This essay on the learning and development of a child in the early years has enlightened every possible way including the theories and examples that could be effective for the development of the child (Ben‐Arieh & Kosher, 2019). This includes both the quantitative and qualitative of secondary research, and it contains divisions and subdivisions to make it easier to study child development related writings easily.
The first part is the introduction where the brief description of child development is given, and then the respective parts are, external influences on development, which contains, digital media and development, nutrition and development, neglect and poverty, and biological and ecological influences.
Implications for pedagogy, this includes a child study, documenting observations, observation analysis, and writing a child study report and lastly, the last part is the conclusion.
Child development is a very important part to study and this leaves a long term impact not only in the family or the area but it influences the whole world because children are the upcoming generations who will lead or conquer the world, so for the betterment of the whole world, this study is very important.
After birth a child changes with time, this process is known as child development. The period starts from the birth of a child and then it ends after the individual becomes a fully functioning adult. Being dependent, to being independent is the journey of child development. Child development includes physical and intellectual growth, emotional, linguistic, and social growth. All these are being discussed separately but these factors influence all at this period.
For instance, with the physical development of the brain, intellectual development takes place. With the development of physical and intellectual brains, the social world is explored and language is needed to respond to it emotionally. This exploration leaves an impact on the further progression of the physical brain.
Some factors in child development leave impacts on the progression or the course. The factors are economic, family, health, society, culture, and many more. This is going to enlighten the learning and development of a child in the early years.
Digital media has a huge impact on child development, difficult and overwhelming, both. The choices about using technology and technological tools have to be intentional, effective, and appropriate (Radesky & Christakis, 2016). The parents and the tutors are saturated in the world of technological tools and digital media like TV, computer, Laptop, Mobile, Video games, in such a saturated world managing quantity and quality of using digital media of a child has to be well managed. It is necessary to keep three things in mind, firstly, what are their watch list, how much time they invest in watching, and what are the impacts or how they behave when they are watching or using digital media or gadgets.
The main concern is the detrimental impacts on a young child of using and increasing usage of digital media and gadgets (Dore, Zosh, Hirsh-Pasek, & Golinkoff, 2017). Balancing the approach of using social media is a key approach by parents. The usage should be added to the education they are getting not instead of that education, this is where the balancing approach is needed. Sedentary activity is increasing, apart from that; it leaves a deep impact on the social-emotional development of a child. Overuse of technology is surely interrupting in relationships because of less socialization of a child and more social isolation.
Other negative impacts on open-minded and imaginative activities, active learning, and creativity are being experienced (Hoge, Bickham, & Cantor, 2017). Though the influence of digital media is not fully studied or known some longitudinal and relatively new studies or research are needed to determine the effects which are long term on a child’s development. Apart from negative engagement, the biggest fear is penetration in a child’s brain is more likely for the electromagnetic fields than an adult’s brain.
The EM fields are more active because the skulls are thinner, brains are of small sizes, brain tissues are softer and the nervous system is yet developing, so the susceptibility in children is easier. Research on the advantages of using technology and drawbacks is continuing but the real impact will be known shortly.
Alderman and Fernald study report has stated that the development of a young child includes nutritional development, and that increases when a child has a healthy food habit (Alderman & Fernald, 2017). In the first two years, nutrients leave a strong impact on a baby, in that time the baby grows rapidly and nutrition is crucial. Food requirement and habit varies with some factors like age, size, lifestyle, gender, and environmental factors.
Some of the basic needs of nutrients in child growth are always agreed by the nutritionists (Tanumihardjo, et al., 2016). Adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals are needed in a child’s diet for healthy development, along with that a good amount of protein is needed. The intake of sugar, salt, preservatives, and saturated fat, fast food must be reduced for healthy growth. For positive development standard health and food and opportunities of playing must be ensured by teachers and parents. Despite the awareness worldwide, the study says approximately 42 million children are suffering from obesity. In the past three decades, it is seen that the obesity rates in childhood doubles or triples in some cases in developed countries.
The food insufficiency and malnutrition-related problems are widely portrayed in developing countries; it is of no use even in food-rich countries. An adequate amount of nutrients and food is not for all families, all of them do not have equal access to these factors. Research says that a large part of the total population is living in the worst conditions with low amounts of food and insecure housings and that means the children are suffering from malnutrition too. This malnutrition in childhood affects the child’s development in all domains like low weight or excessive weight resulting from less quality, slow body growth, and weak immunity system. Along with problems in physical growth, mental growth gets affected too like difficulties in memory, low intelligence, or poor attention, social development also gets affected like behavioral issues, hyperactivity, or aggression.
Neglect: Neglecting a child or biases can affect the development of the child especially the mental growth (Bywaters, et al., 2017). In early childhood, if a child gets neglected by parents, teachers, or any other person who is having an impact on him/her, it causes a long term problem in developmental consequences and in many cases this is irreversible (Bywaters, et al., 2016).
For instance, low attachment levels or absence of attachment like hugging, kissing, spending time, solving problems, or facial expressions from the parents can cause a delay in development or stunted growth. It is not an easy job to understand the dynamics of neglect. The neglecting adults are from adults and are from overall society. It is statistically proven that the incidents of neglecting children come from disadvantaged families, there are some underlying reasons like early marriage and pregnancy, self-esteem is low, family environment is stressful, and many more.
