Understand child and young person development 1

Understand child and young person development


See attached form, titled ‘Development 1.1’.


The sequence of development and the rate of development are different from each other.

The sequence in which a child develops may be very similar between all children. One example would be a physical development, where a baby will learn to support their own head before learning to balance and sit up independently. When it comes to mental development, there may be a bit more of a variety within the sequence of events. One child or young person may develop their numeracy skills faster than their literacy, yet another child or young person may develop literacy faster than numeracy.

This is evident within my setting, where I provide extra support for literacy with one child. Though when it comes to numeracy, they can work independently and with confidence. Only needing support to read questions in the form of sentences. There is another child in my setting who is very confident in literacy yet requires more support when in numeracy lessons, where I have a small group I work alongside to help provide better understanding of the task they are working on.

The rate of development has a greater difference within babies, children and young people. This is where everyone will develop at different speeds. Someone who is struggling to learn certain skills within subjects and are taking a long time to develop mental skills, may have grown at a faster rate when it comes to physical growth. Girls and Boys will also have a different growth rate when it comes to physical attributes. A girl’s body will develop maturity earlier than a boy’s body.

Both sequence and rate will have a significant effect on a child or young person’s education and wellbeing. Both factors will affect how they are seen and treated by their peers and may affect how they are treated by their teachers and the wider community. One example would be, where a child has grown physically at a fast rate, they may look older than they are and would then be treated and expected to act and behave more mature than they would normally be for their age. An example of a mental learning at different rates could also affect the way a child feels and is treated by their friends. If a child has a slower learning rate within a specific subject, their friends and peers may get chosen by their teacher to take part in extra curriculum activities relevant to that subject, and the child whose learning at a slower rate may feel left out or feel unhappy over not getting chosen.

2.1 + 2.2

Childrens and young people’s development is influenced by a range of personal factors and external factors.

Personal Factors:

Physical disability – Disabilities can come is many forms and will affect a child or young person’s development in many different ways. An example of this within my setting is with one girl who has a hearing impairment. She currently has a cochlear implant and the teacher has to wear a type of microphone around their neck. This can be hard within some subjects. One that affects myself would be during a swimming lesson. As the hearing aid is not waterproof, the young girl in question has to remove the aid. This makes hearing the instructions harder for her and could also impose a safety risk for hearing the proper safety procedures. Another example within my setting is at lunch times. The whole of key stage 2 does a mile run (this is 4 laps of our school field). If a child has a physical disability that effects their mobility, they would not be able to take part. This can have a knock-on effect with their emotional wellbeing, where they feel left out and can affect their mentality with the rest of the days learning.

Gender – Boys and Girls develop at different rates, both emotionally and physically. This is evident when it comes to handling different situations. An example of this was within my setting we were learning about the different systems within the human body (respiratory, circulatory and digestive). When labelling the internal body part, the mention of the word anus would make most of the boys start giggling. The girls expressed a more mature nature, where they ignored the giggles and continued with their work. Another factor with gender, could be gender stereotyping (both in school and at home). Sometimes parents favour one gender over another and this can be seen by the least favoured sibling, where it can make them feel like they are worth less that the others. Some parents may also give boys more freedoms within the home and local surroundings, when they also restrict what girls are able to do (through fear of predators). This can make girls feel they are being treated unfairly, as they have done nothing to receive this different treatment. It could also make some girls more fearful of their local environment and the wider world. Some girls will be restricted on what clothes they are allowed to wear (a skirt is too short, or a top too revealing). This is also evident within different religions where certain articles of clothing are required, such as head scarves.

Health practises – There are a variety of health practises that could play a part in a child or young person’s development. Do they have a regular pattern of eating (3 healthy meals a day), sleeping for a suitable amount of time for their age, take part in a structured or unstructured physical activities. When a child does not receive the required amount of food or sleep that they need to sustain a healthy lifestyle, they may feel over tired, unwell and this can affect their mental state. They will be less likely to remember any new information or techniques that they have learnt. Their concentration and thought process could also be impacted. This could lead to them feeling anxious about falling behind because they are unable to complete tasks to the same level as their peers. Taking part in a physical activity is very important for a child or young person’s development. Exercising their bodies will help to burn off any excess fats and calories built up to give a healthier life. Taking part in a structured team activity is not only healthy for children and young people, but also gives a sense of achievement. This in turn will help them to feel more confident about themselves. When a team suffers a loss within a game activity, enduring it together can also help to develop strength within themselves. Knowing that you can’t always win, but still continuing instead of giving up is a very strong quality and will help them to feel more confident about themselves and how to handle different emotions.

