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Fundamentals Of Child Development Course

Child development can be defined as the progression and the change in the child in terms of knowledge, skills, behaviour. The child behaviour is monitored through multiple child developments stages, from baby development to adolescence. The babies cross a various milestone in different stages of life. Academic work in child development also affects childcare, parenting traits and early childhood education.

Stages Of Development:

The early stage of a child is very important. As it builds and shapes the overall personality of a child. The health of a child is also built up during this age. The food habits develop and in this way likes and preferences of a child start developing. Heath developments mean that child grow up with social, emotional and educational needs. They find a healthy environment both at school and at home. Moreover, proper nutrition, exercise and sleep also contributes to the healthy development of a child.

The next development in a child, we can see is the developmental milestone. When a child starts smiling and waves “bye-bye” these are the developmental milestone. The child crosses each milestone in his different stages of life. But at the same time, it should be kept in mind that different children have a different level of pace to acquire knowledge and development. Hence, both the teacher and parent need to observe the child very closely. Parents, grandparents, caretakers all should participate in monitoring the growth and development of a child. If the monitoring identifies an area of concern, then a formal developmental evaluation may be needed, where a trained specialist takes an in-depth look at child development.

Importance Of Child Development:

Child development is very much important. As it builds a bright future for the child both physically and mentally. A child must be provided with a healthy and stress-free environment at home. As adverse fetal and early childhood experiences can lead to physical and chemical distruption in the brain, which may last forever. It may increase the risk not only for impairments in future learning capacity and behaviour but also for physical and mental health outcomes. A close relationship with caregivers both within and outside the family helps the child to develop socially. The brain of a child is developed during the first three years after birth. Such as the ability to see and hear effectively depend on the aspects of emotional development. So the window of opportunity for most domains of development remains open beyond age three, and we remain capable of learning ways to work around earlier impact well into the adultiers. When compared to the children who are suffering from malnutrition and physical maltreatment. They face attention problem, language deficit, academic difficulties and poor interactions with their peers as they grow old. Children who have been exposed to violence can grow up to be violent adults. The child who faces negligence can be traumatized. Hence they require therapeutic supportive care to facilitate their recovering.

Children’s relationship affects all the areas and stages of development. In fact, is the foundation of child development! Through relationships, the child learns about the world. He learns whether the world is safe or secure, whether they are loved, who loves them? They learn by seeing relationships among other people for example how we behave with our family members. This learning is the development of a child’s communication, behaviour, social and other skills. Playing also contributes to the development of a child. It creates an opportunity to explore, observe, experiment, solve problems. Child’s development also supported by a positive relationship with friends and neighbour, access to playground, park, shops and local services.

The basics involved in child development courses are :

1. Human behaviour –

Humans like animals have a life course that has certain successive phases. It includes physical, physiological and behavioural features. These phases are prenatal life, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Human development is a study that describes the changes in human cognitive, emotional and behavioural capabilities and functioning over the entire life. A study on human behaviour has revealed that 90% of the population can be classified into four basic personality types – optimistic, pessimistic, trusting and envious. The behaviour of humans falls upon a spectrum, whereby some behaviour are common while others are unusual and unaccepted. The acceptability of behaviour depends on society and social control. Thus, human behaviour contributes to the potential and express capacity for physical, mental and social activity. There are four sources of human behaviour.

2. Nature –

Nature is inbuilt in ourselves. It cannot be practice or learning. It is an instinct. Human personality is up to 50% genetically determined. Prewired behaviours are strongly embedded, usually unconscious and highly resistance to life influences.

3. Nurture –

The second determinant of human behaviour is Nurture. A child arrives in the world to survive. It comes from parents and so the child quickly discovers through trial and error what strategies will maximise those resources. Growing up in the same family does not make children similarities make them different. It has been observed that eldest children are most responsible, conservative and defensive. Middle children have a broader interest and have lower self-esteem and are independent. While the youngest sibling is less ambitious more socially oriented. Behaviour embedded in our formative years are generally unconscious and also highly resistant.

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4. Contemporary society –

People quickly pick up social mannerisms such as accent and gesture. It is a case of the unconscious application. Similarly, our oral communication is underpinned by our pre-wired need to communicate between members of our species, our introversion and extroversion coupled with the language we speak is influenced by our formative years. Behaviours based on this society are quite malleable.

5. Creativity –

Creativity or innovation is the ability to imagine something. Although our creativity is bounded by our nature, nurture and the society where we live in. Behaviours based on creativity are the easiest to change. Hence, good ideas are easily fragile. The conservatism of the human species attests to the extent to which creativity is not a strong behavioural determinant.

6. Child development psychology –

Child psychology is the study of the subconscious and conscious childhood development. Child psychologist observes how a child interacts with their parents, themselves and the world to understand their mental development. Everyone wants their child to be mentally developed. Understanding the normal and abnormal psychological patterns of a child can help parents to understand how to communicate and connect with their child. A child psychologist can identify abnormal behaviours and help to know the cause for such behavioural issues such as learning issues, hyperactivity or anxiety and help the children work through early childhood trauma. They can help to detect the reasons behind development delays such as autism. Child psychology is an important branch of family health. It gives parents the resources to help their children to develop physically and mentally.

