Unit 2 Assignment A child develops through its whole life. They can develop; physically, linguistically, intellectually, socially and behaviourally. “Physical development is the way in which the body increases in skill and becomes more complex in its performance” [Meggitt, 2000, Page 2]. Twenty five days after conception; the body of the chid has developed immensely from the small fertilised egg. Up to birth the foetus mainly develops physically however once the child is born the child then begins the long process of development.
Not only do the gross motor skills and the fine motor skills develop on the baby, but the sensory development also widens on the child. Birth to 12 months Motor control develops from the head, moves down through the arms and the trunk and then to the legs and feet, according to an item on early development on the online magazine Parenting. Initial movements are reflexive in nature, such as turning the head to the side when the cheek is stroked, which aids in feeding. As the initial survival reflexes fade, motor skills are related to the growing ability to observe and interact with the environment.
At 3 months of age, the infant progresses to lifting the head and chest up when lying in its belly and may press up with its arms. A 3-month-old kicks its legs when lying on the belly or back, and bats at and briefly grasps toys. The World Health Organisation 1996 indicates that between 3 and 4 months, he begins rolling with belly to back first, and back to belly closer to 6 months. The following average ages of motor milestone achievement come from a 1996 study by the World Health Organisation. The average age at which infants sat without support was 6 months.
The average age for standing with support was 7. 6 months. Infants in the study crawled on hands and knees at 8. 5 months. Walking with assistance occurred at 9 months. The average age of an infant who achieved standing alone was 11 months. In regards to communication a newborn infant will cry to indicate need. They will make brief eye-contact and can often respond to high-pitch tones by moving their limbs. A month after birth the baby changes from crying to cooing and gurgling to express need. They will cry in more expressive ways to experiment and learn how to make different noises.
This is the basis in which the child will learn to speak and communicate more effectively. By the age of 3 months the child can change their tone and intensity to express a more important need such as feeding or pain. They can also become more conversational in which this is the point where the child will learn turn-taking and from this will be able to communicate at an older age with their parents or carers more effectively. When the child is 6 months old they can understand simple words such as ‘bye-bye’. They can also make gestures to support speech such as raising their arms to be picked up.
At this age they begin to progress to babbling using monosyllables and later combining these to begin forming their first words. By their first birthday the child will be able to understand the command ‘no’ and will soon imitate noises made by the environment around them and in particular the noises made by their careers. The child will also be able to point to support their language such as ‘mummy’ whilst pointing to their mum. They will also be able to say 2-6 simple words by combining their monosyllables. The child will also experiment with babbling to make up new words with no meaning. 2 months-23 months A child can walk unsupported across a room with stopping or changing direction between 13 and 15 months. Around 18 months, kicking and throwing balls, running, climbing stairs with assistance, and propelling scoot toys join the toddler’s set of mobility and play skills. Between the ages of 12-23 months the child will be able to name simple parts of their body such as head and hands, they will also be able to identify pictures such as dog, cat and car. At eighteen months the child’s vocabulary will extend to around 40 words and will be able to understand around 80 words.
Their speech extends to the holophrastic stage and often this is supported by gestures. They will also be able to recognise their own name and will be most likely be able to pronounce it. 24 months-35 months Between the ages of 2 and 3, balance improves and the toddler walks with a smoother gait. During this period she learns to stand briefly on one foot, walk backwards, and walk on tiptoes. A child jumps in place around 24 months and progresses to jumping over a small obstacle by 36 months. At 24 months she climbs a small ladder and goes down a small slide, then manoeuvres on a variety of playground equipment around 35 months.
Between 30 and 34 months, toddlers begin to walk up stairs alternating feet without a hand held or use of a railing. Other play skills expected within a few months of the third birthday are catching a playground ball that has been tossed to the child and pedalling a tricycle. At the age of 2 their language develops to the telegraphic stage meaning their speech is similar to telegrams, approximately two or three words which express a need or command. At 2 the child will often ask many questions to extend their vocabulary further, such as ‘what’s that? ’ They will share songs and rhymes however will be unsure of some words.
This changes at the age of 30 months when the child will be able to say some nursery rhymes with little support and will begin to speak to themselves (monologues) through play. Between three to seven years a child changes physically in many ways. The child becomes physically more independent and therefore allows the gift of exploration to enhance learning. 3 years Towards the end of the Childs third year they can build towers with 9 or more bricks, walk backwards and jump the steps. Also the child will gain a good spatial awareness meaning they can move around objects efficiently.
