Understanding of Child and Young Person Development

Table of Content

Adolescence—the transition period between childhood and adulthood—encompasses ages 12 to 19. It is a time of tremendous change and discovery. During these years, physical, emotional, and intellectual growth occurs at a dizzying speed, challenging the teenager to adjust to a new body, social identity, and expanding world view.

Perhaps no aspect of adolescence is as noticeable as the physical changes that teenagers experience. Within the span of a few years, a dependent child becomes an independent and contributing adult member of society. The start of adolescence also marks the beginning of Freud’s final stage of psychosexual development, the genital stage, which pertains to both adolescence and adulthood. Puberty is the time of rapid physical development, signaling the end of childhood and the beginning of sexual maturity. Although puberty may begin at different times for different people, by its completion girls and boys without any developmental problems will be structurally and hormonally prepared for sexual reproduction.

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The speed at which adolescents sexually mature varies; the beginning of puberty in both genders falls within a range of 6 to 7 years. In any grouping of 14 year olds, for example, one is likely to see teenagers in assorted stages of development—some appearing as older children and others as fully mature adolescents. Eventually, though, everyone catches up. During childhood, males and females produce roughly equal amounts of male (androgen) and female (estrogen) hormones. At the onset of puberty, the pituitary gland stimulates hormonal changes throughout the body, including in the adrenal, endocrine, and sexual glands. The timing of puberty seems to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and health factors.

An explanation of how current practice is influenced by: theories of development Skinner – Operant Conditioning Skinner believed that the best way to understand behavior is to look at the causes of an action and its consequences. He called this approach operant conditioning. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning was based on the work of Thorndike (1905). Edward Thorndike studied learning in animals using a puzzle box to propose the theory known as the ‘Law of Effect’. Skinner’s views were slightly less extreme than those of Watson.

Skinner believed that we do have such a thing as a mind, but that it is simply more productive to study observable behavior rather than internal mental events Bandura – Social Learning Theory Bandura created a theory which supposes that children learn from watching others. They do not need to be taught directly, but will and observe and mimic what those around them are doing. This is a natural process and does not require the coercion of an adult. This way of learning is known as observational learning. In our setting we can create an environment where observational learning can take place. Importantly we must behave in a polite and positive manner at all times. The children will see this and learn that this is the best way to interact socially.

Piaget – Cognitive Development Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development Jean Piaget investigated how children think. According to Piaget, children’s thought processes change as they mature physically and interact with the world around them. Piaget believed children develop schema, or mental models, to represent the world. As children learn, they expand and modify their schema through the processes of assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is the broadening of an existing schema to include new information. Accommodation is the modification of a schema as new information is incorporated.

Vygotsky – Social Development Theory Vygotsky is another theorist but of cognitive development. Vygotsky suggested that children were born to be sociable and by being with parents and then with friends they learned and gained understanding from them. He suggested that people in early years setting working with children should extend and challenge their thoughts in order for their potential development to be achieved. As well as the need for adults to work alongside children Vygotsky also felt that children could guide and develop each others potential by encouraging them to do tasks together. Evidence of this can often be found in my setting. One example would be reading buddies where children in the infants are paired up with a child from the juniors and they read to their buddy for 10 minutes every day.

Freud – Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality Freud was an early writer about child development and went against the thinking of his time, in differentiating between the way that children and adults think, as many thought that children were empty vessels waiting to be filled up. Freud describes child development as a series of psychosexual stages whereby the pleasure seeking ID becomes focused on certain erogenous zones and this psychosexual energy or libido is the sole force behind human behaviour.

He examines how if at any stage this desire is not satisfied or resolved problems may occur such as an individual who is fixated at the oral stage may be very dependant and clingy to others and may continue to seek oral stimulation through eating, drinking or smoking. Although Freud does not at any time tackle the subject of learning directly his theories had a substantial influence on education at the time placing emphasis on the role of the family and home as part of the way that a child develops. He believes that the child is defined by its relationships even in the womb and contemporaries even went so far as to blame autism on mothers who did not bond with their children. Freud saw a battle going on between the child’s unconscious desires and the need to fit into and succeed in society. He proposes that everything we do is to either help us survive or to prevent our own destruction.

Maslow – Hierarchy of Needs Maslow believed that everyone has fundamental needs that must be met in order for each person to reach their full potential. These needs include warmth, food and shelter as well as demonstrations of love and having their confidence and self-esteem boosted. In a Play School setting we can achieve these needs by caring for the children in a certain way. We can ensure that the setting is kept at a comfortable temperature, we provide a healthy and nutritious snack for them and we make the hall as welcoming and clean as possible.

To help the children on a psychological level, we must ensure they are all given plenty of attention, and that we allot time to each individual child to work with them on a one-to-one level. To help us do this efficiently a key worker is assigned to each child, and this person is responsible for ensuring that each child meets the requirements laid down in EYFS. We strive to form strong relationships with each child, so that a bond of trust is built. We can then ensure that we help every child to reach their full potential.

An explanation of how to monitor children and young people’s development using different methods. You may find it useful to use work products to illustrate your answer, e. g. child observations, assessment rameworks There are many different ways of monitoring children and young people’s development, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. Fill out the table to show the positive and negative aspects of each method.

An explanation of how disability may affect development Disabilities can sometimes have an effect on the different areas of development. Complete the table below to show how different disabilities may have an effect on the different areas of development. An example has been completed for you.

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Understanding of Child and Young Person Development. (2016, Oct 15). Retrieved from


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