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Holistic and interconnected

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Childcare
Wordcount: 5398 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Olivia Wray 13AL ASSIGNMENT 4 UNIT 3

Holistic and interconnected

The development of children is often studied as separate topics, for example their different skills are viewed and measured in different ways. However, each area of development influences the others, and is interconnected. Each different development skill is seen differently in every child.

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Holistic; can be viewed as PIES, physical intellectual emotional and social development. Physical development is a gradual process by which children develop the use and control of muscles. Intellectual development is sometimes called cognitive development, it's a process by which thought processes develop so children are able to increase their knowledge and understanding of the world around them; social development involves children learning how to develop relationships and interact with other people. Emotional development is the process of a child developing an understanding of, and controlling their own emotions and learning to express and control emotions that they show to others.

The most important years for the holistic and interconnected development of children are most important in the age range 0-3.

Different rates but broadly the same sequence

Because children develop at different rates, parents and guardians often worry their child is not developing or growing at the correct rate. However, because children grow and develop at different rates, it's usually still in the same sequence, and the differences are only minute. This means that children will learn to do things at different ages to each other, but they will have learned things in the same order. An example may be that some children might be able to walk at the age one, where as other might not be able to, until they are 18 months.

All children's milestones will be met when they are ready, however a child cannot walk before they can sit up, the order in which we learn to do things is a ‘norm', it's the only way our body will function and work correctly, or else we would not develop at the correct rate.

All children are different and unique in different ways, and when they are growing parents and guardians often compare their child's development and growth to other children and the mile stones, however, as children will develop and grow at different times, they will generally be quite similar unless they have a growing deficiency or some other genetic problem that may affect their growth.

Nature/Nurture Debate

It has already been considered that the influence of nature and nurture in the development of babies and children can be viewed as a debate, but there are other controversies surrounding the principle of development, the nature nurture debate can turn into an argument, as different parents have different parenting skills, and bring their children up with different disciplinary skills etc.

An example of the nature nurture debate is what Developmental psychologists say and their differing views about the nature of the change in development. The issue of quantitative and qualitative change raises interesting questions, for parents also. When a child is born ‘clever', it can be questioned whether their parent have a lot of money and could just provide the relevant and best materials for their education, this is just an example.

Children may reach milestones of development at different ages. For example, when children take their first step or say their first word, can vary greatly. Milestones are often used to measure development, such as when a child can sit without support. These milestones have to be used with care as the whole (or holistic) development of a child should be considered before drawing any conclusions. However, there is generally accepted range of normal development. Following a milestone, isn't the best way to monitor a child's development, as every child is individual and will vary significantly.

THEORIES- nature/ nurture debate

The nature-nurture debate is about whether children's development is influenced by nature (the effect of inherited) or nurture (environmental factors).

Because every person who is a parent or guardian, hopes for their child to be happy and healthy, and develop at the expected mile stone rates, parents find bringing up their children and giving them the best really important for a successful development.

The potential for growth and development is affected by inherited factors. This is called the interaction with nature. In addition, factors within our environment influence development. This is called the interaction of nurture.

There is much debate about how much and in what way either nature and/ nurture affects the process of development- known as the nature-nurture debate. Supporters of the nature side of the argument believe that intelligence is inborn, or innate, and the child's genes have determined their cognitive potential.

Supporters of nurture believe that environmental factors, such as the child's stimulating experiences in the early years, have a strong influence on cognitive development. It is generally considered that both nature and nurture interact and influence the developmental process.

Stages and sequences- normal ranges of development

Children develop at different rates for a variety of reasons. However, development does follow the same sequence. The upper part of the body, especially the brain and head, develops rapidly, while the lower part of the body follows more slowly. This is called head to toe or cephalo-caudal development. Also, development starts from the centre outwards. This is called inner to outer or proximodistal development. Hence, a baby can hold its head up before it can stand and can wave its arms around before it develops fine control over the use of its hands.

As there is no such thing as ‘normal development', it can be difficult to follow stages and sequences, as development is individual, and cant be measured in comparison to any one else's.