The child can also copy letters such as ‘v’, ‘h’, and ‘t’ due to the use of only straight lines. This shows the child is not yet gained accurate pencil control to attain curved letters. At the age of three a child, if another language is spoken around them will be able to become bilingual and this becomes apparent by saying hello or other simple words in another language. They can begin simple conversations however often missing out conjunctions and articles (the, and, a). They finally can use personal pronouns and plurals correctly meaning that further vocabulary has been drastically expanded. years Children of this age often take challenges to enjoy the sense of risk. [Hughes] (See appendix I) Risk enhances play and also encourages children to venture out from their normal behaviour. Risks taken often include climbing trees, making sharp turns on a tricycle and tiptoe; which are all achievable by the age of four years. When addressing fine motor skills, the child can thread small beads on to a thick lace, can hold a pencil in correct fashion and can copy the letters, ‘x’, ’v’, ’h’, ’t’ and ‘o’. A four year old child is also capable of naming four primary colours with ease.
The language development of a four year old is when many confusions are apparent. A four year old child will be confused with fact and fiction and from this will begin to ask more questions to develop a better understanding. They will be able to relay a story in which they have recently read or experienced with stating the key points however will miss out certain points of necessary information. 5 years A child of 5 years often includes rhythm in their movement whether it is dancing or running. They have good balance and many children when they reach the age of 5 can ride a bike unsupported.
They also have good co-ordination enabling more ‘exciting’ and ‘interesting’ play due to the ability to change play environments; for example outdoors, or specific games such as football. The child can also have effective pencil control allowing the opportunity to explore different letters involving curves such as ‘u’, ‘c’, ‘a’ and ‘y’. They can also use a knife and fork meaning a greater sense of independence will be achieved. [Montessori] (See appendix II) A child of five years of age will love telling jokes and riddles and will often gain an interest in reading and writing.
They will be able to recognise their name when written down and will attempt to write it with support. They can differentiate past, present and future and will be able to change words to the correct form for the context. 6 years Steward,J: http://www. stokespeaksout. org/grownups/Developing%20Pencil%20Grasp%20. Developing Pencil Grasp-2008 A child of 6 years is gaining strength and agility in their physical movements. Many children have better co-ordination and find that they participate more in activities such as hopping, skipping and throwing/catching balls accurately.
In regards to fine motor skills children can build a straight tower of cubes, can hold a pen with a dynamic tripod grasp (see left) and can write letters of a similar size such as ‘a’ and ‘o’. A child of six years will begin to speak more fluently and this is where the turn-taking takes its force. Many children of this age will be able to pronounce many of the phonetic sounds of their language and will be able to recognise these in many spoken words. This basic knowledge of phonetics is what is the scaffolding for furthering their vocabulary and learning new words. 7 years
At this age children can climb and play on apparatus with a precise skill using their outstretched arms for balance. They can control their speed when moving (running) and can swerve to avoid accidents. Their increased stamina at the age of seven allows a child to participate in more activities such as swimming or skating. Their fine motor skills are improving drastically with their written form in proportion and accurate. Letters are differentiated now and are in the correct shape. Threading is more efficient with a seven year old being able to sew using a large needle and thread.
At seven a child will be able to express themselves not only in speech but in non-verbal communication also. The development of their fine motor skills and their ability of writing letters correctly often allows the child to use the written form to express themselves. Jean Piaget’s theory on language acquisition gives a clear idea on the linguistical development of the child. Piaget states that there are four stages in which a child develops their language. These are; Sensory-motor period, Pre-operational period, Egocentrism, and the Operational period.
The sensory-motor period (Birth-2 years) states that children are born with basic schemas (sequence of cognitive actions) such as sucking. In this stage children’s language becomes egocentric meaning that they talk to themselves like monologues. The Pre-operational period happens between the ages of 2 and 7. Their schemas allow them to learn new words quickly and they begin to make telegraphic sentences such as “Ben has milk”. During this stage children will often talk about things in the future or will be able to discuss their feelings, this showing symbolic language.
Egocentrism begins towards the final year of the pre-operational stage. Egocentrism is common among many children to develop their play further. Animism is also common at the same stage as egocentrism where a child considers everything to be alive, this can include inanimate objects. Finally the operational period begins at the age of 7 and continues right through to adulthood. This stage is divided into two separate sections Chomsky’s nature theory of language development in children shows that children are born with an ability to understand language structures.
Chomsky believes that children initially possess, then develop without being affected by where they live. This is called ‘Universal Grammar’ and is inbuilt in all human language systems. This then moves on to the critical period which means that children reach a stage in which their language is high in alertness. At this point (4-5 years) children should be frequently exposed to language and if this does not happen the child’s language does not develop and the child doesn’t have a high amount of language. After the critical period has been reached it is near impossible for the child to develop their language.
