Infant Development

Introduction

Any individual in the modern world must have originated from some source irrespective of his/her beliefs about mythical, evolution and creation theories. Therefore, the term growth and development is majorly associated with living things. The paper, however, will consider, in isolation, the complex physical and motor, social and emotional processes associated with the growing up of infants as well as early childhood research studies and assessments, as brought out in chapter 2, 5 and 6.

The Where, When, and How of Early Childhood Study and Assessment

Written by Millie Almy and Celia Genishi, Chapter 2 describes the early child development studies. The child study provides teachers with the insight of comprehending the developmental changes in children as well as gasping the relevant concepts of addressing the child’s challenges. The study also presents various openings to scrutinize and examine the behavior and response of children and their teachers.

The teacher’s experience with children and families from various backgrounds makes the children enthusiastic and receptive to such exceptionalities. In addition, we realized that moving children to other social setting far from their parents is the main developmental task of young children. The study enables the parents and the practicing teachers to examine the methods and approaches employed by early childhood experts in assisting young children to adjust to a new setting.

Hence, it helps them in decision-making processes. I have also realized the vital role of early professional researchers in the development of theories on childhood studies whose qualities were confirmed through reliability, objectivity, consistency and validity.

In the children development studies, the research projects employed include correlation techniques, cross- sectional and longitudinal, descriptive studies, experimental and ethnographic research. A correlation study considers the nature of association existing between two sets of measurements. For instance, the good relationship between adults and children is significant in the development social and cognitive aspects among children.

The study, however, shows only the relationships without causes hence it is difficult to rely totally on the study, as it does not give causes of social and cognitive behaviors in children. Cross- sectional study provides information such as height and weight in examining the developmental and behavioral aspects of children at diverse stages with time. Conversely, the study may fail to establish precisely when a child changes. Comparably, cross- sectional study views the behavior of the same child within a short period while longitudinal study seems to consider the effect over a long period.

A descriptive study describes a behavior exclusive of causes and effects. The study employs maturational technique in examining the child’s development in terms of age and readiness for explicit new experiences. Otherwise, an experimental study divides the population under consideration into two randomly selected and designated groups. Moreover, I have realized that the most reliable child study research is ethnographic, which involves logical study of a child within his or her natural setting. Therefore, it prompts researchers to consider factors such as biological, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and psych-cognitive as influencing a child’s environmental aspects. However, the study uses open- ended interviews.

I have also learnt the basic ethical standards about the rights and feelings of young children and their families during research processes. Such standards demand the parental or guardian consent before a researcher begins the study. It also stipulates the duties and the honesty of the researchers. Furthermore, in socio-cultural perspectives, the information from early child development researches are usually subjective hence inappropriate in some applications.

Therefore, sensitivity to socio-cultural perceptions enhances correct explanations of findings by preventing biasness. However, in studying young children, the researchers use formal and informal approaches to assessment. Formal assessment measures a child’s experience using several standardized tests while the latter focuses on what children do and how they do it within developmental domain.

Physical and Motor Development of the Infant

The works of Ralph Emerson, as presented in Chapter 5 sheds light on the physical and motor development of the infant. It also emphasizes on the cultural influences on prenatal and infant intensification and improvement. It goes an extra mile to offer strategies for promoting physical and motor development during the initial stages. I have learned that nature and nurture influences human development as provided in the principles of growth, development, and behavior.

In addition, the study and conservation a bout newborn child is typical and lays the interest on the unique qualities of the child. I have realized that dynamic and constant interactions between biology and experience besides theories provide the perspective of comprehending human development. However, the theories explain how growth proceeds in individual and the emergence of certain unique abilities and talents.

As such, maturations and behaviorist view, that the environment provides several experiences that influence growth and progress irrespective of genetic contents. However, constructivist perspective on cognitive development concerning the subject of augmentation and growth depends on genes and that experience and reinforcement are vital for effective learning. Moreover, the transactional perspective proposes that inherited traits shapes experience, which again influences such traits.

As such, the perspective is highly acknowledged for its aid to the learning of human progress. In addition, the emergence of systems approach has initiated a different dimension of studying child’s growth, development and learning. This perspective considers race and ethnicity, gender, belief and value systems and socioeconomic factors as influencing growth and ontogenesis. Therefore, it does not discriminate because it appreciates uniqueness and personality of a child. The lesson is that no theory is superior as they are interrelated and they borrow from one another.