Percentile charts help to keep a record of your child's growth and development. Percentile charts are important for keeping track of individuals and comparing their heights weight and other bodily measurements, to expected milestones.

Physical development

Gross and fine motor skills

Gross motor skills are the large muscles of the body that enable functions such as walking, maintaining balance, co ordination, jumping and reaching. During development children reach milestones according to their development individually.

At the same time as a child's gross motor movements are developing, so are their fine motor skills.

In order for children to develop motor control, children need to:

  • Practice to improve and master the skill
  • Concentrate on small parts of the overall skill, e.g. children learn to place two feet to a stair before developing the more complex skill of alternate feet action.
  • Pay a lot of attention to the action; later they can do the action almost automatically.
  • Have experience of a range of movement activities to develop their memory of motor actions enabling them to cope with more complex situations.


Newborn babies are born with certain reflexes. These are involuntary, automatic, physical responses, triggered by a stimulus and determined by impulses in nerves. Everybody has some reflexes, for example knees jerk when tapped, which you do not learn to do; they are inborn. This means you cannot control whether you react or not, however as we get older we become more aware of reactions in our bodies and what stimulates our bodies.

The large movements include gross motor actions, which involve the use of the whole limb, for example when hopping. Also locomotive skills which are movements needed to travel, for example crawling and walking. These gross motor skills will develop through out your life, babies often are flexible and as they grow and get older, they become less flexible, this is just an example of how motor skills will develop and change, affecting children and babies lives as they begin to do things for themselves and provide for themselves, this relates to the nature nurture debate as it is argued by some that our natural ways of fending for ourselves could be mistaken for the way we are brought up and the environment we are brought up in.

Reflexes enable babies to survive, for example seeking and then taking their food. At such a young age gross and fine motor skills are extremely important as they will need to be able to fend for themselves and be able to do things for them selves as they get older, although through a lot of early child hood everything's done for you, by the age of three you usually start going to a care placement, where everything cant be done for you, and this is when children really do have to use their developed skills and start developing new ones.

For each individual child they will develop and grow at different rates, this includes their gross motor skills. The patterns in which children develop can depend on many things, and at such a young age, the baby now will wholly depend on their parent/carer. However children are constantly learning new ways in moving, experimenting with their bodies and learning new things about how they can move and ‘travel'. The babies' reflexes will depend on how they react to some things, again, every child is different, as some children will be physically stronger than others whilst others will be more tame and ‘sensitive', making their reflexes and reaction rates different.

The factor's that may affect children's development is their physical state, for example their weight, and their muscle tone. As children between 0 and 3 years, will be growing at a rapid rate, it can sometimes be difficult to be aware of both gross motor and fine motor skills. As a child learns intellectually, with different materials and toys, they will use a number of grasps and skills to control and enjoy what they are doing successfully. For example a 6 month year old is not going to be able to control the movement of a crayon; however an 18 month year old may be able to draw basic shapes, at least to the extent where you can tell what the picture is of. This example shows the rates in which babies and children are changing, and the rates in which they become more and more aware of different skills that they can use.

Fine motor and gross motor skills will be learnt and put into practice by different individuals at different times and in different ways.

From researching gross motor and fine motor skills I now know that, physical appearance will affect intellectual thoughts, as ridiculous as it may seem children's learning ability can be affected by their confidence and awareness; if a child doesn't have the confidence to try new skills and ways of doing things at such a young age, they clearly wont be confident enough in their future, the times when they need to do things for themselves and fend for themselves.


By the age 3-7 children's gross motor and fine motor skills have developed. Not all children develop at the expected mile stones but in schools and nurseries there are expectations which expect to be met, adult expectations will influence children to develop skills and will then be praised and rewarded for developing them.

  • Runs well,
  • marches,
  • rides tricycle.
  • Can feed self.
  • Pours from jug.
  • Puts on shoes and socks,
  • buttons and unbuttons.
  • Builds 10- block tower.
  • Is awkward when cutting with scissors.
  • Can wash face and dress self except for tying shoes.
  • Throws ball overhand.
  • Has lots of energy.
  • Hops, skips, and has good balance.
  • Dresses without help and ties shoes.
  • Can print simple letters. Is right or left handed?
  • Competes with friends. Loves to cut, colour, and shape things.
  • Has lots of energy.
  • Likes learning how to use tools.
  • Can bathe and dress with a little help from parents.
  • Is losing baby teeth and growing permanent teeth

I have taken these points from a number of places which I have researched. These are just average things children may be able to do, however, some children might be able to do more or less.


