A holistic approach to a child’s development is by addressing the child as a whole, allowing them to develop in all areas, encountering their interdependency and neurological pathways and development which all are interlinked; allowing the areas of development to be met at the correct stage. When a child develops, there are four areas of development these being: personal, social, emotional needs, physical, speech, language, communication and cognitive development.
When a baby is born, a baby is born with all their brain cells, however, they need to be connected for them to develop and learn, which will help with them develop in a holistic manner. However, not all of the brain cells are connected with one another as there are no neurological pathways. Neurological pathways are cells which interlink with one another from experiences or repetition. Once a baby or child has developed a connection (neurological pathway) then the baby or child will be able to repeat this throughout life as a connection would have been made. Majority of the connections ‘are made during infancy and early years childhood’ (Carolym Meggit, Tina Bruce. (2015) pg 23), most of the connections that are made at this age are early years experiences which are vital for a healthy brain. On the other hand, every new experience that creates a pathway can change our behaviour, which will help with the child’s learning rate. This is why repetition is important as it allows the pathways and neurons to strengthen, which will enable the impulses to travel along the neurological pathways more easily and efficiently. Neurological pathways interlink with a child’s areas of development as it allows the child’s interdependency to become stronger allowing all four areas to be developed correctly.
A child’s development can be split up into four specific areas and can all relate to one another. All areas of development are interdependency and can help with a child’s academic development. All areas of development overlap with each other. A child’s speech, language and communication all refer to the way in which children begin to understand how communicating and interacting with others works. During a child’s first years of life, a child attention to the environment is important as from birth to 6 months babies will begin to interact with others by looking and listening. They may also interact vocally by gurgling or babbling to people they recognise. Babies who are 6 to 12 months will begin to develop further and understand simple language from familiar people, this will allow the babies to start to communicate back with more sounds which may include talking to themselves. A child who is older between 2-4 their range of vocabulary will be expanding and they will begin to understand more objects and the use of them allowing them to create their own actions. At the age of 4 a child will become more aware of their own thoughts and control their behaviour as ‘language seems to help children to control and regulate their own behaviours’ (Tassoni, (2016), pg 21), this is because they will be able to use words or expressions to explain how they are feeling but may sometimes be unaware of more irregular ways of speaking. Physical Development is the growth and progression of the body over time and can also relates to fine and gross motor skills as well as sensory development. Fine motor skills are skills which involve movements of the body and the coordination of small muscles, whereas gross motor skills involve large movements and coordination of the body. Physical development can be introduced in to different activities that include fine and gross motor skills, ‘doing things with paint and clay or standing still all help to develop children’s fine motor and gross motor skills’ (Tanossi 2017 pg 21), creative actions can help physical development as it allows children to explore all types of media whilst still developing their physical skills. From birth to 6 months a baby’s physical development will begin to develop quickly as basic reflexes will be learnt, for example, keep their head up and move it side to side. Where a baby who is aged between 6 to 12 months is going to be able to have developed more in the physical development as they will have continued to develop their own strength, and be able to hold and bear their own weight in unsupported movements (sitting upright unsupported). However, an older child aged between 2-5 is going to have developed physical development more as they are going to be more independent and be able to run or climb as well as having more awareness of their surroundings and also taking risks. Another area of development is cognitive development, this is the process of thoughts which may include: problem-solving or decision making, so ‘encouraging babies and toddlers to explore the relationship between shape, size and speed’ (Tanossi 2017 pg 21), will allow them to develop there thinking patterns and understand or predict how things work; allowing them to reach their milestones for their age group. As children’s minds develop they will begin to think in a more abstract way allowing them to understand topics, rules and discuss their own opinion. This will, therefore, be allowing their concentration levels to be kept for a longer periods of time. The final area of development is Personal, Social and Emotional Development, babies and children will develop in this area as it will allow them to have the greater perception of their own identity and the way they think about themselves. This will help them with their own feelings and will allow them to be more aware of other too. Babies that are 1 to 2 years old may still be shy when in a situation with people they aren’t familiar with, however introducing babies to unfamiliar people will allow them to develop their own independence. Whereas children aged between 2-4 are more likely to still be developing on understanding their emotions and how they can control them, but these aspects will develop through playing cooperatively and enjoying solitary play. Children at this age may also begin to express their likes and dislikes and show them very strongly this is just them developing and becoming more confident. All of these areas of development interlink or overlap with one another as they all have influences on one another. Physical development interlinks with all of the other areas of development as the brains motor skill naturally affect the development throughout patterns and also influences on their behaviour. Cognitive development interlinks with personal, social and emotional development as it allows the development to be about the mind and being able to think and reason, giving them the ability to understand there’s and other emotions and feelings.
From birth to seven years a lot of changes and the difference can occur during their development, which can include all areas of development. From birth to 6 months a baby can begin to develop and start to express pleasure through total body movement. This is a development for personal, social and emotional as it allows them to demonstrate independence and a feel-good factor about themselves. Another development that a baby may show from birth to 6 months is being able to sit with support. This is a physical development as it requires the muscle and coordination of the body to use. Encouraging a child to sit up will allow them to develop good back posture and correct positioning for joints and muscles. It will also encourage the baby to use their strength more. From 6 months to 12 months a baby is to develop but is showing changes in development as they are able to do a lot more without the support and show more independence. A baby at 6 to 12 months is able to sit unattended as they have developed enough strength. They are also able to feed themselves with their fingers. Both of these are developments and different from birth to 6 months as the baby encouraging the baby to become more independent and encourage them to explore different aspects. A child aged 1 to 3 years is going to be a lot more advanced in their development as they will be able to achieve all the developments a younger baby can do (birth to 12 months) with confidence. At this age, a child can begin to walk and follow stories or rhythms that include repetition. ‘Acting out stories and taking on character roles help children develop language and comprehensive skills’ (Mountain (2017, pg 24) this will allow the children to become more aware of different ways of telling their favourite stories, it will also enable them to become more confident and develop their imagination of the character they are acting out. The development changes from 6 months to 12 months to 1-3 years is big. The changes in development are different as the rate of a child’s development begins to increase so that they are able and ready enough to progress on to others and other situations such as going to school. From 3-5 years children are beginning to prepare for pre-school or school and are developing their sense of balance and sense of humour. This is important for a child to develop as it can allow them to begin to take risks and show how their milestones are being met. From 5-7 years a child is basically able in most areas of development and it’s just a case of developing them further. Throughout birth, to 7 years there are many differences and changes in development as there continuing to develop at a rapid rate.
On a whole, the way a child develops depends on their rate of progress and how each milestone has met and whether the neurological pathways have been created. If a child’s development is met at each stage then their holistic development will be improved allowing them to achieve and adapt to the changes and differences throughout.