Human Development Culture and society have profound influences on a child’s growth and development and are important considerations for early childhood teachers if they wish to better understand children and provide higher quality early childhood education and services to children and their families, (Et Warlike, Ministry of Education, 1996). One particular example of the effect that culture and society can have on the growth and development of a child Is child-rearing practices.
Different cultural groups and societies have diverse styles of child-rearing practices which are uniquely influenced y a range of values, beliefs and dominate assumptions (Beer, 2003). A significant factor in view of child-rearing practices is the role of the family. Different cultures and societies have different ideas about the nature of a family. Some cultures value a nuclear family, while others are more accepting of families which are extended, (Papilla & Olds, 1998).
The decisions adults make about a child’s growing independence will also vary. In some cultures, decisions are made based upon age or gender, where for some the child’s ability will be the most important factor (Beer, 003). Frontbenchers Ecological Systems Theory is very useful for the study of child development within a social and cultural context as it provides a framework which acknowledges the entirety of a child’s world and the vast array of social and cultural Influences on a child’s growth and development, (Beer, 2003).
Frontbencher described his theory as Involving “the scientific study of the progressive, mutual accommodation between an active, growing human being and the changing properties of 2 the Immediate settings In which the developing person lives, as this process Is effected by relations between these settings, and by the larger contexts In which the settings are embedded”, (Frontbencher, 1979, p. 1 Brotherliness’s theory involves the identification of specific systems, which are the Microsystems, Microsystems, Ecosystem, Microsystems and Chronometers. Each of these systems has a specific level of Influence on a child’s growth and development and will be used to critically analyses child rearing practices and the some of the effects on physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development. The Microsystems includes the immediate environmental settings that the child articulates in, such as the early childhood setting and home.
A child’s physical development within the home is influence not only by child rearing practices but also by caregivers attitudes towards physical growth and development. These attitudes can Influence the provisions within the environment to support physical social and cultural context. Beer, (2003) suggests that a caregivers level of education has a significant effect on way growth and development is supported in the child’s Microsystems.
In relation to physical development, if a caregiver is educated in and ware of certain physical developmental milestones, they may seek to give the child an environment more conducive to extending on the child’s development stage, such as safe areas to practice walking, or a small rail to climb up on, A parent’s education does not guarantee positive outcomes however as they may have read 3 literature with competing claims as to the right or wrong ways to raise a child or support growth and development. An educated parent may however be able to make more informed choices, (Beer, 2003).
A study in which child-rearing techniques and he support offered for children to develop innumeracy skills was examined found children from different cultures and societies are involved in a range of different activities in the home, which either aid or inhibit cognitive development in relations to innumeracy. For example children who have access to the kitchen when meals are being made and are allowed to participate or observe are exposed to specific knowledge about counting and measuring that children denied access to the kitchen will not have.
Thus there is a clear link between child rearing practices, child interactions and children developing a wide range of cognitive skills. Child rearing practices which include a lot of child involvement encourage a child’s exploration, extend cognitive development and help to extend new skills (Chou, Human, Wang, Wang, Chaos, Yang and Yang, 2006). Many features of child rearing practices are not only dependent on the education of the caregivers, but also how the caregivers themselves have been raised.
If caregivers were raised with an awareness of the value of nutritious meals they will be more likely to provided good nutrition to their children and help children reach optimal levels of physical growth (Beer, 2003) If receivers value physical activity themselves, or participated in it regularly as a child, they will be more likely to provide an environment where a child can engage physically, such as a bike to ride, or sports equipment. This is all dependent 4 however, on such factors as the health of the parents and/or the level of household income which may be different from that experienced by the caregiver as a child.
Even the most physically active caregivers may not be able to support the child to engage in sporting activities which require specific gear, fees, or costly trips to the local pools. If however child rearing practices encourage children even to engage in simple outside play, such as running, or climbing a tree a child’s physical development will still develop further than a child whose family lives a very sedentary lifestyle (Papilla and Olds, 1998).
If a child has many varied opportunities to practice and extend their physical skills within their Microsystems this will encourage the child’s overall physical development, (Beer, 2003). The Microsystems reefer’s to the interconnections between the micrometeorites, such as the relationships between a child’s caregivers and preschool teachers or a child’s caregivers and their hill’s development in relation to social and emotional growth and development, (Papilla and Olds, 1998).
If a caregiver has positive relationships in the Microsystems they not only role model positive interactions and the development of relationships for the child, but are more likely to have support systems and thus reduced stress levels, which help increase warmth towards and involvement with the child and decrease parental harshness and inconsistency, which from a child rearing perspective, can produce negative consequences for a child’s emotional and social development, such as disobedience, rebellion, demanding and dependent behavior and poor persistence with tasks, (Beer, 2003).
