Chapter Eight The Play Years: Biosocial Development
Body and Brain Young children’s body and brain develop according to powerful epigenetic forces Biologically driven Socially guided
Lower body lengthens child becomes slimmer Steady increase in height and weight 3 inches in height per year 4 1/2 pounds in weight per year Body Shape and Growth Rates
Genetic background prepares child to be experience-expectant Cultural patterns and differences guide development Most influential factors genes, health, nutrition Other influencing factors sex, birth order, geography Genes and Ethnic and Cultural Differences
Eating Habits Food should be nutritious isn’t always—often far from “ideal” enough calories—not enough vitamins and minerals—major nutritional problems are iron-deficiency anemia too much sugar too much fat not enough fruits and vegetables
Underlies rapidly expanding cognitive abilities by age 2, 75% of brain weight achieved by age 5, 90% of brain weight achieved pruning of dendrites has occurred Brain Development
Myelination—process by which axons become insulated with a coating of myelin, a fatty substance that speeds transmission of nerve impulses thoughts follow each other fast enough for children to perform one task after another fast processing essential for fast and complex communication experience affects rate of myelination Speed of Thought
Corpus callosum—nerve fibers that connect the two halves of the brain Connecting the Brain’s Hemispheres
Left Side, Right Side lateralization—specialization of the two sides of the brain left brain logical analysis, language, speech right brain visual and artistic skills Coping with Brain Damage Connecting the Brain’s Hemispheres, cont.
Prefrontal cortex (or frontal lobe) is the final part of the human brain to reach maturity the area in the very front of the brain that is least developed in nonhumans mid-adolescence maturation occurs gradually and incomplete until advances at about age 3 or 4 make possible impulse control and formal education Planning and Analyzing
Perseveration—the tendency to persevere, to stick to a thought or action long after it is time to move on occurs normally in young children—another aspect of immature self- control Planning and Analyzing, cont.
By age 6, children are ready for formal instruction before, brain not sufficiently developed in ways it needs to be, but now child can sit still for more than an hour scan a page of print balance sides of body draw and write with one hand listen and think before talking remember important facts control emotions Educational Implications of Brain Development
The brain provides the foundation for education any impediments to normal growth of the brain can put academic achievement on shaky ground Educational Implications of Brain Development, cont.
Brain development allows for greater coordination and impulse control Physical maturation can make a child more vulnerable to injury Motor Skills and Avoidable Injuries
Gross Motor Skills Large body movements improve running, jumping, climbing, throwing Gross motor skills are practiced and mastered
Gross Motor Skills, cont. Motor skills develop as rapidly as brain maturation, motivation, guided practice, and innate ability allow Children learn basic motor skills by teaching themselves and learning from other children
Small body movements are harder to master pouring, cutting, holding crayon, tying lacking the muscular control, patience, and judgment needed fingers short and fat confusion over which is dominant hand Fine Motor Skills
Artistic Expression Children’s artistic endeavors are also their play drawings often connected to perception and cognition gradual maturation of brain and body is apparent artwork helps develop fine motor skills in artwork, many children eagerly practice perseveration
Serious Injuries Accidents are the most common cause of childhood death poison, fire, falls, choking, and drowning unintended injuries cause millions of premature deaths per year until the age of 40; then disease becomes greatest cause of mortality Injury control/harm reduction—the idea that accidents are not random, but can be made less harmful with proper control
Primary prevention—actions that change overall background conditions to prevent some unwanted event or circumstance Secondary prevention—actions that avert harm in the immediate situation Tertiary prevention—actions taken after an adverse event to reduce the harm or prevent disability Three Levels of Prevention
An Example: Pedestrian Deaths Primary prevention: Better sidewalks, slower speeds, wider roads, longer traffic signals, etc. Secondary prevention: Improving car brakes, having school-crossing guards, having children walk with adults, etc. Tertiary prevention: Protective helmets, laws against hit-and-run driving, emergency room procedures, etc. Results show that these measures help to reduce unnecessary deaths Three Levels of Prevention, cont.
SES is a powerful predictor of many accidents Prevention and protection crucial Parents need to institute safety measures in advance Parents’ job is protection Parents, Education, and Protection
Sensational cases attract attention but don’t represent the typical case still, we need to learn lessons about abuse in order to understand its causes and consequences Child Maltreatment
Abuse and neglect child maltreatment—intentional harm or avoidable endangerment to child child abuse—deliberate action that is harmful to child’s well-being child neglect—failure to meet child’s basic needs Changing Definitions of Maltreatment
Types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, and educational Neglect twice as common as abuse one sign is failure to thrive another is hypervigilance can be a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder Changing Definitions of Maltreatment, cont.
