, but by taking on a different character helps to lose the shyness.
For young children books that make a noise when you press a button etc are stimulating and promotes speech and communication. Again this is only possible if the child is interested and attentive to the topic / book. Picture books can encourage language development by the adult or child pointing to a picture and stating what it is e.g. “car”, the adult can then add a word on to what the child has said speaking clearly e.g. “red car” in this way the child learns an additional word, expanding language skills. By repeating the new word more than once the child will be encouraged to learn and say the new word quicker. Praising the child even for just attempting the new word and pronunciation is not clear will build self-confidence, simply repeating the word back clearly and correctly will help the child learn.
Nursery rhymes, songs and the use of musical instruments all encourage communication in a fun way. Children will listen – the different tones and words are all interesting – and will initially copy actions with their hands and then move onto singing. Missing out words of the nursery rhyme and letting the child fill in the blank encourages speech development. Musical instruments can be used to make sounds louder or quieter thereby encouraging listening. Older babies and young children can copy sounds and rhythms with the instruments.
Almost all children enjoy playing with bubbles, the baby can point and the adult states simple words such as ‘bubble’, ‘ pop’ or ‘ gone’ which the baby will learn to repeat. Going on from that the adult can state what the bubble is hitting so encouraging simple words to be spoken and language development.
All these techniques help to make learning speech and language fun and relaxed for the child.
Q 5.1. Explain how different types of transitions can affect children and young people’s development:
Transitions are change of circumstance or moving from one stage to another in life. Transitions can occur in all of the 5 developmental areas: Social – changes in how a child relates to themselves and others; Physical – change in environment such as house or school move; Intellectual – moving from one class to the next as child matures; Communication and Emotional – such as divorce and bereavement.
Transitions can be sudden and unexpected or gradual lasting for a various amount of time. Depending on the child’s nature, personality and support they receive from the family and school all effects how the individual copes and deals with the change.
There are lots of changes and transition points that occur to every child in the early years of their lives e.g. weaning, moving from cot to bed, and this is a lot for a child to cope with in a short period of time.
For some children emotional distress caused by a change of any kind causes a change in behaviour. Short term effects of such transitions include outburst of emotion such as anger or tearfulness, regression in a number of ways including bed-wetting, and behaviour change such as withdrawal and introverted or the complete opposite. Loss of appetite and sleeplessness can also be signs of upset during a transition process. For example, a child who is starting nursey may display tearfulness and clinginess but through comfort and as the routine of leaving the child is repeated and the child becomes familiar with the new carers and environment they should overcome the upset over a fairly short period of time.
Less common transitions are bereavement which can be very traumatic for a child affecting emotions and concentration, abuse – which can have long lasting effects and result in many different behaviour changes, and learning difficulties etc. A change in family circumstance such as divorce or separation, moving into care, a new baby in the family or arrival of step- siblings can result in attention seeking behaviour or conversely withdrawal.
If the emotional impact of a transition is not dealt with and is continuous the long term effects can include self- harm, withdrawal from social contact, lack of concentration, low confidence and self-esteem. Such behaviours can cause strained relationships within a family and with friends and teachers. It can affect learning and long term prospects for the child it is therefore vitally important that support and understanding is given to any child that is upset by transitions to enable them to cope with the change and give them the tools to get through any difficulties it may cause them.
Q 5.2. Evaluate the effect on children and young people of having positive relationships during periods of transition:
If a child or young person has an adult who they can trust and depend on during periods of transition it makes the whole process of change much easier for them to cope and deal with.
As a baby depends so much on a parent or carer and there are so many different transitions at an early age e.g. teething, potty training and weaning having a positive relationship who can care for the baby by giving cuddles, soothing the baby and distracting from any discomfort and giving medication if necessary will make the changes much easier. Through the process of potty training a child may get upset if accidents occur and lose confidence in their ability. An understanding carer will be able to comfort the child and explain that accidents happen and they can be cleaned up easily – by giving them support and reassurance the child’s confidence will increase and they can continue until they can independently use the potty and toilet without any emotional upset.
A child who has a positive relationship with their parent/carer or teacher will have situations explained to them, so they will be more able to understand what is happening and why – their fears and beliefs will be listened to and behaviours understood e.g. a child stating nursery or new school or simply changing class. A child may start to misbehave and be unwilling to attend school -their fears will be understood and processes can be put into place to try to make the change easier e.g. arrange a visit to the new classroom and teacher so the child is familiar with the new environment and will settle in easier. A child starting nursery may feel comforted if allowed to take a cuddly toy or other comforter for the first few times.
As a child gets a little older having a supportive relationship through the transition of losing mile teeth and gaining adult teeth can make it more comfortable i.e. thinking what foods will be easier to eat if the mouth is sore. By giving the child a sense of empowerment teaching them how to look after their new teeth i.e. good dental hygiene – so they last long into the adult years helps to make a smooth transition. Another good way of helping the child is the tale of the tooth fairy, where the promise of money left under the pillow can make it exciting and fun!
Rarer transition events that may occur during childhood and the teenage years such as bereavement, divorce are made easier to deal with if the positive relationship can explain what is happening, listen to the child’s concerns and worries with empathy and in a non-judgmental manner. Discussing the situation with the child and discovering what choices there are helps the child feel in control. Another method in which a positive adult can use is distraction – providing activities and outlets e.g. enjoyable trips, art and poetry helping the child to heal and overcome the transition.
It is essential to maintain a positive relationship even if the child is being angry and hostile in order to guide them through this period so negative behaviour or habits do not continue in the long term which can have an effect all through the adult life. Some transitions can be balanced with a loss of the old and the excitement of the new – not all change is bad even though it can be unsettling at the time.
Communication with parents is necessary as the child may be showing different behaviour at home than at school and the parents or carers may not be aware of how the transition is affecting and upsetting the child.