Since child psychology is so vast, thus researchers have divided it into specific areas. Children’s physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. Psychologists help a child to think, learn, communicate and make friends. Milestones reflect abilities such as walking, talking, which are achieved by most children at similar ages. Experts focus on the factors that lead to the contribution of child development. Self – esteem, school, parenting social pressures contributes to the overall development of a child in an appropriate way. A child’s growth is influenced by genetics and personal characteristics. However, the development also involves some environmental factors such as social relationship and the culture in which we live.

The major contexts that we need to analyse child’s psychology are:

1. Cultural context –

The culture in which the child is surrounded gives values, customs and ways of living that influence development throughout the life span.

2. Social Context –

Relationship with friends, the family also contributes to the thinking and the development of a child. It helps the child to interact and mix with society.

3. Socio Economic Context –

Social class also plays an important role in child development. It depends on the environment in which the child is surrounded by children raised in the high-class family definitely have greater opportunities while those who belong to the lower socioeconomic status. They have less access to health care, education, nutrition etc.

4. First – Aid and safety –

Health and safety are very much important in child development courses. This training prepares the caregivers, teachers, parents with the basic knowledge and skills in first aid. They will learn at least to give the basic treatment required during the emergency before the medical personnel arrives. One of the most common injuries which a child suffers under the age of 5 is “falls”. Falls can result in bumps, bruises, head injuries and even broken bones. Burns are another common injury suffered by children when it comes to illness under the age of 5, the parents need to see if the child is suffering from a breathing problem. The parent must have basic knowledge of how to treat these ailments, instead of getting panic, they should handle the situation smartly.

5. Learning experience –

It refers to the interactions and how much the child has acquired knowledge from his school, home and other surroundings where he belongs to. At an early age, children learn either by playing in or outdoors expressing creativity through art and music. They love to explore the resources available to them, which make their learning more interesting.

The act of play also helps the child to develop. Play provides an opportunity to learn, solve problems. Play makes the child more active both physically and mentally. The creative arts also helps the children to use their imagination to learn and know the world around them. Activities like art, dance, music, dramatic play help the children learn across every developmental domain. Children become curious and they try to explore the world.

They gather information and use it to understand the new concepts. The child’s experience in this early phase of life is at the heart of “Learning to be”. Learning studies aimed at understanding children’s personal, intellectual and social development. Both the school and the home learning environment are important in children’s development. The researchers have proved that children learn more quickly during their early years.

They need love and nurturing to develop a sense of trust and security that turns into confidence as they grow. All the children have the right to be raised in a family and to have access to quality health care, good nutrition, education and protection from harm, abuse and discrimination. It is the duty of the parent, caregivers to look after the basic needs and requirements of a child and ensure that they are been protected.

6. Curriculum –

The curriculum is the method and the procedure which helps the children to learn and acquire knowledge. It has been found that at an early age, children are curious to acquire knowledge and know the world around them. Schools provide an opportunity to the students and families towards a life filled with a love for learning. The curriculum can be implicit or explicit. It has been found that children can learn fast through playing. When 2-4 years old work together to set up a dollhouse, they are learning language about family and relationship. They learn how to organise things and how to think critically. The learning that happens through play cannot be replaced. A teacher’s role during a child’s play is to watch and ask about their experience.

A teacher should always make creativity a priority in her classroom. The curriculum for early childhood education needs to be fun-loving, interesting. Teachers should often try new activities which will create interest in the students and the children will enjoy. While preparing the curriculum, the teacher should note that the curriculum must include social, physical and cultural development, language arts, maths, science providing students with a well-rounded education during these first crucial years is important for building up a bright future. A teacher may use various strategies to make the learning process interesting.

For example interactions, scaffolding, explicit instructions, modelling, demonstration changes in the environment and the materials. By adapting the physical environment, materials and the curriculum, teachers gain a better sense of individual children’s strength and abilities. The integrated curriculum often has focused on how to engage children in multiple ways. How to make the child explore and make things unfold when their teacher teaches a new learning concept.

7. Learning Strategies –

In the 21st century, the way and the method of teaching have changed. The teacher needs to update herself regularly in terms of teaching. The ways of teachings should be interesting and fun-loving which will help the child to acquire the knowledge fast. The teacher needs to be flexible and observant.

Hence, certain strategies should be followed to make the learning process more effective :

Praise - The child must be encouraged and praised regularly. This will boost and enhance his skills and learning.

Feedback - Regular feedback should be given on a timely basis. This will create more curiosity and interest in the mind of the child.

Model- Whenever a child is taught something new, if a teacher uses any model to represent the concept, this will enhance the interest of the child in understanding the concept.

Guidance – A child should be properly guided by the teacher. This will build up the confidence of the child and at the same time, the child will feel safe and secured.

Conclusion: Child development is a multidimensional field that relies on knowledge from several other fields such as psychology, sociology, human development and the medical field. Child development is necessary to improve the overall outcomes for children in society. After taking this course, a person should be familiar with the basics of the field of child development which includes development milestones and development disabilities.

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