Essay On Holistic Development Of A Child

Introduction

"Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth" (Ginsberg, 2007, p. 182). Play is so important to children's development is that it has been recognised as being of vital importance by the United Nations (1989), as it makes a contribution to the holistic development of children, allowing them to discover the world through experimenting within the various environments to which they are exposed (Bruce, 1996). Ginsberg (2007) makes the observation that all those involved with children's development, learning and education must consider every factor which has the potential to interfere with children realising their full potential, and to work towards ensuring that every child has access to circumstances which allow them opportunities to reap the benefits that are linked with play. The aim of this essay is to investigate the notion of play in the light of learning theories, in order to determine its importance in children's development during their early years.

Definition of Play

It is important to recognise that it is difficult to give a single definition of play (Lillemyr, 2009) and that it is regarded as an all embracing term (Bruce, 1991) which describes a diverse range of behaviours which see children interacting with each other (Dunn, 1993) in order to make sense of, and to enhance their understanding of, the environments in which they find themselves (Bruce, 1996; Wood, 2004). Play can be regarded as the means through which children are able to discover things about the world in order to amend their vision of it (Oko, 1987, p. 44 in Bozena, 2007, p. 80), as well as an avenue through which children can experience joy and/or recreation (Buhler, 1993, p. 91 in Bozena, 2007, p. 80). Play is an opportunity for children to develop a sense of self as a result of solving problems within their environment, which allows them to enhance their cognitive skills in the context of specific cultural environment/environments (Dunn, 1993; Meadows, 1993; Bruce, 1996; Gallahue and Ozman, 1998; Wood, 2004; Robson, 2006). Froebel (cited in Bruce, 2004, p. 132) believes that it provides children with opportunities to utilise their newly accumulated knowledge in different situations which encourages them to adopt flexible attitudes and ways of thinking, as well as providing them with opportunities to practice and understand societal 'norms' and their role in specific environments (Rogoff, 2003). Play also affords children the opportunity to discover the difference between fantasy and reality, safety and risk, order and anarchy and to grasp the concept of potential in themselves for the future (Wood and Attfield, 2005). It is a vital component in children's physical, social, emotional and intellectual development (Elkind, 2008) which allows children to utilise their imagination whilst enhancing their communication skills through engaging in a number of different roles, depending upon their environment and the environment in which any specific interaction is taking place (Eddington, 2004).

Value/Importance for Development

The value and importance of play is the motivation behind recent developments with regard to Early Years education in the form of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) documentation (Department for Education [DfE], 2014). The notion of child centred education is built upon the acknowledgement that every individual child is unique and is entitled to have their needs met through the careful design of activities which allow them to develop commensurate with their ability, as a result of encouraging positive relationships with all around them in order that learners become competent, self-confident and self-reliant people (DfE, 2014). The ability to communicate is critical to children's development - the government stipulate that those responsible for providing children's education must create opportunities for children to acquire language and communication skills through play, such that they are able to express themselves in a variety of different ways (language, gesture) and they are able to accumulate information as a result of reading and listening to others (DfE, 2014). This stipulation is a direct result of the Rose Report (2009), which highlighted the fact that curriculum provision should have explicit reference to the purposes of play and that the activities designed to promote it should be meticulously planned. Rose (2009) also stressed that children needed to engage not only in individual play but also in paired/group activities, so that language development and acquisition could be encouraged whilst simultaneously learning to cooperate with each other (endorsed by Coates & Thomson, 2009) and developing an understanding of the value of good behaviour. It is vital for practitioners to recognise that play is not some form of break from the curriculum; it is an opportunity for children to develop their physical and cognitive abilities for the 21st century (Moyles, 2010) and is an authentic means of implementing the school curriculum (Action Alliance for Children, 2007; Moyles, 2010). The notion that play enables children to enhance the skills is put forward by Hughes (2006), who contends that there are a large number (up to 16) of different types of play, including movement and discovery which involves the exploration of the environment and the use of language (endorsed by Ginsberg, 2007; Singer et al., 2006; Bateson, 2005). Other scholars such as Manning-Morton and Thorp (2003) and Burghardt (2005) emphasise the multipurpose nature of play in that children are able to use play as a means for learning through practising skills for the future, tackling and solving problems, as well as a means through which they develop their methods of communicating with those around them. A critical factor in any child's development is feeling safe within the boundaries of any environment to which they are exposed; a number of writers (Moore and Russ, 2006; Russ, 2004; Sayeed and Guerin, 2000) allude to the fact that children must feel safe and relaxed in order to play with freedom and that play in itself allows children to relax, which has a beneficial effect on their emotional outlook (Russ, 2004). This 'safety' element can be achieved through practitioners building upon children's experiences within the home environment, which can then lead on to opportunities for progression and extension through challenge (Department for Children, Schools and Families [DCSF], 2009). Critical to the learning process is the careful design of activities which take advantage of children's innate ability to enjoy play and the fact that playing "… engages children's bodies, minds and emotions" (DCSF, 2009, p. 10). Furthermore, through this process children are able to learn the skills associated with successful interaction with others in order to be part of a community, to experience and to manage their feelings/emotions and to develop confidence in themselves and their abilities (DCSF, 2009). Play provides opportunities for children to develop positive attitudes towards learning, in that they are able to develop their interests, be creative and experimental, to be critically thoughtful (Trevlas et al, 2003; Hurvitz, 2003) as well as developing resilience and the ability to work alongside others as a part of the educative process (DCSF, 2009).