At this age, children can hop on either leg, and balance well along small spaces, their space recognition has improved and they are more aware of what is possible and not. The gross motor skills at this age have increased in both stamina and accuracy, they are also more able to control their bodily actions, and have developed a number of skills.


Between the ages of 12-16, children will have developed most or all of their fine motor and gross motor skills. As these children have gone through different stages of education they will have picked skills up and used them in their everyday lives, without even knowing. For example holding a pen and controlling it to write in both scroll and print, this is a talent to be able to do, even though the children think its just normal, it does require a number of skills and concentration.

12-16, is the age when puberty starts, and as research has shown children now will start to crave independence, this makes children want to explore with their bodies more and use different techniques when doing things, such as learning a new sport, or taking up a hobby such as art.

Emotional development


In children attachment and bonding is a process in which young children form close and loving relationships with their family, and other important people in their lives, such as brothers and sisters, and close friends. Even their early year's care workers will have a relationship with the child, and it will be so close that they have built trust and a bond.

Close relationships give children a feeling of security and love. This security helps children to cope with new experiences and new situations they may have to face in life. The child needs people in their lives that they can trust and rely on, whilst developing self confidence in the process.

Bowlby a child psychologist researched in depth children's attachment needs and the consequences of lack of attachment.

Bowlby's theory relates to the bonds of attachment in children, and explains the relationships children need and want in their lives. Bowlby explained that children develop bonds of attachment through out their lives with different people involved in their lives; he also went on to explaining how relationships can give children a sense of belonging and security.

To Bowlby, attachment is trusting, loving and being able to rely on someone that is involved in their lives. New situations and experiences will come into children's lives, and according to Bowlby, it is through these experiences that children become aware of different personalities in people, and who they should and shouldn't trust.

Bowlby also argued that children with lack of attachment grow up to be more insecure, and crave love/attention, often getting them in bad relationships and becoming insecure and over protective.

Development of multiple attachments

Developing multiple attachments means developing relationships and trust with more than just family, ‘going out the box', meaning they meet new people who become significantly important to them and a relationship is build, forming a bond of attachment. Its important that a xchild doesn't feel fearful in the presence of new adults and children in their lives, they need to feel safe and secure at all times, knowing that who they are with will protect and understand them.

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A self concept is important in a child's life, as it is how they feel about themselves. Self concept is how you look at yourself, and even young children have opinions of themselves and ways they would like to change themselves. Parents and guardians have a duty to praise their children and make them feel good about themselves, for example if a child is of a different culture they may feel ‘out of place', they are not out of place or any different to any other child so parents and carers have a duty to let them know and make sure they feel good about themselves.

Personal identity

Personal identity is how a child views and judges themselves. Everybody has a personal identity, and will judge it whether they feel negative or positive about themselves, personality or looks. Self esteem and self concept are both factors that will affect personal identity.


Bowlby drew together such limited empirical evidence as existed at the time from across Europe and the USA. His main conclusions, that “the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with his mother (or permanent mother substitute) in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment” and that not to do so may have significant and irreversible mental health consequences, were both controversial and influential. The 1951 WHO publication was highly influential in causing widespread changes in the practices and prevalence of institutional care for infants and children, and in changing practices relating to the visiting of infants and small children in hospitals by parents.

The theoretical basis was controversial in many ways. He broke with psychoanalytic theories which saw infants' internal life as being determined by fantasy rather than real life events. Some critics profoundly disagreed with the necessity for maternal (or equivalent) love in order to function normally, or that the formation of an ongoing relationship with a child was an important part of parenting. Others questioned the extent to which his hypothesis was supported by the evidence. There was criticism of the confusion of the effects of privation (no primary attachment figure) and deprivation (loss of the primary attachment figure) and in particular, a failure to distinguish between the effects of the lack of a primary attachment figure and the other forms of deprivation and understimulation that may affect children in institutions..

