© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
1
Learning About
Children
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Key Terms
• child-centered
society
• socialize
• culture
• character
• development
• child development
• individual life cycle
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
heredity
environment
genes
genetics
neurons
wiring
axons
dendrites
continued
Key Terms
• synapse
• pruning
• window of
opportunity
• plasticity
• developmental
acceleration
• developmental
delay
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
• principles of growth
and development
• sequenced steps
• teachable moment
• developmental tasks
• direct observation
• indirect observation
Objective
• List reasons for learning about
children.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Why Study Children?
• Understand
yourself
• Be a responsible
parent
• Protect children’s
rights
• Work with
children
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Children Need Safe
Environments
• Homes and schools that promote
health and well-being
• A child-centered society
– sees children as important
– cares about their well-being
– works to meet their needs
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
To Be a Responsible Parent
• Physical needs
– food, clothing, shelter
– physical protection
– proper health and medical care
• Intellectual needs
– positive learning experiences
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
To Be a Responsible Parent
• Social needs
– socialize children
– teach children about their culture
– help children develop character
• Trust needs
• Love and guidance needs
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Children’s Rights
• An identity
• A family
• Express
themselves and
have access to
information
• A safe, healthy life
• Special protection
in times of war
• An education
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
• Special care for the
disabled
• Protection from
discrimination
• Protection from
abuse
• Protection from
harmful work
• Special treatment
if arrested
Objective
• Define the term child development.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
What Is Child Development?
• Development is the gradual process
through which babies become adults
• Child development is the scientific
study of children from conception to
adolescence
• The individual life cycle is a
description of the stages of change
people experience throughout life
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Objective
• Summarize the
six stages of the
individual life
cycle that
involve children.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Individual Life Cycle—
Childhood Stages
• Prenatal stage: conception to birth
• Neonatal stage: birth through the
second week
• Infancy stage: two weeks through
the first birthday
• Toddler stage: 12–36 months
• Preschool stage: 3–6 years
• School-age stage: 6–12 years
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Objective
• Describe three factors that promote
growth and development.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Factors That Influence
Growth and Development
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Heredity
• Heredity includes traits passed to a
child from blood relatives
• Genes are sections of the DNA
molecule
– found in cells
– determine traits
• Genetics is the study of heredity
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Heredity
• The genes’ instructions are lifelong
• Genes affect some parts of growth
and development more than others
• Some genes determine whether a
person will have a trait
• Other genes affect the range of a trait
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Environment
• Physical conditions are part of the
environment
– food, rest
• Environments shape experiences
• Relationships with others are part of
the environment
• Environments affect physical,
intellectual, and social-emotional traits
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Heredity and Environment
Combined
• Genes and the environment work
together
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Objective
• Explain how brain
development
occurs.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Basic Wiring
• Neurons are brain cells that direct
various tasks of the brain
• Wiring is a network of fibers that
carry signals between neurons
• Axons are cables that transmit
signals from a neuron to other
neurons
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Basic Wiring
• Dendrites are cables that allow each
neuron to receive signals sent by
other neurons
• Synapse is a gap between neurons
across which electrical impulses can
be transmitted
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Heredity and Environment
Interact
• Heredity and environment work
together to develop the brain
• Rich sensory experiences enhance
brain development
– create new dendrites
• Pruning is the process in which the
brain weeds out unused pathways
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Windows of Opportunity
• Genes control the order and timetable
of brain development
• Each region of the brain has a specific
function
– develop at various rates
• Windows of opportunity occur
– prime period for developing a specific skill
– may overlap
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Brain Plasticity
• Plasticity
lessens with age
– early years are
crucial
• Plasticity can
have positive
and negative
effects on brain
development
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Brain Plasticity
• Interaction with
loving adults
engaged in daily
tasks and familytype activities
• Choices in what
and how to learn
• Time to practice
and master skills
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Brain Plasticity
• The infant and toddler years are times
of great brain activity and learning
• Some children need early professional
intervention to overcome obstacles to
healthy brain development
• Good early environments provide the
best foundation for development and
promote resiliency
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
What Do You Think?
• Do you think most families know
what best supports brain
development in young children? Why
or why not?
• Do academic exercises, such as
computer programs for infant
learning, support brain development
in young children? Why or why not?