Play and Learning Theory

The most important point about play is that it is active in nature. This active pursuit of knowledge was stressed by Piaget, who emphasised children's ability to construct their own knowledge as individuals (Moore, 2000) through exploring their environment (Phillips and Soltis, 1998) in order to make sense of it (Wyse, 2004). Having scientifically studied children (May, 2013), Piaget put forward the notion that children develop in distinctive stages - sensorimotor (birth to 2 years), preoperational (2 to 6 years), concrete operational (7 to adolescence) and formal operational (adolescence to adulthood) - and that play becomes more complex as learners mature (for example, sensorimotor/practice play, preoperational/symbolic, pretend and fantasy play [Krause et al., 2003]). He also stated that as children came upon new experiences and knowledge, they added them to their existing knowledge base (assimilation) prior to being able to employ this new knowledge (accommodation), thus enhancing their cognitive abilities (Curtis and O'Hagen, 2003). Piaget (1973) believed that children were only able to gain a true understanding of knowledge as a result of this process of discovery, which enables them to be innovative and flexible as opposed to learning in a mechanistic way. These constructivist principles were shared by Vygotsky, although his emphasis was on social and collective learning as opposed to learning as an individual. It was his belief that interaction with others was a key element in enabling children to learn (Buchan, 2013, Daly et al., 2004), and that learning was a social process. Vygotsky contended that the development of children's communication and language skills relied upon their being allowed to experience the world around them in the company of others in a social context, which lead learners to an understanding of how to behave and how to control themselves in specific contexts (John-Steiner et al., 2010). This social aspect of learning is borne out by observations of children who imitate the actions of others without understanding, until such time as they are able to initiate actions for themselves [which is indicative of their level of comprehension] (Vygotsky, 1978). Vygotsky took this notion of learning from others a stage further when he stated that there was a difference between what children are able to do alone and what they can achieve with the help of more experienced others, labelling this difference the 'Zone of Proximal Development' [ZPD] (Pound, 2005). He firmly believed that every interactive process in which learners engage, irrespective of the environment in which it takes place, provides them with opportunities to develop their language and thinking skills (Whitehead, 2010). Furthermore, Vygotsky (1978) commented that play was the best and most effective means of preschool development as it enabled children to develop their skills through interaction.

Play and Current Early Years Practice

As highlighted above, the current provision as laid out within the EYFS (DfE, 2014) documentation places the child at the centre of the learning process with a specific emphasis on play, which encourages the development of communication, language and literacy skills. There are three prime areas of learning (communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development) and four specific areas which supplement the prime areas (literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design). It is the responsibility of individual practitioners, and indeed settings in general, to consider the individual needs and stage of development for each individual in their care. Activities within classrooms must be planned to ensure equality of access for all, irrespective of their background or ability and they should be designed to engage learners in purposeful play which is both child initiated and adult led. The balance between these two types of play is of extreme importance. Children can learn by leading their own play and allowing their needs and interests to guide their activities. However, whilst responding to individual children in a positive and warm manner, it is critical that there is a gradual movement towards activities which are more adult led, in order to prepare them for more formal learning as they enter Year 1 (DfE, 2014). Play should provide children with opportunities to explore and express their feelings, to develop relationships with others, to make decisions, choices and errors whilst being respected and valued as individuals; they need to be encouraged to develop self-discipline whilst retaining their ability to be imaginative and creative in solving problems (Bruce, 1987 cited in Early Years Interboard Panel, n.d., p. 7)

