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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Each “domain” of development, referred to as social, cognitive, language, emotion and physical development is dependent on and influences the other. And it is recognized that Child Development does not happen in isolation, but in the context of the child's family and culture, or ‘social environment'. There is much truth in the old adage that it takes a village to bring up a child. Interactions between the child's family, extended family, community, peers and teachers, to name a few, have a considerable influence on the development of the child; their examples paving the way for how the child progresses, learns, expresses himself, perceives himself and interacts with others. Growth refers to physical changes and size occurring throughout a person's life. Development is concerned with how organisms change over time; and brain development in early childhood underpins future mental and physical health and development, learning and behavior. children learn largely as a result of experience – but how they learn and develop is, of course, also dependent on genetic makeup. Whatever the genetic makeup of a child, the more quality learning opportunities are presented to them in a safe and comfortable environment, the better their development and learning will be. The majority of children develop through a predictable sequence of stages; nevertheless, one should perceive each child as a “whole”; someone uniquely predisposed to genetics, cultural and social experiences and expectations, and as a result the time it takes to move through the sequence will differ from child to child. It is important for a teacher to comprehend the development stages, and the ranges within, in order to be able assess if the child's development is within the normal range, and what action to take if it is not, the child's progress, and determine what level of lesson or play to provide. Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917 – 2005) whose Ecological Systems Theory was based on the belief that development is influenced by the child's interaction with their environment, and he highlighted how important it is for educators to understand the architecture of the brain and how human relationships and the environment impact on brain development. The more senses involved in a learning situation the more likely the child is to process the information. This philosophy is alluded to in tefl, where we are taught to incorporate music, dance and rhythm, repetition, flash cards, brightly coloured wall posters and so on into our lessons. If the children are feeling comfortable and safe in their learning environment; and the environment is stimulating, fun and exciting – they are going to respond and learn so much more. Earlier educational theorists, Piaget and Vygotsky both made significant contributions to our understanding of cognitive development in children, strongly influencing the foundations of early childhood education. Piaget believed that language is an expression of thought - learning having occurred through actively seeking information from an unstructured environment with little or no adult intervention, whereas Vygotsky believed that a structured environment combined with ‘more knowledgeable others' (such as adults, older children, teachers, or information accessed electronically) played a significant role in the development of the higher order knowledge and skills. One important thing we learn from this is that children Do learn and develop through exploration (of the environment); that adults' (or more intelligent others) input Does have a tremendous influence on the child's development, but that the adult must not be too quick to intervene and allow the child to work things out for himself. To think. Piaget believed that language came from the thought process but it is now accepted that language is pivotal to the development of thinking. The ‘richer' the environment, the more we talk, sing, interact and communicate with children, the more positive opportunities and experiences we provide them the healthier and more rounded their development will be. Part of this development, of course, is language. The more language they learn, the more complex their thought process will be, the more they are able to problem solve, express themselves and build on what they already know. children develop better when they have a strong sense of well being which affirms how important home and the social environment are to the child's wellbeing and development.