Understanding Factors in Young Children's Development - Free Essay Sample

Published: 2023-12-11
Understanding Factors in Young Children's Development - Free Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Learning Education Child development
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1731 words
15 min read


Development in education refers to how children experience growth in physical, emotional, and psychological features (Berk, 2018). According to Berk (2018), the main domains are physical, cognitive, language, emotional, social, and spiritual development. There is a range of factors that contribute to the growth and development of young children. They can be categorised into biological, psychological, and socioecological factors. The biological factors are those that are related to bodily functions such as size and locomotive functions. As for the psychological, they affect the functionality of the mind and the young child’s psyche. Lastly, the socioecological factors are related to environmental factors such as the built environment and society. This research paper will analyse the biological, psychological, and socioecological factors and their effect on the development and learning of young children.

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Biological Factors

Genetics and gender are examples of biological factors that influence the learning and development of young children. According to Berk (2018), children’s learning and development are influenced by genetic factors. Genetic factors are the primary and functional units of heredity (Bruce et al., 2014). Genetics is a biological factor that is mostly associated with the physical domain. Genes inherited from the parents can influence physical development, such as height. Some children tend to grow taller and faster than their peers because of their inherited genes.

A child’s physical development, such as an increase in height, can affect other aspects like social and emotional development. On the one hand, when a child grows taller, they may gain more confidence in themselves and their abilities, and have an easier time socialising or associating with other children. On the other hand, slow growth in height may translate to lower self-esteem and affect the child’s social aspect. A child may feel intimidated by their counterpart’s height, especially when they are all taller than him or her.

Gender is another biological factor that affects a child’s development. According to Berk (2018), boys and girls tend to develop and learn differently. The domain that can be most associated with gender is physical development. Boys and girls tend to have differing development of physical features such as genital parts. The differences become even more pronounced as the children approach puberty, where boys start having deeper voices than the girls. The physical domain can also affect emotional development. Boys and girls have hormonal differences that can manifest themselves into different emotions. These behavioural differences may stem from both nurture and nature. According to Kristoffersen and Smith (2013), girls tend to have much fewer behavioural problems at school age than boys. Research emphasises the biological reasons for behavioural problems, such as aggression (Kristoffersen & Smith, 2013).

Psychological Factors

Mental health is one of the psychological factors that influence the learning process and young children’s development. Mental health is the social, psychological, and emotional well-being of a child. Children need a warm and nurturing environment to have good mental health (Benoit, 2009). Therefore, mental health is mostly associated with emotional development domains. Emotions such as fear, anger, and joy can be affected by the young child’s mental health. Mental health issues, such as stress, can create anger, sadness, and even fear. Poor mental health can also manifest itself in the form of mood disorders like depression. Mental health can also be related to other domains such as cognitive development, by affecting the child’s learning process. According to Berk (2018), cognitive development involves perception, thinking, remembering, reasoning, and problem-solving. These factors can be affected by the mental health of the child. For instance, a stressful situation forms part of the child’s memory, forever altering how he or she responds to the same problem. In such a case, mental health has changed the cognitive development of the child.

Another factor that can influence the learning process and development of young children is psychological needs. Maslow developed a model that ranked the different levels of human needs with self-actualisation on the highest level and psychological demands at the lowest (Sel, 2017). Physiological conditions are the most basic needs, and they include hunger, thirst, and some other basic drives. According to Maslow, every human possesses such requirements, regardless of age or maturity (Sel, 2017). As a result, children are not an exception. The domain that can be linked to psychological needs is also cognitive development, such as memory. Young children have already developed a memory of their essential needs at that stage of life. They can comprehend that the feeling they are experiencing is thirst or hunger, based on previous memory, which allows them to solve the problem.

The child’s cognitive development is also associated with emotional development. For example, when a child has a memory of feeling hungry, they also remember the appropriate measures to address the hunger. That memory allows them to express their psychological needs, such as hunger, which Berk (2018) describes as emotional maturity. The repeated process of psychological needs leads to memory and problem-solving, which are cognitive development. Nevertheless, cognitive development also affects the young child’s ability to express their emotions, which leads to emotional maturity.

