Saturday, July 27, 2013
Infancy and Early Childhood Development
In the life of humans infancy and early childhood are the more advanced periods of development. During infancy and early childhood, development is beneficial to a productive life of a child as that child develops. Infancy and early childhood development are critical stages of development that form a foundation for the future learning and well-being of a child. Certain elements affect one during infancy and early childhood that can hinder of progress development. These elements include one’s family and parenting styles. Some parenting styles are more effective than others. Certain programs provide early childhood education and each program has a specific influence on cognitive development.
Effect of Families on Development
The role of families affects development during infancy and early childhood. A child’s family has more influence on a child’s development through infancy and early childhood than any other period of life. Children develop better if families are more responsive, attentive, and sensitive. Families provide essential factors during infancy and early childhood, such as a reassuring touch, warmth, facial expressions, movement, and overheard conversation, which improves the speech of young children (Berger, 2011). Families are the first to teach infants and young children, which fosters development during infancy and early childhood. The relationship between young children and families determines how a young child develops. Berger (2011), “early relationships help infants develop a working model, a set of assumptions that become a frame of reference for later life” (p. 189).
Developmental and clinical psychologist Diana Blumberg Baumrind’s study of 100 preschool children guided her to an interesting founding that parents differ on four important dimensions. These dimensions are expressions of warmth, strategies for discipline, communication, and expectations for maturity (Berger, 2011). Expressions of warmth is how parents display warmth and affectionate, although other parents are cold and critical toward their children (Berger, 2011). Strategies for discipline, refers to how parents vary in how and if each explains, criticizes, persuades, ignores, and punishes their children (Berger, 2010). Communication is how some parents demand silence, although other parents listen patiently to their children. Expectations for maturity, is how parents differ in degrees of self-control and responsibility they expected from their children (Berger, 2011). The need to discuss these four dimensions is important because these dimensions lead to Baumrind’s three styles of parenting.
An authoritarian parent’s word is the law and is not questionable. The misconduct of one’s child brings rather stringent punishment, which is normally physical but not as harsh as what one considers abusive (Berger, 2011). The rules set by authoritarian parents are clear, held to high standards, and children are not expected to offer their opinions about the rules. Usually these types of parents do not hold discussions about emotions with their children. Authoritarian parents consider themselves as the authority over their children. Berger (2011), “authoritarian parents love their children, but they seem aloof, rarely showing affection” (p. 273).
Those considered permissive parents rarely make demands and hide any impatience directed toward their children (Berger, 2011). These types of parent expectations of maturity are low and his or her discipline lacks strictness. Permissive parents are accepting, nurturing and are willing to listen to whatever their children say. The intention of permissive parents is to be helpful to their children and the shaping or development of one’s child is not a responsibility. Permissive parents consider themselves as a friend to his or her children.
An authoritative parent will listen to the concerns of his or her children, but they will set limits and will enforce his or her rules (Berger, 2011). These types of parents encourage the maturity of their children and if a child falls short he or she usually do not punish and forgive his or her children. An authoritative parent does not consider him or herself as the authority over his or her children but as one who guides his or her children as a parent and not as a friend. Authoritative parenting is the most effective style of parenting. Authoritative parents seem strict but not to strict. They understand that setting rules and limitations are a necessity but also that forgiveness of a child’s mistakes is also a necessity. Children are capable of making mistakes just as anyone else is capable of making mistakes. Chastising a child for any and every mistake may hinder his or her development and cause further problems in that child’s future.
Early Childhood Education and Cognitive Development
Programs high in quality or educational value advance cognitive development during early childhood. This is especially true for children of low-income families who display continuing improvements in social and language skills (Berger, 2011). A child’s intelligence develops faster and cognition increases through attending early childhood education programs. Specific programs that provide early childhood education are child-centered programs, such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia schools, teacher-directed preschool programs, and intervention programs, such as Head Start (Berger, 2011). Each of these options or programs has a specific and individual influence on the cognitive development of children. Child-centered programs emphasize the development and growth of children as well as the need to follow self-interests instead of adult directions. Child-centered programs also emphasize the individual pride and achievement of children, and encourage artistic and creative expression (Berger, 2011).
Teacher-directed programs stress academics, giving children praise, and reinforcements for good behavior; misbehavior is punishable with brief separation from particular activities (Berger, 2011). Teacher-directed programs set curricula that include learning numbers, the names of letters, colors, and shapes, which fosters one’s cognitive development. Intervention programs set the goal of maintaining and developing the health and cognition of children. Intervention programs help disadvantaged children of low-income families (Berger, 2011). Children benefit from early education programs through improved social skills, learning, language, and prospects for the future; each essential for cognitive development (Berger, 2011). Berger (2011), “child-centered, teacher-directed, and intervention programs can all nurture learning; the outcome depends on the skill and attention from teachers, as well as on the specifics of the curriculum” (p. 291).
The development of infants and young children is dependent on one’s family, and the relationship between the infant or young child and family can either foster or hinder development. The three parenting styles developed by Baumrind that influence the development of a child are authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative parenting. Programs that provide early childhood education are child-centered programs, such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia schools, teacher-directed preschool programs, and intervention programs, such as Head Start. Each of these programs has a specific or individual influence on cognitive development.