Theoretical Approaches to Development and Learning Assessment Reports 1, 2 and 3 Karen Lindsay Psychosocial Theories of Erik Erikson Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1902. His association with Psychology began when he met one of our most renowned theorist’s daughters, Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund. He was an artist and teacher who through persuasion from Anna went on to study child psychoanalysis at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute.
He continued his studies in the United States in the early sass’s Joining the faculty of medicine at Harvard before moving onto Yale University, it was here that he became interested in the influence of culture and society on child development and through this learning he went on to write his acclaimed first book, Childhood and Society. This book published in 1950 has been rendered a classic by educators, psychologists, and sociologists.
Erosion’s theories are that of psychosocial development, which he named the Eight Ages of Man, it covers the entire life span of a human being, showing how children develop the foundations for emotional and social development and mental health. The basis of his theory is that there is a task that must be accomplished at ACH stage of development, at each stage they form personality strengths or weaknesses based on the completion of each stage.
Unfortunately at that time the Nazis were gaining strength in Austria as well as in Germany, and in 1933 Erikson and his wife left for Copenhagen. But psychoanalysis was in official disavows there, and the Danish government refused to give Erik a work permit, so he decided to move to America. He set up his own child analysis centre and was applauded for his successful treatment with both adults and children, it was here that he carried out most of his research before working for the Harvard medical faculty and later onto Yale.
Like Sigmund Freud, Erikson conceptualized personality development as proceeding through a series of distinct stages, with the possibility of becoming fixated at a given stage when the individual is unable to cope effectively with that stage’s distinctive developmental crisis. But whereas Freud focused on what he called psychosocial” stages and crises, Erikson concluded that those early developmental stages were much broader in scope, involving “psychosocial” crises as well. In the early sass’s when Erikson moved to America he had little in the way of academic qualifications, he did however have was a Interiors diploma.
Having researched and read Erosion’s studies I can see a lot of correlations between his theories and that of Maria Interiors teachings. Both theorists believed in encouraging independence from a young age, this is something that is very prevalent in my nursery as it is a partnership Interiors nursery. Materials and equipment are easily accessible, children know where to find things and also that they have to put it away when it is done. The emphasis is on the child being a ‘little adult’, this supports Erosion’s development of initiative.
He also said that teachers can encourage children to be independent, focus on new skills and not on the mistakes they make along the way, set realistic/age appropriate expectations for children’s individual abilities and to focus the curriculum on real things and on doing. All these are synonymous with the ‘Interiors Method’. It is clear that Erikson made a lot of headway with regards to psychosocial development at a time when there was little understanding or sympathy to the needs of young children.
A lot of his work resonates with my own beliefs and understandings with regards to child development. From a young age I believe an attachment needs to be made quickly with the parent and those who care for the infant. I also don’t think that a baby should be left to cry itself to sleep or that as a parent you shouldn’t respond to those cries as it will lead to neediness, it is at these stages that trust is formed. I am hugely in favor of the studies of Erik Erikson and Greer with what his studies have given to educators, researchers and psychologists.
I have taken a quote from an article published in 2011 on “Linking the Brain Principles to Hall-Quality Early C education”, ten autonomous write: “Neurologists now understand that the brain’s neurons continue to both develop (plasticity) and disappear (pruning) throughout most of our lives. However, we experience the greatest growth-and a high volume of pruning-in early childhood… This process slows down somewhat after birth. However, up until the age of 12, pathways continue to be formed and…. Develop as the child interacts with the environment.