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Objective
• Identify
differences in
the rate of
growth and
development.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Differences in the Rate of
Growth and Development
• Growth and development occurs in
expected sequences
– stages
• Children enter and leave stages at
different rates
– developmental acceleration
– developmental delay
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Differences in the Rate of
Growth and Development
• Children do not advance in all areas
at the same rate
• Children may be accelerated or
delayed in one or more areas
• Children may be accelerated in one
area and delayed in another
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Objective
• Explain and give
examples of some
major principles
and theories of
growth and
development.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Principles of Growth and
Development
• Principles of growth and
development do not fit every
person exactly
• Key principles
– constant
– gradual and continuous
– sequenced steps
– different rates
– interrelated
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Growth and Development
Are Constant
• Many aspects of growth and
development are unchanging
– constancy
• Traits controlled by heredity do not
change
• People often live in the same
environment for many years
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Growth and Development Are
Gradual and Continuous
• Changes happen in little, unbroken
steps
• Positive aspects
– development does not reverse overnight
– if development is delayed, may occur
later in life
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Growth and Development Are
Gradual and Continuous
• Negative aspects
– poor growth and development are not
easily reversed
– a delay because of environmental issues
may need intervention
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Growth and Development
Happen in Sequenced Steps
• Change must build
on what children
have already learned
• Steps in growth and
development follow
one another in
sequenced steps
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Growth and Development
Happen in Sequenced Steps
• A teachable moment occurs when
– the body and mind are physically ready
– caregivers offer encouragement
– the child feels a strong desire to learn
• Children feel stressed if pushed to
learn before the teachable moment
• Waiting too long after a teachable
moment may cause problems
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Growth and Development
Happen at Different Rates
• Both fast and slow periods of growth
and development occur
– intense growth in infancy, slower in
middle school
• Rates of growth and development
vary from one child to another
– sequence is similar
– differ due to heredity, environment,
and motivation
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Growth and Development
Happen at Different Rates
• Heredity determines different growth
rates
• Children need a good environment to
grow at the best rate
– lags may occur if environment is lacking
– hurrying a child may cause stress
• Some children are more motivated to
grow and achieve than others
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Growth and Development
Are Interrelated
• All aspects of growth and
development interact in complex ways
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Theories of Growth and
Development
•
•
•
•
•
Erik Erikson (1902–1994)
Jean Piaget (1896–1980)
Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934)
Robert J. Havighurst (1900–1991)
Abraham Maslow (1908–1970)
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Havighurst’s Theory of
Developmental Tasks
• Mastery of skills and activities that fit
level of growth and development
• Failure to achieve developmental
tasks leads to unhappiness and
problems with later tasks
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Havighurst’s Theory of
Developmental Tasks
• Developmental
tasks come from
three sources
– physical growth
– social pressures
– inner pressures
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human
Needs
• Development is a result of meeting
personal needs
• People work to fulfill basic needs and
higher-level needs
• Lower-level needs must be met
before higher-level needs can be
pursued
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human
Needs
• Physical needs
– air, water, food, clothing, shelter
• Security
– need to feel safe in surroundings
• Love and acceptance
– need for support, assurance, praise,
acceptance
• Esteem
– need to be liked and accepted
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human
Needs
• Selfactualization
– all needs
have been
fulfilled to
some degree
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Objective
• Develop observation skills.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Observing Children
• Observation is the oldest, most
common, and best way to learn
about human behavior
• Observing adults who work with
children provide a model
• Many observational skills are learned
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Why Observe Children?
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Ways to Observe
• Direct observation means watching
children in natural environments
• Indirect observation includes
gathering information about children
from various sources
– questioning parents, teachers, children
– examining children’s products, such as
artwork or writings
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Guidelines for Observing
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Know your objectives
Obtain permission to observe
Know what to do at the site
Ask questions at convenient times
Do not distract children from activities
Observe carefully and objectively
Record accurately
Protect the rights of all observed
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
continued
Guidelines for Observing
• Protect rights
– subject
– observer
• List behaviors to
follow
• Help make
observations
meaningful
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
What Would You Do?
• You are working in a child care
facility caring for 10 five-year-olds
• One child cries every day when
transitioning from free play to lunch
How could you use observation to
address this problem?
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• axons. Long, thick cables that transmit
all the signals from a neuron to other
neurons.
• character. Principles and beliefs that
guide one’s conduct and define one’s
personality and behavior.
• child-centered society. Society that
sees children as important, cares about
their well-being, and works to meet
their needs.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• child development. Scientific study of
children from conception to
adolescence.
• culture. Way of life within a group that
includes language, beliefs, attitudes,
values, rituals, and skills.
• dendrites. Short, bushy cables that
allow each neuron to receive signals
sent by other neurons.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• development. Gradual process of
growth through many stages, such as
before birth, infancy, childhood,
adolescence, and adulthood.
• developmental acceleration. When a
child performs like an older child.
• developmental delay. When a child
performs like a younger child.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• developmental tasks. Skills that
should be mastered at a certain stage
in life.
• direct observation. Watching children
in their natural environments.
• environment. Sum of all the
conditions and situations that surround
and affect a child’s growth and
development.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• genes. Sections of the DNA molecule
found in a person’s cells that determine
the individual traits the person will
have.
• genetics. Study of the factors involved
in the passing of traits from one
generation of living beings to the next.
• heredity. Sum of all the traits that are
passed to a child from blood relatives.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• indirect observation. Observation
done by methods other than watching
children, including asking other people
questions about the children and
observing the products children make.
• individual life cycle. Description of
the stages of change people experience
throughout life.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• neurons. Brain cells that send and receive
electrical impulses amongst each other to
direct the various tasks of the brain.
• plasticity. Ability of the brain to be
shaped and reshaped, which is greatest
early in life.
• principles of growth and development.
Statements of the general patterns in
which growth and development take place
in people.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• pruning. Process of weeding out
underused or weak pathways between
neurons.
• sequenced steps. Steps in growth and
development that follow one another in
a set order.
• socialize. To train a child to live as part
of a group, such as the family, culture,
or society.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• synapse. Tiny gap between a dendrite
of one neuron and the axon of another
across which electrical impulses can be
transmitted.
• teachable moment. Time when a
person can learn a new task because
the body is physically ready, caregivers
encourage and support, and the child
feels a strong desire to learn.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Glossary of Key Terms
• window of opportunity. Prime period
in a child’s life for developing a
particular skill if given the opportunity.
• wiring. Network of fibers that carry
brain signals between neurons.
© Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.