When a child is witness to positive interactions between a caregiver and a teacher, or other people in the child’s Microsystems, it can serve as an example for how positive relationships are formed and maintained, (Oregon, 2003). If however the relationships between the child’s Microsystems are not healthy, it can have a negative impact on the child’s social and emotional development and individualized care that early childhood teachers provide (Beer, 2003).
Caregivers who lack positive relationships tit teachers may not share important information regarding the child, leaving teachers uninformed about factors affecting a child’s behavior, therefore unable to react appropriately and support the child,(MoE, 1998).
Stress at home between parents, or family members, a child having lost a loved one, or having had a fight with a sibling, or even having not had breakfast that morning are all valuable pieces of information that can help caregivers and teachers co-operate and be more responsive to the social and emotional needs of perhaps upset or tired children, and hush support positive growth and development by providing an opportunity for the child to talk about concerns, or even simply things such as offering a snack or the opportunity for a rest which would be in the child’s best interests for positive growth and development (Beer, 2003).
The Ecosystem refers to the settings that a child does not directly interact with but which impact the child indirectly, such as the workplace of the child’s caregivers, or decisions of local councils such as raising fees to the local pool, increasing rates, or cutting back funding to the 6 local library. These settings and decisions, though not directly involving the child have an impact upon such things as the stress levels of caregivers financially, or emotionally, the ability to extend a child’s physical development at the swimming pool or the child’s cognitive development through wider learning available at the library.
Beer, (2003) also notes that a council’s attitude towards the upkeep of local neighborhoods, the development of playgrounds and the support for local community centers can affect children indirectly. Beer, 2003, sites several studies which have found that neighborhoods with dilapidated housing, schools, parks, laggardness, and community centers can dishearten caregivers and lead to more children to increase, such as detachment and disruptive behavior.
On the other hand, if parents have positive networks outside of the home, such as their workplace, this provide better support systems for the parents and they may be encouraged by others in the workplace who share parenting techniques, therefore reducing the impact of ineffective parenting skills which are stressful to the child and can result in a release of cortical which inhibits the ability of the brain to learn, ultimately inhibiting a child’s cognitive development, (Papilla and Olds, 1998) The Microsystems involves the wider social and cultural systems in which the child is raised such as the cultural values and ideologies of the child’s caregivers as members of a society with such over arching influences such as Government policy. The child-rearing practices of a society have far reaching influences on the growth and development of a 7 child. For example, society will generally dictate what is or is not acceptable behavior in social settings, how to react to or relate to strangers, how to show hysterical or emotional affection and which childrearing practices are acceptable or not. For example, in some countries smacking a child is acceptable, whilst in New Zealand laws have been passed recently which make using certain levels physical force to discipline a child illegal (Lawrence and Smith, 2009).
These kinds of influence in a child’s Microsystems will influence caregivers who wish to abide by the law and adjust their child rearing practices accordingly, however these influences will have little effect on caregivers who are not aware of the changes or choose to ignore them. Children who are subject to physical abuse or maltreatment present characteristics such as a difficult temperament, inattentiveness and over activity and developmental delays with speech and/or physical growth (Beer, 2003). There is a clear link between the acceptance of child abuse or maltreatment within a society and the social, emotional and physical growth and development of children.
Societies which view violence as an appropriate way to deal with conflict are more likely to have child maltreatment occur,(Beer, 2003). Another example of the wider influence of the Microsystems on the growth and development of the child is a government’s provision and attitude towards healthcare. If a government is provides free healthcare to children they are more likely to have positive outcomes with physical and cognitive development. If a government also invests in campaigns design to uplift the well being of a child, such as oral hygiene messages, or law such as compulsory child restrains in motor vehicles they have a positive impact on children in 8 general. Rival & Grossman, 1996) Even such things as the body shapes that a society values, such as a value on larger shaped within pacific communities or the activities that boys and girls are expected to participate in, such as either rugby or netball, are all aspects of social and cultural values and beliefs represented within the Microsystems influence a child’s development (Beer, 2003) The Chronometers is the final system of Frontbenchers ecological model and refers to temporary changes in the time and place in which a child’s development occurs. Events such as development, (Frontbencher, 1979). An example of this may be a child who is born into a depression where food is scarce and thus may be malnourished, preventing optimal physical growth. In the same way changes in the live events of a child such as the birth of a sibling, the beginning of school or a parents’ divorce will all have significant affects on a child.