Poverty: It is quite the same as malnutrition; it is not a problem of only third world countries, even in a developed country like New Zealand about 28% of the children are born in disadvantaged families. It is proven that it needs the involvement of all the parties who take care of a child and his/her education, to realize that poverty is a problem for everyone and it has a long term effect on child development.
Some factors have a great impact on the development of a child, firstly, the environmental factors (De Onis, 2017). Environmental factors are basically like nurturing with nature, it is said that nature loads the gun, and the trigger is pulled by nurturing. This includes social, emotional, and economical environments as these are the categories of environmental factors, with these physical environments that can also leave a strong impact.
Next is the Biological factors, the biological factors that affect a child’s growth are nutrition and gender. Nutrition affects physical growth and genders the mental, so discriminations of biological factors can influence the long term development of a child.
The next one is the interpersonal relationship; relationships with parents as well as the caregiver influence a child physically and mentally, in both ways. These factors prove that if these things go positively and in a balanced way it causes the good development or good physical and mental growth of a child to a mature adult.
Child study means examining the development and learning of a child in detail and very deeply. For early childhood teachers, child study is a very important aspect (Crosthwaite, 2017). The child study means examining each child and their fields of interest and analyzing the observational data, so the understanding is accurate and to the point for each child. It helps to give the perfect data about a child to their parents for more progression of their children. Each person who is in contact with the child must learn everything about a child just like a researcher does (Fleet, Patterson, Robertson, & Robertson, 2017).
From learning and studying the children the adults can plan their future because every single one of them is equally important for the parents and the teachers. So, undertaking a child study is very important as seen. For protecting every child’s identity ethically the teacher made initial notes about each observing them specifically, so assigning a pseudonym is important. Basic information of each child, like gender, family, age, ethnicity, place in the family, helps in the analysis in a very effective way. In this way, the generalization or assumption can be avoided, and the description of a child specifically gets the importance.
Following an ethical guideline in a child, the study is very important, like parental consent is needed, the name of the child should not be exposed in any document, parents have the right to see the results of the analysis or observation, the decisions of the parents must be respected, the information of every single one cannot be used for any other purpose or to anyone else, sensitivity in writing about the child and maintaining confidentiality.
A study about a child gets good reviews when the observations are substantial, and the information is meaningful about the selected child (Fabià, Zhou, & Llach, 2017). The more information is gathered from the observation the easier it is to identify the aspects of a child by the early childhood mentors and it is easier by the application of the theories and concepts of child development. Sampling like quantitative research, using numerical data, are the major factors which are the key factors to understand the specific behavior or skills or preferences of a child, the qualitative research includes journals, anecdotal records, running those records, jottings, learning stories and the self-reflection of children.
These details are useful for the child’s future like the knowledge level, interpersonal relationships, communication skills, and many more. There are also other types of documentation and different types of data collected (Paananen & Lipponen, 2018). However, firstly it is important to identify the child’s needs and gain observation tools that are genuine, moderate, ethical, and appropriate. The questions by which the choice of observation methods can be guided are:
Observation should be seen as an opportunity and the initiation of encouraging collaboration and communications should be done.
After the collection of the child’s substantial information about the development then an in-depth analysis or examination is undertaken, of what is seen and noticed or observed about the development to the existing thinking but the domain of developments may vary in this case (Gerhard, Zuim, Lloyd, & Rosow, 2020). Each observation must not be recorded in isolation for an analysis which is comprehensive, instead of this; the overall analysis should be done. It is important to remember that in different domains the development or the learning is interrelated. None of the developments, in no forms, can be observed in isolation because it does not even occur in isolation (Skehan, 2016). The growth of a child or the development of the same child will leave an impact on each other in the same area. For instance, the development of language influences or has an impact on cognitive development.
Child study report writing can be done in many formats, generally, it contains different sections. For instance, the report can contain these sections respectively, Introduction, Observation Analysis, and lastly the conclusion.
Introduction: This section of the report is the introduction section, this has to be brief and the content should be the information of the child, like gender, age, family background, ethnicity, position in family or sibling, the involvement of parents. The part needs to be brief but descriptive, and generalization or assumption should be avoided. The context of the child should be explained well in this part.
Observation Analysis: This section presents the data analysis, the theories that have been used specifically to understand the child, the ways the data have been analyzed, this part includes them all. The cognitive development of the child, accommodation, physical and mental development is also discussed in this part of the report. A range of development theories should be used. Course readings and guides are important in this part, and it needs to be ensured that these theories and concepts are effective for the child’s growth and development. Subsections can be used to focus on the analysis of each domain of development. The temptation will be avoided in the analysis of the record of observation.
Conclusion: This part briefly writes the key points of the report and it does the summarization, it should not contain any other new information.
To conclude, the domains of development, some theoretical perspectives, approaches to development, and learning have been covered in this course. The very own understanding has been encouraged throughout the course that has been reflected in the child study report/ The ideas bring teaching practice, being efficient to handle children and understand their specification, skills and encourage them to develop efficiently until they turn out to be matured and independent.
These studies are useful for the teachers as well as the parents that they understand their child completely, plus they understand their change and they can plan their future accordingly, after being matured the planning can be a very good proposal to the child. This writing has investigated and enlightened every possible way that can be the major key points in the development of the child.