There are many different types of observation types you can do when observing children. Three types I have used in my observations are: Written/Narrative: This is the most common type of observation technique. It is used to record a naturally occurring event (free description) or a structured recording, where a certain task is set, appropriate to the ability of the child. It provides a description of an event unfolding in front of you, written in past tense so that it is easy for anyone to understand what is happening. Advantages: You are using a skill which you practice every day and that is familiar to other people * Little equipment is required (timer, paper and a pen) * Little preparation needed and no formal planning is essential * The observation can be carried out at almost anytime Disadvantages: * You may not be able to explain all the events which are happening very quickly * Sometimes can prove difficult to write down all information * Observers with little experience may find themselves recording something irrelevant to the observation * May be repetitious and boring May produce a lot of information Checklists: A form is used in this observation to help the observer look for particular skills that a child has. This method is often used as part of an assessment of a child’s stage of development. It is useful to find out what stage a child is at. Particularly useful in regards to physical development. Advantages: * A quick way of presenting a great deal of information * Results are obvious and understandable * Can be repeated to access development Can be used by parents for the nursery’s benefit. Disadvantages: * Does not explain how competent a child is at that task only explains that they can do it * Does not give a clear picture Mapping: This type of observation is a short hand way of showing information about an individual or sometimes a group of children. A mapping chart can sometimes be used to see how a child uses equipment in the setting by drawing a plan of the space being used for the observation and drawing lines to show where the child has been.
Advantages: * Helpful in planning the use of equipment * Easy to show information * Can highlight likes and dislikes of certain equipment Disadvantages: * Limited use * It only shows their preferences are rarely shows developmental progress Maintaining confidentiality is essential. It is important that you ask permission to observe the child and ask if you are allowed to use the information. If a parent/carer does not wish for the child to be observed it is important that this is followed.
When completing the observation it is important that the child is unaware they are being observed this is because it will single out the child from the others and this may be stressful for the child. It is important that once the observation has been completed the observation is kept in the child’s folder in a locked cupboard so no other persons can view it. If for reasons including other professionals needing to view the observation it is important that the child’s name is not present on the form and that the parent is contacted before the information is shared.
When doing an observation it is professional if the child’s name is not present and in fact the use of ‘Child A’ for example, to be used instead. It is essential that no child’s personal information is shown on the form such as date of birth and in fact a rough age is more appropriate such as 2 years 2 months. This is so the child’s personal information is kept confidential between their key worker and the child/parent. The Data Protection Act 1998 ensures that all personal information is kept hidden and locked away in a storage area where only the specific people can access the information.
The only information held should be relevant to the aim of the observation and no information should be collected for personal use of the setting. Information should only be shared once consent has been given and this is for individual persons only. So for example another professional who will be supporting a particular child (physiotherapist, speech and language therapist, etc). In regards to confidentiality of observations parents are entitled to see the observation and under no circumstances should this entitlement be declined.
Personal views on a child should not be taken into consideration and no part knowledge of the child should be present in the observation, such as the child has improved since the last observation, as the observation should be objective. At my setting the policy about observations is when observations are carried out the practitioner is to As the child in my observations is 2 years of age, she is at the stage of physical development where she can stand on one foot, walk backwards or on tiptoes, jumping over an obstacle, cycle and climb.
These skills are all shown in my observation mapping (observation 2) as the child goes through a cycle of; running, walking, running, cycling, skipping, climbing, sitting, climbing, running, jumping and finally running again. This shows that the child is very confident about being physical in an outdoor environment. In the observation it is clear that the child takes her time getting on to the cycle or changing their skills. For example; 1:09 the child has finished on the cycle however she takes until 1:13 to skip to the next apparatus.
This may be because she may have mastered the skills needed, but she could be possibly uncertain of moving swiftly from one skill to the next. The child is showing the cycling skills of a four year old as it is a milestone of a four year old child to make sharp turns on a tricycle. The child in my observations completed two sharp turns, possibly not intentionally, and therefore this leaves the child capable of a four year olds physical skills. However, in my third observation the child cannot walk on tiptoe. This is a key milestone of a two year old and this shows that the child is not fully ble to complete all the milestones. Another milestone she couldn’t achieve was hopping on one foot. Both these skills require good balance which is something this child has still not achieved. Although the child is physically capable of normal day-to-day activities the child will fall behind physically if her balance does not develop. Observations are useful in regards to planning. For example mapping observations show a clear picture on their preferences in the setting. It shows what activities when go to and how long the child is there for.