Bowlby's theory is based on attachment, and he explains that when a child forms an attachment with some one they are in a process in which they are forming a relationship, whether it be with family, or with friends,

The closer an attachment forms, the more trust that is built, children will often start to rely on people they build attachments with, they will look for security in them and expect a strong relationship.


Freud has been influential in two related but distinct ways. He simultaneously developed a theory of how the human mind is organized and operates internally, and a theory of how human behavior both conditions and results from this particular theoretical understanding. This led him to favor certain clinical techniques for attempting to help cure psychopathology. He theorized that personality is developed by the person's childhood experiences.

Emotional development of older children


At a young age babies and toddlers are starting to develop different concepts and abstract ideas, based on the senses of growing and understanding. Babies and children explore using their own senses through activity and movement. They also like to give and receive eye contact as this gives an attachment and makes them feel emotionally involved with the person, this links into Bowlby's theory of attachment.

At this age, whether they are a couple of months or 3, they love to get cuddles, and be fed through a bottle, or have contact during feed, bottle or breast. Feeding time gives children a sense of feeling, and they feel close to their parent or guardian, when a child is a couple of months old, they often like to be held close to their guardian, and it reminds them of being in the womb, where they felt safe and secure.

Babies respond to things that they see hear and feel, this can be done through play, activity and feeding. All which are important factors for influencing the growth and development in a child's life.

At such young ages it is important that young babies and children have plenty of physical contact, and time with their parents, this will form an emotional attachment and they will be ware of the feelings they have for different people they meet during their lives.

When babies and children feel emotion it is often because they are happy, or upset, babies between the ages of 0 and 3, wont often feel anger, as they don't understand what feeling angry feels like, however, in some cases they become confused about how they feel, which could be angry.

It is important that parents and guardians of children do everything they can to protect and maintain happiness in a child's life. Not caring for the emotional needs of a baby, is emotional abuse, as they don't understand how they should feel, but only how they do feel. Often abusers of children will start with putting things in children's heads, it's not until they are old enough to know how their emotions work.

Emotional development in such a young age will start with a child becoming content, and then not content, they will feel safe and secure, then as soon as their parents or guardians leave them, even for a couple of seconds they become distressed and upset, this is just an example of how children emotional development will work.


At this age children often like to do things unaided, they enjoy being with family, and love playing with other children and alone. They have developed a skill where they can show emotion appropriately, and can view things from different points of view. Children at this age know rules, morals and values in life, and are more able to share toys, ideas and know how to take turns. They have developed a gender role now and are aware that boys and girls are different and will enjoy different things, making friends and having friends for a child of 3-7, is extremely important.


Children at this age will be able to control how they feel about other people and different situations. They know how to keep their own thoughts private, and hide their true feelings. They don't only know who they are, but know who or what they would like to be like, they become critical about themselves and start wanting changes, for example putting their mam or sisters make up. At school and where they live children start to form close relationships with other children, often sticking to their own sex.


This age is when they are experiencing education, exams and facing up to different morals. They will be physically and intellectually developing rapidly, causing sexual feelings for others, and thought of how they want to change! Children will often be going through puberty now and this will cause a lot of how they feel about themselves and others.

Social development

Parents show a great deal of interest in their child's developing personality. Even babies only a few weeks old display distinct personalities.

Personality is thought to be a result of a combination of nature and nurture. In other words, it is influenced not only by what is inherited from parents, but also by our environment. The child's initial temperament affects the child's developing personality. Environmental factors then come into play.

Our experiences are very important in forming our personality. Some babies are very placid and easily soothed, whilst others seem to find it difficult to settle. The reaction of parents and carers to difficult children is taught to be crucial in reinforcing this type of temperament or helping not to emphasise it.

An important aspect of social development is the development of children moral or pre social behaviour. The family, other significant adults and children have an important role to play in this.