Conclusion

Play is central to the development of children in their early years. It provides a platform through which children are able to learn about themselves and the world around them through interacting with it. It allows children to have fun while they are learning, and to engage with those around them as a part of the process of learning, which not only deepens their knowledge base but also provides them with life skills such as the ability to communicate and work effectively with others. Play has been recognised as a central element within the education system which allows children to blossom through interacting with and learning from those around them. It is "… essential for children's development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and to relate to others" (DfE, 2014, p. 9).

References

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Every child is unique, all children are different no child is the same so this means that all children will grow and develop at different speeds and different rates. Meggitt (2006 p1) states “developmental norms are sometimes called milestones – they describe the recognised pattern of development that children are expected to follow. Each child will develop in a unique way”. Holistic development sees a child as a whole person it sees all the child’s areas of development.

Each area of development that children will develop in, are dependent on one another they interconnect. Even though there are different areas of development and people see them as different areas, they are interconnected to one another or a child would not develop. So when a child progresses in one area, this will indefinitely effect progress in another area so if something when wrong in one area of development, say physical this will have effect on all the other areas social, emotional, intellectual and language.

There are also many things that will have influence on a child’s development, teachers, parents, observations and the environment I am now going to talk about these below. Role of the teacher A teacher has a major role of a child holistic development. They will help all the children in there care with all areas of there development. A teacher can help children with any part of their development weather this be physical social etc.

I think that a teacher is a very important part of a child’s development, as ezinarticles (2010) says “We can say that parents and teachers play a very important role in shaping child’s future. ” A teacher will help a child with their mental and physiological development, but not only do they help with this but they also help with children learning about table manners, unity, team work and sharing which a child needs to learn in their life and can be sometimes they can be the more important things in life to make the child a better and friendly person.

To help children with their development teachers have the early years foundation stage to follow Direct Gov. say that the early years foundation stage is (direct. gov 2011) “Schools and early year’s providers have to follow a structure of learning, development and care for children from birth to five years old. This is called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and it enables your child to learn through a range of activities” The foundation stage is split up in to four themes these themes are learning and development, positive relationships, enabling environment and unique child.

The learning and development theme is split in to six sections language, communication and literacy, problem solving, reasoning and numeracy, creative, physical personal social and emotional knowledge and understanding of the world. The teachers will follow this to help them with planning activities to help a child development on a whole. The EYFS other themes are equally as important as learning and development. Positive relationships are about the teaching make good and professional relationships with both the children in their class and the children’s parents/guardians.

By the teachers in the class showing good and respectful relationships with both them the staff in the class and their parents this will encourage the children to do the same. The unique child’s is also equally as important as the other areas of the EYFS. This theme is all about the children and caring for them as they need to be cared for at a young age, not to discriminate them on their race, age, disability culture, also to keep them as safe as possible in the class and in the school.

It very important to also take in to consideration as child’s wellbeing and health. Enabling environments when a child comes in to school in the morning they want to feel comfortable and relaxed so by setting up an environment that will help this will help the child. Enabling environment is also about observations using observations to evaluate and form assessments for the children. Sometimes as an early years teacher when it comes to a child development they only want what is best for the child to help them with their development.

One implication that a teacher could find could be with the parents, if the parents refuse for the teachers to help the children with their development as some parents think they always know what is best for the child, which they are there parents and know the children the best but not always there development, so it is very important that us as early years teachers keep the parents involved in their child’s development.

We can do this in many ways some of these are observations, photos, work they have done, chats. A teacher will have a major influence on a child holistic development in all different ways. They will help with a child’s behaviour by setting examples of what behaviour is right and wrong in their classroom and showing praise for good behaviour and discipline for bad behaviour.

A classroom environment can have also have an effect on a child’s holistic development, by the teacher knowing the children they will be able to set up and environment that the children will like and enjoy and feel welcome in the teachers can do this by asking the children what they would like in their classroom as using a few of the children ideas around the classroom, this will make the children feel a lot more welcome as they will feel that they have made a contribution to the classroom area.

