The environment plays a significant role in the physical development of children in middle childhood. Exposure to diverse environmental settings results in children acquiring various skills. Additionally, it is during middle childhood that kids start to assume duties in their families. Scholars regard middle childhood (Ages between 6 and 12 years) as critical since it is the time that children start schooling.
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The period is also vital because it forms the base for kids’ adult life. The majority of the existing studies do not focus on the developmental changes that occur in middle childhood. Instead, most scholars pay attention to other stages of life such as puberty, early childhood, and infancy. In middle childhood, kids are exposed to diverse settings and social interactions, which present them with a myriad of developmental challenges.
Interaction with peers at school results in kids exhibiting different behaviors. Kids who are exposed to harsh conditions like harassment may become aggressive. Family composition also plays a critical role in physical development. Kids brought up in unstable families become hostile. They also develop negative perceptions about marriages. Theories by Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget view middle childhood as a unique developmental phase for kids.
Sigmund maintains that children consolidate psychosexual accomplishments of past years and develop diverse skills during middle childhood. He also argues that the environment helps children to interpret and improve interpersonal relationships. Jean Piaget explains that kids acquire cognitive abilities in middle childhood. Exposure to unusual circumstances enables kids to develop problem-solving skills and reasoning abilities. The minds of kids aged between 6 and 12 are rational and work systematically. Indeed, the realization of intellectual competence is a significant psychological accomplishment amid kids in middle childhood.
The environment plays a significant role in child development. Children do not only learn from their parents but also the environment around them. Imbalances at school, home, neighborhood, and at daycare may have significant effects on the physical development of a child. One of the stages where the environment plays a great role in physical development in middle childhood. The primary goal of this study is to determine the role of school and family environment as factors that influence growth in an individual in middle childhood.
The objectives of the study include;
- To determine the role of the environment in the development of a child in middle childhood.
- To determine if the environment influences the degree of aggressiveness of a child in middle childhood.
- To determine if the environment affects cognitive function and neural development of an individual in childhood.
The hypothesis for this study is that school and family environments impact a person’s development in middle childhood.
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The middle childhood refers to the age between 6 and 12 years. According to Bjorklund and Ellis (2014), this age bracket is critical because it is the stage when children experience significant development. Kids are said to acquire new capabilities at this age and start to assume duties not only in their families but also in communities. Historically, in most societies, the age of 6 marked the period when kids transitioned into the world of adulthood and assumed responsibilities in their families.
The introduction of education, coupled with changes in perceptions about family, has led to children aged between 6 and 12 not partaking in duties designated for adults. Bjorklund and Ellis (2014) aver that the ages of 6-12 are unique compared to other stages because they comprise the initial school years. It is imperative to understand the forces that influence physical development amid kids in this age bracket as it forms the foundation of their adult life.
One should appreciate that developmental transformation is constant, therefore difficult to split into specific age periods. Nonetheless, the prevalent cultural delineation of a phase almost matching ages 6-12 triggers essential questions regarding the traits of kids in this age group (Ruthus, 2014). The majority of the existing studies pay limited attention to the developmental changes that arise in middle childhood. It is imperative to appreciate that different age-related transformation and abilities characterize this period.
In middle childhood, kids are exposed to new environments and subjected to pressures, which present them with diverse developmental challenges. Children get an opportunity to join a school where they meet with kids from different cultural and family backgrounds. School entry depicts a novel set of social connections with other children and adults. In return, school influences and experiences play a significant role in the physical growth of a child. Peer influence results in children acquiring new characters (Elsaesser, Gorman-Smith, & Henry, 2013). For instance, some kids become aggressive if exposed to harsh conditions by their colleagues at school.
Family composition also influences physical development in middle childhood (Dubois-Comtois, Moss, Cyr, & Pascuzzo, 2013). Kids brought up in unstable families (where parents fight or divorce) develop negative perspectives regarding marriage and become violent.
The existing studies that focus on children aged between 6 and 12 cover numerous disciplines that include medicine, sociology, and psychology. However, there is limited research on this age group compared to other groups like teenage, early childhood, and formative years (Newman & Newman, 2015). Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget advance two views that regard middle childhood as a unique developmental period (Newman & Newman, 2015). According to theory by Sigmund Freud, kids consolidate psychosexual attainments of past years and develop diverse skills at the age of 5 or 6 (Newman & Newman, 2015).
The majority of the scholars misconstrue Sigmund’s depiction of this period as latent to imply that it is insignificant. They argue that the psychosexual happenings of past and later years reflect more vividly in psychoanalytic contemplation (Newman & Newman, 2015). Erik Erikson builds on Sigmund’s theory. He alleges that kids develop a sense of hard work in middle childhood (Newman & Newman, 2015). The environment helps children to interpret and develop interpersonal relationships in middle childhood. Unfortunately, the theories by Sigmund and Erikson have not been widely used in studies regarding child development in middle childhood. Nevertheless, ideas from the theories are used to study social relations amid kids in their early school years.
Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development holds that kids develop cognitive abilities in middle childhood (Lecce, Bianco, Devine, Hughes, & Banerjee, 2014). Exposure to diverse environmental settings helps them to develop reasoning abilities and acquire problem-solving skills. Lecce et al. (2014) state that while preschool kids are attached to tangible and readily discernible features of tasks, the judgments of children in middle childhood are rational and more methodical.
According to the theory, the principal psychological achievements in middle childhood are in the sphere of intellectual ability. The majority of the studies that rely on this theory seek to comprehend the rational model of mental functioning. Scholars who leverage the theory view a child at particular junctures of growth as a powerful, integrating creature that is in constant interaction with the surroundings.
This report used peer-reviewed journals to bridge the existing gap in the research on the impacts of school and family on physical development in middle childhood. The study found that school experience influenced the level of aggression among children in middle childhood. Conversely, the family played a significant role in the cognitive and neural development of children. Kids who assumed responsibilities developed problem-solving skills. The principal conclusion of the study was that school and family played a critical role in physical development in middle childhood.
Bjorklund, D., & Ellis, B. (2014). Children, childhood, and development in evolutionary perspective. Developmental Review, 34(3), 225-264.
Dubois-Comtois, K., Moss, E., Cyr, C., & Pascuzzo, K. (2013). Behavior problems in middle childhood: The predictive role of maternal distress, child attachment, and mother-child interactions. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41(8), 1311-1324.
Elsaesser, C., Gorman-Smith, D., & Henry, D. (2013). The role of the school environment in relational aggression and victimization. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(2), 235-249.
Lecce, S., Bianco, F., Devine, R., Hughes, C., & Banerjee, R. (2014). Promoting theory of mind during middle childhood: A training program. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 126(1), 52-67.
Newman, B., & Newman, P. (2015). Development through life: A psychosocial approach (13th ed.). London, UK: Cengage Learning.
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Ruthus, S. (2014). Childhood and Adolescence: Voyages in Development (5th ed.). London, UK: Cengage Learning.