Observations are only useful when used and evaluated on in time. This therefore allows the practitioner to plan a child’s activities to their preferences. Observations also highlight in which stage the child’s development is it and therefore shows the practitioner at what stages they should be planning for and providing the appropriate activities. Observations also highlight any learning difficulties that child may have which will highlight if any extra support is needed which therefore can be referred to the appropriate professional.
It will also highlight any problems the settings have in providing for the child for example if the child plays with no toys then it is clear that their maybe no activities the child may be interested in and therefore daily observations should be done to see if there are any activities which the child enjoys and in time the practitioners will be able to plan effectively. Finally observations can show the way a child learns so therefore it can help practitioners plan on how many children and adults should be involved in an activity which will develop one individual child’s development.
It is clear from the observations that the child is very physically capable however the planning around improving the child’s balance is vital. Without balance the child will struggle with not only complex physical movements but simple walking would prove difficult and would highly likely result in the child falling over. So it is important that the planning highlights the problem of balance and provides activities around that. An individual plan for this child would be to complete an obstacle course so many times a week, slowly using less support to improve the balance.
Providing challenging equipment for this child would allow the child to feel, when ready, to use the apparatus this therefore developing balance. In my second observation it is clear that the child likes to use a high percentage of the playground. However it is clear to see that the child does not use the sandpit or the far right side of the playground. This could be taken into consideration when planning to ensure that sand is not used to encourage development of the child because the child does not take an interest in the sandpit.
Also by completing the observations the setting can discuss with the parents the child’s preferences at the setting and find out how to implement popular objects into developing skills. Observing children can have implications on the practitioners work. It is important the practitioner is fully trained and understands how to plan, complete and evaluate observations. It is important that the right type of observation is used in the right context with a suitable amount of knowledge about confidentiality to observe.
Whilst a practitioner is observing it is likely that they will be thinking about the reliability of their observation. It is easy to miss important information when observing when you have other children as possible distractions, or other issues such as fire alarms. This then questions the reliability of the observation, how much essential information is apparent in the observation? Am I observing the child correctly? Observations are forever changing with practitioners being forever told of new ways to observe, what can’t be included in observations and the initiatives and legislation behind observations.
What is the appropriate observation technique for children. The problem I believe is that children need to be observed in different types of styles. For example, if I was working with a child who had only very basic skills I would use a checklist observation to ensure they can complete the basics however if a child is known to be more complex than a narrative type of observation is more effective as small skills can be highlighted to support their skills. On the other hand, do observations really support children’s learning?
It, as all practitioners know, is important to observe children to highlight issues with children’s development but the issue becomes a serious problem when practitioners begin to use observations to plan a child’s day at setting. One observation, if aiming to gain a complete knowledge about a child, is simply not enough. A child will act differently throughout a day at setting due to emotions, different practitioners working, different activities and being tired, so is it really appropriate to take judgements from one observation every couple of days.
In theory, effective observations should be taken 3-4 times daily, ensuring that the child has been observed in key points in the day. This therefore gives practitioners a clear idea about the child and their behaviour. But this is simply not feasible in many settings due to lack of time and staff training. Also, although practitioners should not put their own knowledge into observations it is common for practitioners to make judgements about children. One disadvantage of accessing children through observations is that you are only getting information about the child for that selected amount of time.
As stated earlier a child’s behaviour will change continuously throughout a day at setting, what i believe would be more effective would be to record a child’s behaviour throughout the whole day and then after a certain amount of time, e. g. a week, another recording is taken. This information can then be compared giving more information about the child. At my setting, it is clear that they are using both current and older theories in their work with children.
The two theories I highlighted earlier are specifically used in the foundation stage whilst considering the critical period of 4-5 year olds, it is clear that the practitioners focus on language in the early years units of primary schools. I believe that Chomsky’s theory of critical period is very important in practice and often by the time the children reach the year 1 stage they are very fluent in both written and spoken language. Bibliography Meggitt, C. and Sunderland, G. (2000) Child development: an illustrated guide. Heinemann Educational. Hobart,C (1999) A practical guide to Child Observation and Assessment. nd Edition. Nelson Thornes ltd Harding, J. and Meldon-Smith, L. (2000) How to make observations and assessments. 2nd edn. London: Hodder and Stoughton. Baldwin, M (2003) The Data Protection Act 1998- The summary http://www. dpa. lancs. ac. uk/summary. htm, Lancaster University http://www. little-learners-childcare. co. uk/PlayworkTheories. aspx: Playwork Theories, Line 6:26 http://www. dailymontessori. com/montessori-theory/: Montessori Theory, Line 9:15 Piaget, J(2001) The language and thought of the child. Routledge LTD Bailey, D (2000) Critical thinking about Critical periods. Brookes Publishing Co
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