External factors

Background and family environment – All families go through changes over a child or young person school years. There a break-up within the family where parents go through a bad separation. This can be very disruptive for the children and will distract them from their education and development. Children can feel loss when a parent leaves the family home. If they continue to live with the parent who is leaving then they may find themselves in an unfamiliar environment. Moving schools will also impact the child as they will be moving away from their social circle and may feel like an outsider within their new environment. Moving school may also lead to the new teacher not being aware of the levels of education that they have reached, meaning they will not receive any extra assistance that they may require.

Personal choices – A child or young person’s personal choices will play a big role within their development. The friends they choose can either help or hinder their development. One example would be where a child’s only interaction with their friends outside of school is over the internet on computer games or social media. Not only does this restrict their physical activities but some children are restricted by what their parents/carers allow them to have access to. They may feel left out if all their friends are on a certain game but they cannot afford the game, or they are not allowed it due to age restrictions. Other choices will involve what subjects they select during their secondary education. Different subjects will benefit different types of development. Someone who is looking to become a doctor will be developing their mental abilities at a faster rate than someone who want to work in the sports industries who will be developing their physical abilities.

Education – Children coming from different countries around the world may be entering education for the first time. Their physical development may be equal to others who have been through all the previous years of school life, yet their mental development would be of a different level. This could be restricted more if they are now learning English as a second language. They would be working at a lower age group than their peers, learning to read and write the same as others of their same age learnt to do a few years prior. Being in a new environment would also affect their learning, as they are in an unfamiliar setting where the language barrier limits their social interactions. Moving schools or coming from a home school environment could have an overwhelming affect, as they are not accustomed to the method used within the new setting.


Maslow –

Abraham Maslow was an American Psychologist, born April 1st 1908. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology – 1930, Master of Arts Degree in Psychology – 1931 and a PhD in Psychology – 1934. Where he then went on to be a Professor at Brooklyn college 1937 – 1951 and Brandeis University 1951 – 1961. He passed away June 8th 1970. Maslow is considered to be the founder of humanist psychology.

Maslow’s theory, known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, is a motivational theory of psychology. It explains how people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. It shows the stages of a person’s needs following Physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging, esteem and finally self-actualisation.

Physiological needs – The basic requirements for people to live, such as food, water, air, shelter and sleep.

Safety needs – security, order, law, stability and freedom from fear.

Love and Belonging – friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection, and affiliation (being part of a group: friends, family and work).

Esteem – Maslow classified into two categories: esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement and independence) and the second is the desire for reputation or respect from others. Maslow stated that within children, the need for respect and reputation from others often precedes dignity and achievement for oneself.

Self-actualisation – realising personal potential and a desire, “to become everything one is capable of becoming”.

At first, Maslow believed that people had to complete the first stage within the hierarchy before you could move on to the next stage. He later amended his position on this, realising that individual factors played a part. That with different people, the model was less structured than with others. An example would be where someone values self-esteem or recognition more than they value intimacy.

This has been present within my setting. There is a young girl whose parents have recently separated following domestic abuse. This challenged her feelings of security, stability and left her fearful of what may happen in the future. This followed on to her having less trust in her friends and teachers. She felt that if she didn’t trust anyone, then her trust couldn’t be broken and she wouldn’t get hurt. This then filtered onto her having less independence and loosing reputation from others.

Piaget –

Jean Piaget was a Swiss Psychologist, Scientist and Biologist, born August 9th 1896. He received a doctorate in Zoology – 1918, post-doctoral training in Zurich (1918 – 1919) and in Paris (1919 – 1921). From 1925 to 1929, Piaget worked as a professor of psychology, sociology, and the philosophy of science at the University of Neuchatel. In 1929, Jean Piaget accepted the post of Director of the International Bureau of Education. He became a Professor of the History of Scientific Thought – 1929, Professor of experimental psychology – 1940. From 1952–1963, Piaget taught child psychology at the Sorbonne. In 1955 he created the International Centre for Genetic Epistemology, where he directed until he passed away September 16th 1980.

Piaget’s theory, Cognitive Development. It explains the thought process of a child progressing through their life from birth to 11+. It explains how a child’s mind changes the way they think as they get older, the way their own experiences influence this development. Instead of looking at what the answer was for children being asked questions. He looked at why they answered the way that they did. He noticed that incorrect answers had a connection with other incorrect answers within the same age range. The 4 stages of Piaget’s theory are Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational and Formal Operational.

Sensorimotor – From 0-2 years, Children can start to identify objects, object performance (a ball bounces), that objects still exist when out of sight (a toy in a box doesn’t disappear). They can also start to recognise that they have the ability to control objects (push, pull and throw).