Pro social behaviour

Pro social behaviour is how a child intends to act socially, they might want to make new friends at school, but find it hard, and they might want to be involved in a social group but feel embarrassed or not good enough. Being influenced is important for a child's social skills to develop, if they are from a family who don't really socialise and just stay together as a unit, the child will think that's the norm and wont want to socialise- this is a key issue as children need socialise as a factor of development in life.

Moral development

Moral development comes from children seeing or doing something ‘wrong' and facing consequences, then learning from then. Children need to do and see things go wrong in order to learn from them. Some children find it difficult to identify wrong and right, meaning they don't understand what morals are; also what is and isn't acceptable.

Development of aggression

Aggression can develop in a child as they get older, have behavioural difficulties, or suffer from some sort of abuse or hard time in their lives. When children let things build up in them emotionally, they feel anger for anyone around them, they feel like they need somebody to take their troubles out on. Children can act aggressive when not getting their own way, whether its just the way they are or they are copying someone's behaviour from home.

Managing unwanted behaviour

Many children have behavioural difficulties, which are due to different reasons, not all aimed at the parents nurturing skills but other psychological problems that may consist. Managing unwanted behaviour can only take place by using the correct strategies; most strategies in which promote social and emotional development.

Anyone working in an early years setting will be aware of the coping strategies and the different behavioural problems, such as hyperactivity, which won't be completely stopped in the setting, but controlled. Some children who have behavioural problems may use aggression when they find them selves in awkward situations, the child cant help how they are acting so it is important that an adult controls them as they may become anxious and scared.

Also it is important that the environment is made suitable for the child, and to treat the child ‘differently' to the other, giving them a sense of importance and respect. If a child becomes withdraw, its important that they are made to be included with others, as they will fee more equal in a sense that they aren't just the naughty child.


Classical conditioning may influence behaviour in children and how they behave around certain people. For example children will become relaxed and ‘act themselves' around friends, but, when they see their head teacher, will become quieter politer and intimidated. This is a natural reaction, as you expect different rules boundaries and happenings with different people, this happens especially in children.


Reinforcing good behaviour is done through prizes and rewards. Children prefer to be rewarded with something they love; and not their something they love to be taken away. Reinforcement can be done in many different ways, and by different people in a child's life; for example if a child misbehaves at school, their teacher telling them if they behave to a standard they will receive a prize, rather than telling them if they misbehave they will lose something they enjoy, such as their lunch break.

This good behaviour may be reinforced by a reward of a £5 note if the child's behaviour has been good during the visit, this is an example of reinforcing good behaviour.

Social learning

Social learning happens through learning oft those in your every day surroundings. Parents are friends are main influences of social learning and they can copy and develop their personalities and actions, for example if a child's older sister, their role model, smokes, they will want to as well; as they see it as correct or ‘cool', thinking doing this will make them more like their role model.


A younger child imitates the other child's behaviour, e.g. a younger child may copy an older child's use of bad language.

Role models

Children may see members of their family as role models. For instance, an older sibling gets a reputation at school for behaving badly so the younger child feels the need to follow the family tradition by using the other child as a role model. Adults may reinforce this pattern of behaviour by their expectations based on their knowledge of the family.

Cognitive and language development


Baby's visual sensory system isn't fully mature at birth, however during the early years, babies develop and mature eye sight, meaning they are able to physically see, and develop stimuli, causing them to be able to further away. Babies looked at the face-pattern more than anything else presented to them, meaning they become familiar of faces of family members, parents and anyone involved in their early life, rather than other things such as toys, or books.

Fantz a child psychologist that I have researched, concluded that babies have an inborn preference to respond to faces and an innate perceptual knowledge of the face. However other studies carried out have shown that babies have a preference for increasingly complex patterns and their capacity for differentiating patterns steadily develops.

From Fantz's research he found out that babies at a very young age are aware of colour shape and patterns, and do start to have preferences before they know what something is. Also, his study showed that when a child is learning to speak etc, seeing a shape they like, for example a strawberry, will help them remember, say and understand the word.


From birth babies seem to have an inborn preference for hearing the human voice. Condor and Sanders carried out some experiments on babies that were just a few hours old, and the experiment showed that


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