This will have an effect on a child’s development (National Strategies 2008) states “Create an indoor environment that is reassuring and comforting for all children, while providing interest through novelty from time to time”. By creating an enabling environment where children feel welcomed they are more likely to use it and develop within it. It’s not just the class room where teachers can create this, the outdoors is where children learn and develop and explore when there young so by bringing the children’s interests outside too it will help them develop a whole lot more.

For example if the children were really in to dinosaurs you could adapt on this to make the children’s learning more fun, helping them with all areas of their development through dinosaurs, they can draw dinosaurs – creative development, count dinosaurs spots – cognitive development, see how dinosaurs lived – social and emotional development, dinosaurs role play area. Create and area outside with trees a dinosaurs habitat and let the children create it with the teacher, so they are fully involved there are loads of different games and learning opportunities that you can create from children’s interest.

By doing this it mean that the children will be interested in learning and being involved therefore learning and developing a whole lot more. The role that teachers have with a child language development is important in an early years setting. The teachers will follow the letters and sounds frame which works along with the early years foundation stage. The letters and sounds documentation is used in many early years foundations stages to help the children learn their letters and sounds; it uses many different strategies like jolly phonics. Letters-and-sounds 2010) “It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. ” This piece of documentation that has come in recently to help children learn the letters and the sounds of the letters. It will help the children to read and write not only that but it will help with their social skills talking to other people getting the letter sounds right.

Physical development has become more and more important in schools because of the growing rate of childhood obesity, so the role of the teacher in physical education has become more important than ever. Children learn through physical development as they like to look around and explore as the early years foundation stage states (EYFS 2008) “Babies and young children are born with a deep interest in people and with a drive to find out about their world.

Their search for meaning is an active process as they seek to understand how people behave and communicate, how objects work and what can be done with them, and how space can be used” children are always active when in school whether this be using there fine motor skills by writing or using their gross motor skills outside playing on the bikes. Children have needs to be active and it is important for them to be active to have a healthy lifestyle.

By children being active this is where they learn about their world as there are fascinated by it roaming around on a field looking for snails and slugs children need to do this to learn about the things in their environment. Furthermore outside physical development is just as important as young children love to run about so it is important for the teacher in their role to plan activities for the outside. It states in the document every child outdoors, (every child outdoors 2010) “Nature is a major motivating factor for exercise.

There is very strong evidence that being outdoors is the most powerful correlate of physical activity, particularly in pre-school children” Social and emotional development are closely linked together so when teachers are developing children in these area the teacher will link these two together. Children will develop their social and emotional development by going to school and making friends. It is important for the teacher to build a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

A child cognitive development is learned through all the other reas of development, as is their language development they will learn language through doing all different activities and will learn new vocabulary by learning new activities. Role of the parents Parents are probably the most important people in a child life meaning they are the ones who majorly help their children with their development. The parents are the ones who start children off with their development, from the day they are born they help them to hold their head up, walk and learn to talk etc. Parents help their children with all the areas of development more than others.

“High levels of nurturance combined with moderate levels of control help adults be responsible child rearing agents for their children and help children become mature, competent members of society. ” Parents will know the major mile stones in a child’s development like walking and talking but sometimes parents do not know the little bits of a child’s development, like there mental development, social skills, gaining knowledge and understanding of the world and this can sometimes be the most important.

Then this is where a teacher parent relationship can be very important so that they can communicate with each other about their child’s development. It is important that the parents are involved in their child learning and development at school as well as at home for the child’s wellbeing. Parents will help their children to develop in all the different five areas of development which are language development, physical development, cognitive development and social and emotional development.

Parents can also have an influence on their child’s development; some parents might find some areas of development more important than others and push their children to develop in these areas more. This could mean that there child may lack in other areas an example of this could be, some parents might think that a child’s cognitive development is more important than a child physical development.

So the parents may make the child focus on developing in there cognitive development, and not so much in their physical development so this may mean that the child may not be developing as well in their physical development as they would be in there cognitive. Some parents worry about their children’s development when their children are not at a stage of development that there meant to be at. Any parent will worry about this especially when they are young. All children develop and grow at different rates and speeds as all children are different.