Preoperational – years 2-7, can start relating sounds to objects and actions which develop into words, thinking only about themselves and find it hard to see things from others viewpoints, can categorise items by one characteristic such as colour.

Concrete Operational – years 7 – 11, Children can start using logical thinking to relate previous knowledge to new activities. Can recognise relationships between different things such as numbers, mass and weight. Classify different things into many categorise and place things in sequences such as number or size.

Formal Operational – 11 years plus, children start to think in a logical manner, using deductive reasoning (why and how things happen). They can plan using previous knowledge to predict outcomes and have an understanding of why. Start to think of hypothetical outcome and the future.

I have experienced this theory in practise within my setting. Whilst working within a year 6 classroom (10 – 11-year olds), I have witnessed the transition from Concrete Operational to Formal Operational. Towards the start of the year, children within the class would require things to be explained to them on many occasions, such as methods used for certain numeracy practises and within science when doing experiments. More recently the children have been able to relate previous questions or experiments to new ones, where they have been able to think about and make accurate and detailed predictions without any direction from teachers or classroom assistants. They can also see the relationships of different subjects and how one subject can assist another. One example would be doing an experiment in science, where they were growing mould on slices of bread. They were able to use numeracy skills for measurements of liquids and temperature to accurately perform the experiment and predict the outcomes.

Skinner –

Burrhus Frederick Skinner was an American Psychologist, Behaviourist, Author, Inventor and Social Philosopher. Born March 20th 1904. He received a PhD from Harvard – 1931, He taught at the University of Minnesota and then the Indiana University 1946 – 1947. He returned to Harvard as a Tenured Professor – 1948. He passed away August 18th 1990.

Skinner’s theory, called Operant Conditioning, stated that learning is based off of consequences. This was based on Thorndike’s Law of Effect. Within the Law of Effect, Skinner introduced the new term, Reinforcement. Behaviour that is reinforced tends to be repeated. When the consequence of certain behaviour is not an enjoyable one, that certain behaviour would less likely to be repeated. But, when the consequence is an enjoyable experience, then the behaviour is more likely to be repeated. This was set into 3 different areas: Neutral Operants, Reinforcers and Punishers.

Neutral Operants – responses from the environment that neither increase nor decrease the probability of a behaviour being repeated.

Reinforcers – Responses from the environment that increase the probability of a behaviour being repeated. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative, meaning that your behaviour may give a positive response from your peers (become popular with a certain group), or it could give a negative response from your parents/teachers (get in trouble for bad behaviour).

Punishers – Responses from the environment that decrease the likelihood of a behaviour being repeated. Punishment is not always easy to distinguish between punishment and negative reinforcement, where reinforcement could be getting told off for behaviour, punishment would be having item confiscated or being grounded and not allowed out with friends.

I see this evident within my setting with certain behaviours with different children. Bad behaviour in the classroom during lessons, quite often makes others within the class laugh. This would be a sign of positive reinforcement. Yet for the same activity, the child gets told off by the teacher for their actions, this is negative reinforcement. A form of punishment that sometimes gets introduces is the child in question losing part of their break or lunch time.

Bandura –

Albert Bandura is an American/Canadian Psychologist. Born December 4th 1925. He received a BA from the University of British Columbia – 1949, an M.A. from the University of Iowa – 1951 and a PhD – 1952. He is currently the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University.

Bandura’s theory, called Social Learning, supports Skinner’s theory of Operant Conditioning; however, Bandura adds 2 important ideas to it. This shows that behaviour can be learnt through the observation of others demonstrating the behaviour. The two ideas that Bandura included are Mediational process and Observational learning.

Observational learning – Children pay attention to the behaviour of others around them. When they witness the responses the other child receives, this will allow them to make the decision to imitate the behaviour or not, depending on the response being positive or negative.

Mediational Process – This process is split into 4 sections: Attention, Retention, Reproduction and Motivation. This shows that the observed action has to first grab and hold the attention of those witnessing it, then the ability to remember the action so that it can be imitated at a later date, the third step is the ability to perform the action and lastly is the motivation for the observer to want to perform the action. This depends on the action receiving a positive or negative response.

I witness this within my setting on most days. Ranging from little activities such as not hearing the teacher say to get out your reading books. When a child sees everyone else in the class reading quietly and not receiving a negative response, they tend to follow the action. Another example would be when someone within my classroom setting is behaving in the wrong manner, others witness them being told by the teacher or assistants, they don’t copy the behaviour in order to avoid the same reaction.


There are different methods used for monitoring children and young people’s development