Although maturation depends on the factors and theories enumerated, the culture and societal backgrounds can influence the advancement of infants. The cultural and societal contexts in which one lives shapes his or her deeds by stipulating healthcare and educational services; family food preferences, meal patterns, composition, values and belief systems and economic status. Therefore, the society should have moral values and beliefs that nurture an infant by giving him or her adequate physical and physiological needs, recreational facilities and opportunities as he or she grows. Even though, human progress varies from an individual to another, the society should not discriminate as such may affect the general well-being of an infant.

Moreover, the physical intensification and progress follows a given pattern. It proceeds from the head downwards and the central axis of the body outwards. The result is the well developed nervous system whose functions includes receiving, interpreting, making decision, organizing and carrying out actions based on the stimuli. In addition, mitosis process leads to continuous provisions of lifetime new cells to the infant. Notwithstanding the development and the coordination of the muscles also occurs. The lesson is that measurement of changes in infancy is in days and weeks, and that an infant is extremely sensitive to touch and often sleep for a period of sixteen hours in a day.

Otherwise, they would develop behavioral styles that help parents to define their problems and respond accordingly. Developmental patterns of infants are never uniform. However, it reaches a stage when a child is physically and psychologically responsive and susceptible to social and emotional influences, which may affect central nervous system. Therefore, parent should take exceptional care as such influences can either hinder or enhance growth processes. If not infant mortality rate may continue to rise.

Social and Emotional Development of the Infant

Chapter 6, which forms part of the works of Carl Sandburg, highlights the social and emotional development of an infant in terms of theories involved, factors that influence such development as well as the roles of adults in shaping social and emotional health of infants. The chapter explores the significance of initial relations to personality development and mental health effects. The lesson is that social and emotional developments study the behavior in a theoretical perspective.

In Freud’s psychoanalytic psychology, behaviors are controlled by insensible desires and unseen motives. As such, developmental stages have conflicts that must be effectively resolved or else a person will have immature forms of behavior at the next stage of life. However, early experiences predict the course and nature of late development and conducts because the psychosexual instincts at birth to maturity. Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development advanced the Feud’s theory. Even though, both highlight the relationship of early experiences, Erikson considers the effects of cultural and societal context on psychosocial developments.

In addition, Piaget’s constructivist theory asserts that the infant realizes the existence of objects and people in the first year of development. Therefore, the infants’ perception of object permanence makes them comprehend that parents exist even in their absence and can return when called. Similarly, attachment theory describes the quality of relations between the child and the parent. As such, children tend to have autonomous affections to both parents based on the interactions they have with each.

Therefore, infants with well-established relations with their parents are more empathetic in their life endeavors. However, Bandura’s socio-cognitive theory stresses the significance of observation and imitation where the role models shape the behavior of children. The lesson is that people use their abilities from experiences to model their behavior. Therefore, they are not passive partakers of information. Infants and children acquire unique characteristics as they socialize with the families and cultural groups. As such may also influence their response to people and events.

I have also understood the concept of bio-ecological theory, which gives insight into infant growth during the first year. During this period, micro system surrounds the infant thus exerts a lot of influence through the family and caregivers. Consequently, infants’ needs, interactive environment and abilities changes as they grow. In addition, such changes may influence the development of brain. There is often periods of vulnerability when a child’s experiences boost his or her development.

As such, the information obtained through the senses and interactions with others stimulates the growth of a complex network of neural connections. Although a child can always learn new ways of thinking and behaving, the fact that neurological development is in a time of intense growth during the first three to ten years suggests the serious need for suitable experiences.

From birth, infants often show unique personality traits. The study of such distinct characteristics has intrigued both researchers and parents. The dimensions of social and emotional development in infancy include infant emotions, social smiling and facial expressions, crying, temperament and interaction patterns and play behaviors. This aims at helping caregivers and parents to respond to the children accordingly. However, social and emotional development in infants is influenced by factors such as the quality and consistency of care, success and quality of bonding and attachments, essential experiences, socio-cultural experiences and interactions that promote social cognition and health.

Based on the expositions afore discussed, the issue of augmentation and maturity varies from one person to another. Therefore, such studies should not only include children from different socioeconomic, cultural and gender groups, but also include all the relevant theories before any universal application. In addition, proper nutrition and care, social and emotional interactions are vital to good health and behavior of a child.