Teach English in Chengguan Zhen - Ankang Shi

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The positive development of a child is based on three overarching themes; firstly, each child develops at his own rate. Secondly, both Nature and Nurture impact development and thirdly, all domains of development are connected and important. A child must develop at her own pace. We must not ever push development before a child is ready. However, we can promote the balanced neurodevelopment of a child and in so doing, we may prepare her to optimally respond and interact with her environment in order to allow a more timely and ready development respecting the fundamental milestones of early childhood. The motor system is what drives brain development; children need to move in order to build their brain and nervous system. Each child is born with Primary Reflexes; spontaneous basic movements of the body, which allow the engagement of the sensory system which in turn activates the motor system. Motor movement is responsible for and promotes brain growth through Synaptogenisis; the creation of new connections between the brain cells. At birth, the child has very few connections, by fifteen months he has a good amount and by two-three years of age, he has 90% of his adult brain size. This massive growth and amount of connectivity occurs after birth and is due to the motor movement of the body in it’s environment, stimulating further the sensory – motor circuit which activates and promotes brain growth and neurodevelopment. In this way, physical activity and healthy energy promoting nutrition are what children need to optimize their individual rate of development. The nature of a child can be defined as behaviors due to genetic makeup which influence the child’s growth and development while the nurture of a child is the causes of behavior that are environmental and experiential; In other words, influences from family, friends and all experiences he is exposed to. A child’s development and intellectual level is determined by both inborn intelligence and environmental factors. The Nature versus Nurture debate with regard to child development is a long time controversy researched through numerous twin studies which show that the environment influences child development just as much if not more than the genetic makeup of a child. In this way, we may optimise a child’s positive development by controlling and promoting a balanced home and social environment whilst exposing the child to as many healthy stimuli as possible. This may be achieved through abundant parental, sibling, peer interaction, healthy positive home and learning environments and exposure to interesting and engaging experiences. There are five major domains in the complete development of a child. These domains can be considered as five slices which must all come together to make up a complete pie. The domains; physical, social, cognitive, communicative and adaptive development, are all equally important in ensuring the completion of developmental milestones. Physical development includes mastering movement, balance and gross motor skills (eg. Crawling, walking, jumping) and fine motor skills (eg. hand-eye coordination, precise muscle movement in colouring, cutting with scissors, tearing paper). Social and Emotional development is the ability to make and maintain relationships. This includes cooperation and conflict resolution skills as well as showing empathy for others. This domain is developed through playing with others and can be taught especially through example by using manners and kind, considerate behavior. Cognitive development includes learning and thinking skills which are enhanced through focus and attention span. The most significant learning in this developmental domain is cause and effect and reasoning which are aptitudes that will go on to develop more advanced intellectual skills as the child grows. Communicative/Language development includes the skills of understanding the spoken word and verbal expression. This domain is significantly developed through reading and talking regularly with the child, as well as, conversing abundantly within the family. Watching and hearing parents speak to one another is the first exposure children have to language. Once again, setting an example of polite, respectful conversation gives the child the appropriate communicative skills to carry into the wider world. A perfect example is the use of the magic words; “please” and “Thank-you”. Adaptive developmental skills refer to self-help skills such as dressing, eating, toileting and washing. This domain is fundamental in the development of the child’s autonomy and independence; two elements which are essential for the child’s further personal growth and learning. These developmental domains interrelate and overlap as learning occurs. In conclusion, child development may be optimized by promoting physical activity, maintaining a stimulating, balanced environment and finally, providing the child with guidance and teachings, also by example. All of the three aforementioned elements are equally important in the full development of the child, forming the solid groundwork for the child to grow into her full potential.