Education of a child is crucial due to the fact that it is a powerful tool of socialization with the help of which the society receives a member that can be multifunctional in a variety of settings. Despite the common belief that the role of school and other educational institutions as well as family, has markedly decreased in their meaning in the integration of an individual, and the meaning of television, media, and popular culture has increased, some factors suggest that education has one of the leading positions in the effective socialization of a person (Emolu, 2014). The book by Eva L. Essa “The Introduction to Early Childhood Education” states that educational activities contribute greatly to the development of all children throughout infancy to teenage years.
The author of the book, Eva L. Essa, is the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), who has been working as a senior lecturer in Nevada, Reno. She has been teaching subjects in the field of childhood education and human development for more than 40 years and has recently retired as Foundation Professor. Dr. Essa has contributed a lot to the research and development of contemporary theories in infancy, early childhood, and adolescence development, and her scientific works and researches were published in different academic books and professional journals.
Dr. Essa wrote the book “The Introduction to Early Childhood Education” in 2012; it is a 272-page comprehensive compilation of the latest researches in childhood development and brain activity that provides an overview of intellectual, physical, language, and social growth of children in relation to the various educational environments (Essa, 2012). The findings have been put together with the personal assumptions of the author, and they are supported by her valuable experience in this field.
Child Development Issues
The author mainly supports the constructivist theory and enriches it with advice on the effective practices to support child’s development throughout different stages of physical and mental growth. It is stated that children all the way from infants to adolescents go through different stages of socialization, which are directly linked to the influence of socio-cultural background, parent communication, environment, and other factors (Essa, 2012).
The author emphasizes that there are psychological stages of development during which individuals establish the basic guidelines in relation to their social environment and themselves in the first place. The formation of personality begins in early childhood and runs through the entire life cycle. Depending on the educational environment, the child’s personality development acquires its own parameters that can take either positive or negative values (Essa, 2012).
The first stage of development of a child usually covers the first year of life. During this period, the development of social interaction parameter is most crucial, the positive pole of which is trust, and the negative one is distrust. The degree of confidence that the child permeates to the outside world, to others and to him or herself is largely dependent on the care exhibited to him or her.
It should be emphasized, that the matter of prevalence of one trait to another cannot be considered final in the first years of life, but it can either intensify or alter at each subsequent stage of development (Essa, 2012). The author highlighted that if the child has not developed trust in the first years of life, he or she can gradually feel the confidence in his or her first teachers that do not allow injustice to children. In this aspect, it is important what techniques and approaches educational practitioners use.
Every educator should plan and modify the curriculum in such a way so as not to leave any child behind. This is especially crucial for children with disabilities as their socialization should be approached more carefully (Essa, 2012). In addition, the author emphasizes that it is necessary to pay attention to children from families with a complicated background, for instance, those undergoing a divorce. It is because children use egocentric approach within the first ten years of life and they project the divorce of parents with their own misbehavior; respectively, this complicates the emotional development of the child and produces distrust in the outside world.
The second stage covers the development of second and third years of life. During this period, the child develops independence through the progressing of his or her motor and mental abilities (Essa, 2012). At this stage, the child exercises a variety of movements and seeks to execute independence. If parents let children do something and not rush them, the infants would get the feeling that they own their muscles and the environment as well; thus, it will enable raising their independence (Emolu, 2014).
However, if educators or parents are impatient and do not let the child do something he or she is capable of, the child would develop modesty and indecisiveness. If the family and educational environment prevent children from showing independence, they will consolidate a sense of shame and the lack of confidence in the ability to govern themselves and the environment. If this stage of development passes with a high degree of uncertainty, it will respond adversely in the future as the person will experience the lack of self-reliance in teen ages and further in the adult ages (Essa, 2012).
In addition, the book states that development of a sense of shame does not happen because of the lack of independence exclusively. Every educator should promote diversity and encourage other children to accept differences between people. Thus, an inclusive approach should be applied to any educational activity.
The third stage of development is between the ages of four to five years, and it is associated with the ingenuity of a child. The social setting of the stage develops in a child the initiative spirit at one extreme, and the feeling of guilt at the other (Essa, 2012). The importance of this stage is linked to the dependence of the reactions that parents and the environment show and the qualities that outweigh in the child’s character. That is to say, children, who are given the initiative in the choice of motor activity, develop and consolidate proactivity.
The fourth stage is the age between six and eleven years old, which are the years of elementary school. During this period, education should encourage the development of a child’s ability for deduction, meaning organized games and regulated occupations. At this age, the child’s environment is no longer confined to the home (Essa, 2012). Along with the family, a crucial role is given to other public and educational institutions. The presence of a child in the school and the attitude that he or she meets there has a major impact on the balance of the mind.
It should be noted that the author stressed out that language greatly supports the physical and mental development of a child during socialization as it is a means of interaction with people and the environment. For that reason, it is crucial to support the language needs of children through corresponding activities while paying special attention to bilingual kids and to those for whom English is not their first language.
The author of the book explained that any language limitations and miscommunication might lead to the feeling of shame and guilt and the inclusive activities that would eliminate the language barrier are essential at every stage of early childhood development (Essa, 2012). In general, the aim of the educational practitioner is to endorse any existing diversity and emphasize it in the high-quality programs.
The author suggests various age-appropriate means such as videos, flashcards, physical and mental exercises according to the current needs of children (Essa, 2012). In addition, parents should recognize the stages of development and their implications and, if they face any difficulty, it is the task of the practitioner to educate the parents on this issue. The successful socialization of any child includes the joint effort of the family, educational institution, and society.
Socialization of a child is one of the most complex and multidimensional processes. The further development and growth of the child as an individual depend directly on the success of his or her integration into the society. According to the book, socialization is a prolonged historically conditioned process during which a person perceives and absorbs a certain system of norms, values, and knowledge of the culture in which he or she lives (Essa, 2012).
In the early childhood, development of children depends entirely on the social conditions of their life. The older the child becomes, the more he or she meets the environmental changes in the mode of the day, the system of behavioral reactions and so on, which lead to the need to establish social relationships and to adapt to the new conditions of life. Socialization begins with the first years of life, and this process becomes more complex and diverse due to certain difficulties and aspects. Often children and their parents need to be supported and directed; therefore, pre-school as well as school environment should be a psychological safety area.
Emolu, E. (2014). Plays, toys and gender socialization. Journal Plus Education, 11(2), 22-30.
Essa, E. L. (2012). Introduction to early childhood education (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.