In most parts of history, child development – which shows the different stages of the development of a child – was ignored. Children were assumed smaller versions of adults. The details in the development of a child were not keenly looked at previously. These changes are evident during childhood. The advances are also evident when an individual is an adolescent.
People started to be interested in studying more in the field of child development. However, most of the studies inclined to abnormal behavior in children. In later stages, people developed an interest in studying the various aspects of their development. They also looked at the influences on development.
There are various theories of child development that have been advanced over time. Some of them include the Psychoanalytic Child Development Theories (proposed by Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson). Others include the Cognitive Child Development Theories, Behavioral Child Development Theories, and Social Child Development Theories (by John Bowlby, Albert Bandura, and Lev Vygotsky).
As a teacher, I have had experience with the children. I have watched them develop cognitively, physically and improve in the way they use language. I have been able to identify some of the changes that constitute the child’s developmental stages and I have also been able to identify some of the things that influence their development. The theory of early childhood development that I can relate to the most as a teacher is the Social Child Development Theory.
The Social Child Development Theory shows how children learn from others. It states that the relationship that children have with their caregivers while in the early stages play a big role in their development. It also proposes that this continues to influence the child’s social relationship throughout their lifetime. Vygotsky (1978) believed that people used tools that develop culturally. They include writing and speech. They use this in their social environments. As for children, they develop these skills that are originally developed to serve social functions only. This comes with the need to communicate their needs. As they internalize these tools, they develop higher thinking skills.
The reason l can relate to this theory is because of the fact that I have noticed the differences in the behaviors and abilities of the children. On closer scrutiny, I was able to learn that the differences occurred due to the nature of their upbringing and their guardians or parents. Most, if not all of their behaviors were acquired from their parents and guardians.
Specifically, I can identify with the theory by Albert Bandura. He believed that some of the things that influence the learning process in children include intrinsic reinforcements. These include things such as accomplishment, satisfaction, and pride. Some children have a sense of pride that leads them to learn. Bandura (1977) also suggests that children learn by observing their peers or parents (guardians). This is how they develop new skills and get information. Most, if not all, of the children that I have taught and interacted with display the skills acquired as a result of interaction with peers and parents.
Child development is complex and involves transitions from one stage to another. These stages describe the way the child develops physically, cognitively and in the use of language. Theorists have suggested various theories but I identify most with Vygotsky’s Social Child Development Theory and Erikson’s contributions specifically.
Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning theory. New York, NY: General Learning Press.
Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.