The every parent matter documentation (every parent’s matters 2007) states “many parents are unsure about how they can help their child to learn. They really shouldn’t worry one of the best way to support a child’s development is to have fun with them. ” That is what the most important thing is for a child is to have fun to help them to develop especially with their parents as they are the main influences on a child life specially a young child. It is important for a child to play and have fun because children learn through play and it is an important part of their life.

When a child is outside hunting for worms or playing on the bikes they just think they are playing but as early year’s teachers we know that they are learning through doing this as will their parents. Roles of observations Observations are very, very important for a child’s holistic development they can play an important part of a child’s development and can potentially help them or can find something wrong with the child‘s development. They can do this by evaluating the observation and comparing it to the thing that they were observing the child for and see whether the child did or didn’t do what the observer was observing for.

Observations will mainly be done by the teachers in schools as they have to do them as teachers but parents will also do observations of their children even if this is just watching their children at the park or playing with their toys. There are many different types of observations that a teacher will do some of these are photo observations, written, time sample, sociagram etc. Teachers do observations so that they can see where a child is with their development by doing this they will be able to see if there ahead, at the right level or behind with their development.

They can then help the child to progress in a way that suits that child as every child is different and are at different stages of development. When you have done an observation you can then see how affective that observation has been to you and to the child. You will be able to see how affective the observation has been by looking at the results of the observation and again comparing them to what you were observing the child for. A teacher can then see what they can do to help the child; they can then make a judgement on what to do next for the child to help them if they need it in anyway.

There are many implications when undertaking observations on a child because they behaviour of the child that day may be different to any other day because something has happened. Another reason could be that the child is tired there are many reasons that a child may behave different that day. This is why teachers with normally do two to three observations of a child on different days at different times to make sure something that have seen that day is nothing out of the ordinary for the child. Doing professional observations does take practice to do them properly.

It is important that an early year’s teacher doesn’t just make assumptions from one observation unless they are perfectly sure that they are right from what they have seen. This is why it is important to do more than one observation on a child. Role of the environment The environment in the modern day is having greater effect on a child’s development, more than it ever has in the past. Times are changing and so are the children because of the changing in the environment. Children’s personalities and development can depend on the environment that a child lives in me now quote from associated content (associated content 2008) “.

The behaviour patterns children learn depend heavily on models to which they are exposed. The socio-cultural environment is the source of differences as well as similarities in personality development. ” Children are not developing at the same rate they did 10 years ago because of the changing of the environment. Society nowadays the children prefer to sit in doors on computer games than play outside with their friends and family. Which is effecting all areas of a child’s development social, emotional, physical, language and especially there cognitive development.

It is important for children to go out into the environment and explore, as young children do love to do this, children can learn a lot from the environment. According to recent research it is important for children to explore the environment as if they don’t it can really effect and stunt a child’s academic and development growth. Less and less children are not visiting the countryside to go on walks with parents or grandparents whereas their parents and grandparents would have done this a lot with their family or friends.

Fewer children are climbing trees and playing on the park which is natural and humane thing for children to do. When children come home they look more forward to playing on the computer or Xbox than going down to the park or going to play football. By children not getting outside as much and sitting in doors they are growing rates of childhood obesity , which is causing major concerns for children’s development especially there physical development. Also by children playing on their games all day they concentrate less at school and are becoming less interested in school.

It is important for children to get outside and explore the environment. Conclusion What a child’s development means to me? It means a lot it is important for a child to grow and to develop at their own rate, as I’ve said throughout this essay every child is different no child is the same. Of course it is important for a child to develop to the developmental norms for their age, to keep up with things and other children there age but some children will develop more rapidly and some children will develop more slowly.

Holistic development is all about that, see the child as a whole developing as a whole putting the areas of development together interlinking them all. In conclusion to this I personally think that no area of development for a child is more important than the other, as it is important that a child develops in all there areas of development in their own way. Of course some children are going to develop better in some areas than others that is near enough proven with every child but I think that no area of development Is more important that the next.

Some parents may think that cognitive development is the most important area of development, as they may think that children need to be clever/ intelligent to have a good life and a good future ahead of them, but this is not always the case as some children cannot do so well in school even hate school and not develop well in there cognitive development but be absolutely fantastic in other areas say physical and in their future they could become an athlete which is still a brilliant future for a child.

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