Socioecological Factors

One of the socioecological factors affecting the learning and development of young children is the built environment. According to Berk (2018), well-structured early childhood environments invite early physical exploration and active lifestyles supported by parents and physical development. The domain that can relate most to the built environment is physical development. The built environment can encourage or discourage the development of motor skills. For example, a spacious and safe environment encourages activities such as learning to drive a bicycle which in turn enables the young child to develop their motor skills.

The built environment is also related to cognitive development. For example, by interacting with the environment, young children get a chance to develop the perception, reasoning and problem-solving aspects of their brains. They also create a memory of their environment. Cognitive development is needed for the child to have motor skills. Therefore, a well-structured environment not only affects the physical domain through motor skills; it also indirectly encourages cognitive development through interaction with various elements.

Another item of the socioecological factors is the interpersonal relationships that surround the child. According to Pem (2015), societal culture, and parenting behaviour are determiners of the interpersonal relationship that the child will witness and experience. The domain that can relate most to the interpersonal relationship is emotional development. Parents sometimes tend to focus on cognitive development at the expense of the emotional domain(Berk, 2018). Having an emotionally supportive parent helps the child become familiar with emotions such as compassion and love.

Another domain that can be associated with emotional development is social development. For example, if developers have emotions such as compassion, they will have an easier time associating with other people and building relationships. They will also learn how to interact with other people based on the observations of their parents and societies’ interrelationships.

Play-Based Learning

One of the strategies that can be used to improve all the developmental domains of young children is play-based learning. Play-based learning is a form of education that uses play-based activities to enable children to obtain knowledge (Fesseha & Pyle, 2016). The model is already used in countries such as New Zealand and Canada as part of the school curriculum. Play-based learning is one of the most revolutionary learning strategies because of its holistic nature. It can simultaneously reinforce various domains of child development. Social learning theory can be supported using the social learning theory that was formulated to explain the learning processes and social behaviours of humans.

Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory is a concept proposed by renowned psychologist Albert Bandura. According to Bandura, human beings learn through observation and imitation of others (Nabavi, 2012). The social learning theory remains one of the most revolutionary concepts in psychology and sociology because it changed the way humans understand development and behaviour. The three main principles in social learning theory are observation, imitation, and modelling. Also, social learning theorists argued that learning could occur without behavioural change. That was contrary to behavioralists’ argument, who argued that learning had to be accompanied by a permanent change in behaviour. Not only did Bandura demonstrate that knowledge is not a product of behavioural change, but he also showed that cognition influences learning. As a result, based on social learning theory, play can enable children to learn by allowing them to observe and imitate another person or creature’s behaviour.

Application in Play-Based Learning

Through play-based learning, children can observe other people’s behaviour and imitate them through playful activities. For example, a young child may watch someone else act bravely in the face of an adverse situation. The child will try imitating such behaviour in the course of their play activities. In the process, the child is learning how to be brave in fearful situations. Play-based learning can support learning and development in different domains, such as physical, cognitive, social, and language development. On the physical aspect, play activities help children develop their motor skills through partaking in events such as running or biking. Play-based learning also encourages cognitive development by improving memory. A child who is imitating a behaviour or activity gets to develop his or her memory recollection. Interacting with other children in playful activities builds their social skills hence encouraging the development of the social domain. Socialising with other children through playful activities also facilitates language development through observation, imitation, and modelling.

Learning to Play Musical Instruments

Learning to play musical instruments is also another strategy that can be used to improve or support, most of the developmental domains in young children. Learning instruments for young children would probably resemble something like a play session. The focus would be on simple instruments such as the piano that require less advanced motor skills. According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, children manage to actively construct knowledge as they manipulate and explore the world around them (Berk, 2018). Learning to play a musical instrument is a good avenue for them to start learning how to manipulate the world around them since an action such as pressing a key gives an immediate response in the form of a sound. Also, each response is unique depending on the key pressed hence allowing children to differentiate the responses they want depending on the keys that they press.

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