Childhood development refers to various changes in growth that occur in children, starting from infancy and running all through to adulthood. Childhood development occurs in stages, and involves emotional and social development, approaches to learning, general knowledge and thinking capabilities, language, literacy and communication, and also the physical well-being, health and movement. Approaches to learning is a crucial stage in the development of a child as it determines the child’s ease of learning and knowledge acquisition all through his/her life. The paper addresses this stage of child development and by doing so seeks to explain the relevance of approaches to learning to the ones proposed by McDevvit. Consequently, the paper seeks to illustrate why the approaches to learning stage is very important in the development of a child and also puts across some learning objectives of the topic of childhood development.
Every child is an active learner and acquires intelligence from social experiences, physical experiences and culturally transmitted knowledge, which aids the child to have his/her own perception and interpretation of the universe around him/her. As time goes by, the child advances in learning as she/he gets the opportunity to practice all the skills he/she has garnered from these three kinds of experiences. This is in line with Sigmund Freud’s assertion that a child acquires knowledge through emotional, social and even cultural interactions (Swabey, 2013). During their infancy stages, toddlers exhibit eagerness and curiosity through a range of activities such as gazing at people, paying attention to any sound which may be produced within his/her environment, for example, the ticking of a clock, or responding to the actions or voice of his/her caregiver (North Carolina Division of Child Development, 2008). Through studying such activities, an infant may start developing some skills such as making facial expressions which demonstrate their liking or disliking of a certain activity, these expressions are always a result of mimicking his/her caregiver’s reaction. In addition, the child may also start getting engaged in activities which attract the attention of the caregivers and at times try to get the caregivers involved in their activities by, for instance, throwing toys and then prompting the caregiver to get them back to him/her. As a means of trying to socialize with people around him/her, a child may also gaze at people in an effort to study them and also draw closer to the familiar ones without showing any fear.
Infants also learn to take risks and even develop confidence in the activities they engage in through trying to implement several approaches for attaining what they may be in need of (North Carolina Division of Child Development, 2008). Such approaches include, crying as they point to a toy so as to force the caregiver to give it to them or even crawling towards where the toy is; an infant may also be delighted while repeating such an action so as to build confidence as the caregiver will always respond in a positive manner once he/she cries. With time, the infant also learns how to attract the attention of the people around him/her by either imitating the actions of those around him or making some noises so as to draw their attention. These experiences help the young one determine which actions can draw the attention of the people around him/her and he/she, therefore, keeps repeating them if the results turn out to be positive. At the creativity and invention stage, the young one starts using any materials around him/her in a new way and begins to pretend quite often. For instance, the child might start beating a drum with a spoon instead of using the drumstick; the child may also curl a rope in a snake-like manner or even try acting a scene he/she may have seen on television. Finally, the child ascertains his/her dislikes and likes in the delight and wonders stage by either smiling, giggling or even laughing at the activities he/she considers to be pleasurable and also showing lack of interest in the activities he/she may interpret as boring.
The concepts discussed above are quite similar to the concepts on childhood development put across by McDevvit, Ormond, Cupit, Chandler and Aloa. These scholars propose that within a few weeks after birth, a young child is able to distinguish familiar faces and unfamiliar ones in his/her environment and, for instance, resist from interacting with the unfamiliar ones by crying (McDevvitt et al., 2012). In addition, they argue that babies are driven by an innate desire to know everything within their environment by either touching or even tasting anything they can get hold of and thus affirming the concept of curiosity and eagerness as explained above. McDevvitt et al. (2012) also argue that children start trying out new roles in their lives by viewing imagination and drama as key concepts of life which also affirms the child’s activities as discussed in the creativity and invention stage above.
My choice for this topic was anchored on the desire to understand how a child acquires knowledge since learning is a lifetime process which starts as soon as a child is born and keeps advancing as a child progresses to adulthood. Knowledge gained from this topic is crucial to every individual as it helps him/her understand the basic the traits of a young one as he/she advances in learning. This helps an individual engage a child in positive activities such as playing or even acting which in turn motivates an infant for such activities which may eventually end up as a source of livelihood for the child later in his/her life. For instance, as a result of encouraging the child to play football at a young age, the child might in adulthood become a professional football player.