The Play Years - Austin Community College

The Play Years
Biosocial Development for ages
2 to 6
Three primary factors
influencing physical growth
• Genetic Background
• Health care
• Nutrition
– this factor accounts for differences in size of
children between rich and poor nations
Dietary issues
• For all preschoolers, rate of growth slows
during this developmental stage
• This results in intake of fewer calories
• How these calories are used becomes an
important issue for developing bodies
Dietary issues for US children
• Iron deficient anemia
– related to low intake of iron rich foods: leafy
vegetables, raisins and other dried fruits,
whole grains, eggs, high quality meats
• Too much sugar intake
• Too much fat intake
• Too little fruit and vegetable intake
Experience and the Brain
• Rapid rate of myelination of neurons
occurs at this stage
• Increasing neural connections due to
• Specific areas of brain expanding relating
to emotions, motor functioning, and
• Corpus callosum increases in size at age 5
Improved brain functioning
• These physical developments allow
preschoolers greater control of emotions,
muscle coordination, and reaction time
• Corpus Callosum growth allows
hemispheres of brain better
communication and the child can
successfully involve both hemispheres in
coordination,sensory, emotion, thinking
and reaction tasks
Readiness for Reading and Math
• Development of hemispheres and
increased myelenation also aids with the
visual pathway, strengthening cognitive
abilities to recognize symbols while
improving eye-hand coordination and
enabling effective writing
• These changes occur simultaneous to
reading, writing, and math instruction in
Implications for learning
• While maturation makes reading, math and
writing tasks salient to the child, early
exposure to rich language, literature and
math concepts are recommended
• Educational programs which keep
activities at the appropriate developmental
stage will increase motivation by providing
early successful academic experiences
Injury control
• Preventing injuries by planning ahead,
controlling circumstances, preventing
certain dangerous activities and adding
safety features to other activities
regulation of child proof safety caps
car seat laws
mandatory fencing around pools
helmets worn by cyclists
flame-retardant sleep wear
Mastering Gross Motor Skills
• Learned by teaching themselves and from
other children, rather than through adult
Children’s Art
Expresses symbolic understanding
Requires fine motor coordination
Enhances feelings of accomplishment
Provides a medium for self-correction
Detail in drawings parallel cognitive
• Encourages expression of self
Child Maltreatment
• Abuse: any action harmful to an
individual’s well-being
• Neglect: any inaction that harms or
endangers a person
• both terms include either physical and/or
psychological harm
• Maltreatment: any intentional harm or
endangerment to anyone under 18 years
Cultural Values that protect
children from Maltreatment
• Children are not held responsible for their
• Children are highly valued
• Children are not the sole responsibility of
• Aggression of any kind is frowned upon
Family contextual factors
contributing to maltreatment
• Poverty
• Social Isolation
Possible Consequences of
Slower to talk
Less able to concentrate
Delayed academic growth
Negative perception of others
Use of drugs
Enter poor relationships
Possible Consequences of
Become aggressors or victims
Sabbotage their careers
Establish unhealthy eating patterns
Engage in self-destructive behavior
Intergenerational Transmission
• A destructive and inaccurate assumption
that children who are abused will abuse
their own children
• Between 30% and 40% do become abusers,
but the majority do not
• This is a higher rate than the majority
• Adults who have processed and healed
their own abuse are less likely to abuse
Public Policies that may Prevent
• Primary Prevention:
– Build neighborhoods that support children and
families (both financially and relationally)
– Encourage planned parenthood
– Encourage building of communities
– Close the gap between rich and poor