Reported maltreatment—cases about which authorities have been informed 3 million per year Substantiated maltreatment—cases that have been investigated and verified 1 million per year Changing Definitions of Maltreatment, cont.
Consequences of Maltreatment If not spotted early, then reported and stopped, maltreatment can affect every aspect of a child’s development
Brain Damage and Consequences for Learning Types of possible brain damage shaken baby syndrome condition caused by maltreatment involving shaking a crying baby, with severe brain damage as result brain damage in despondent or terrorized child memory may be impaired; logical thinking may be delayed
Another brain disorder may appear in neglected child with clinically depressed mother unable to provide emotional support and guidance right prefrontal cortex develops more than left; consequently, negative emotions dominate, with greater likelihood of depression occurring Inadequate essential nourishment also impedes normal brain development Brain Damage and Consequences for Learning, cont.
Impaired Social Skills Maltreated children’s social skills less friendly, more isolated and aggressive the earlier abuse begins, the worse the relationship with peers
Three Levels of Prevention, Again Primary prevention—prevents maltreatment before problem starts need for family support, e.g., stable neighborhoods basic values SES
Three Levels of Prevention, Again, cont. • Secondary prevention—responds to first symptoms or signs of risk • spots and treats early problems • identifies high-risk children • potential disadvantages • wrongfully stigmatizes family as inadequate • undermines helpful cultural or family patterns • creates sense of helplessness in families
Tertiary prevention—halting harm after it occurs, then treating victim removal from family adoption Foster care—legally sanctioned, publicly supported plan that transfers care of maltreated child from parents to others Three Levels of Prevention, Again, cont.
Chapter Nine The Play Years: Cognitive Development
How Young Children Think: Piaget and Vygotsky • Piaget—Swiss developmentalist • believed young children were limited by their egocentric perspective • egocentrism—Piaget’s term for type of centration in which child sees world solely from his/her personal perspective • Vygotsky—Russian developmentalist • recognized how child’s social/cultural context helps shape his/her cognitive development
Piaget: Preoperational Thought • Preoperational thought—Piaget’s term for cognitive development between 2 and 6 years • characterized by centration, focus on appearance, static reasoning, and irreversibility
Obstacles to Logical Operations • Centration—tendency to focus on one aspect of a situation • Egocentrism or ego-centration—contemplation of the world exclusively from child’s personal perspective • empathy is an exception
Obstacles to Logical Operations, cont. • Focus on appearance—ignores all attributes except appearance • Static reasoning—assumes that the world is unchanging • Irreversibility—fails to recognize that reversing a process can sometimes restore whatever existed before transformation
Conservation and Logic Thinking is intuitive rather than logical Conservation—principle that amount of substance is unaffected by changes in appearance applied to liquids, numbers, matter, length understanding develops after age 7, and then slowly and unevenly
Vygotsky: Children as Apprentices One Theory theory-theory—Gopnik’s term for the idea that children attempt to construct a theory to explain everything they see and hear
Children do not strive alone; their efforts are embedded in social context parents guide young children’s cognitive growth in many ways present new challenges for learning offer assistance and instruction encourage interest and motivation Vygotsky: Children as Apprentices, cont.
Apprentice in thinking—child whose intellectual growth is stimulated and directed by older and more skilled members of society Guided participation—process by which young children, with the help of mentors, learn to think by having social experiences and by exploring their universe Vygotsky: Children as Apprentices, cont.
How to Solve a Puzzle Guidance and motivation structure task to make solution more attainable provide motivation Guided participation partners (tutor and child) interact tutor sensitive and responsive to needs of child eventually, because of such mutuality, child able to succeed independently
Scaffolding Scaffolding—sensitive structuring of child’s participation in learning encounters Zone of proximal development (ZPD)— skills too difficult for child to perform alone but that can be performed with guidance and assistance of adults or more skilled children lower limit of ZPD can be reached independently upper limit of ZPD can be reached with assistance ZPD is a measure of learning potential
Scaffolding, cont. Private speech—internal dialogue when people talk to themselves through which new ideas are developed and reinforced verbal interaction is a cognitive tool Social mediation—use of speech to bridge gap between child’s current understanding and what is almost understood