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At this point in my studies, my philosophy of child development most correlates with Jean Piaget's philosophy. The Cognitive Development Theory proposed by Jean Piaget describes how the mind is able to process new information when it is encountered. He believed that intelligence is a fixed trait while interaction with the environment and others is a determining factor. It is an interesting view into how the mind develops from birth to age 15 (Herr, 79-80).

Piaget's philosophy closely matches my philosophy of child development because I too see that children learn in different stages. My son is 9 months old and as such a small being he interprets the world in a completely different way than I. As an infant in the sensorimotor stage he is just learning about himself and his environment, differentiating himself from the things he has discovered. Experiences differ on the journey to maturity, where a small child is unable to classify or grasp the meaning of objects an older one in the concrete operations stage will be able to think in an abstract nature.

This theory is more important to me than the other's because I have seen it in practice in my observations of children in multiple age groups. I believe that is a good tell of the different phases throughout childhood and what they mean in terms of cognition. I anticipate learning more about his theory during my educational career and being able to interpret it in a better fashion. I'd like to learn more about Piaget's other theories and how they may interact with the Cognitive Development Theory.


Herr, Judy. (2008). Working with Young Children. (6th Edition, 79-80). Tinley Park, Illinois: The Goodheart-Wilcox Co.
All traits depend both on genetic and environmental factors. Heredity and environment interact to produce their effects. This means that the way genes act depends on the environment in which they act. In the same way, the effects of environment depend on the genes with which they work.

Heredity refers to the genetic inheritance received by every individual at the time of conception while the environment includes all the extrinsic forces, influences, and conditions which affect the life, nature, behavior, the growth, development, and maturation of living organism. Hence, we can say that environment means all that is found around the individual.

The hereditary aspect of an individual is mostly constant through his or her prenatal, infancy and early childhood development. This is because genetic makeup remains constant throughout one's lifespan.

Due to the process of sexual reproduction, the sperm and ovum will contain 23 pairs of chromosomes out of which one will be sex-determining chromosome. Female will have 23 pairs of XX chromosomes. Male will have 22 pairs of XX and 2 single, represented as XY. X chromosome from mother and Y chromosome from father will lead to male offspring, XX from both parents give rise to female. In each chromosome, there are innumerable genes.

These genes are the real determiners of hereditary characteristics, which pass on from one generation to the other. At the time of conception, the genes from chromosomes of both the father and the mother fuse together and determine the traits of the offspring to be born.


Cook, J. L. & Cook, G. (2014). The World of Children. 3rd Edi. 60. Boston: Pearson. Accessed May 27, 2018.
Nature and nurture influences are the factors that create a child genetically and shapes their environment. It has been a heated psychological debated figuring out whether nature or nurture is the more important factor, but this is still an ongoing discussion. Twin studies are able to provide the most evidence that genes determine human traits and behaviors. Studies show that if one twin in a pair of identical twins suffers from schizophrenia, the likelihood that the other twin also has schizophrenia is only 1 in 2 (Guo 1).

Twin studies are able to be helpful in aiding understanding of the nature versus nurture idea because genetically speaking the children are the same, but they can be placed in completely different environments. The differences that arise from the altered environments can be attributed to nurture and similarities to nature. I believe that the most important influence in child development is nurture, although there are some interesting family similarities due to nature. In understanding that genetics contribute to emotionality, sociability, IQ scores and possible medical conditions I feel that the environment we are given is the soil that can either help us grow or cause us to wither. An upbringing in an impoverished neighborhood with limited access to adequate schooling versus a upper class household and well-funded educational resources not only produce a different educational level, but outlook on the world. Both the influences of our genetics and environment shape our outlooks, personality, and even our children. I accept that both of these forces make up who we are and aren't.


Guo, Guang. "Twin studies: what can they tell us about nature and nurture?" (2005). University of North Carolina. Text. 43-45.
The Meaning of Premature

While there is no single definition of the term, Katz et al. (2013) consider "premature" as something that happens too soon, especially prior to its suitable or natural time. In childhood development, Cook & Cook (2014), state that a premature birth is one that occurs more than three weeks prior to the estimated delivery date (EDD). Naturally, the gestation period for a mature baby is 36 weeks (Cook & Cook, 2014). Therefore, any baby born before the onset of the 37th week of pregnancy is premature (Cook & Cook, 2014). Naturally, premature births pose great dangers to both the mother and the baby.

Preterm Birth

As earlier stated, any birth that occurs within 37 weeks after conception or more than three weeks before the expected due date is a preterm birth.

Low Birth Weight

The term "low birth weight" is used to refer to a baby who weighs less than 2.5 kilograms at birth. On average, most babies weigh about 3.6 kilograms at birth, therefore, one weighing less than 2.5kgs has low birth weight. Notably, the number of babies with low birth weight has drastically increased in the U.S. 5.8% of newborns in the United States have low birth weight (Katz et al., 2013).

Very Low Birth Weight

One of the categories of low birth weight is very low birth weight (VLBW), which refers to babies born weighing less than 3 pounds 5 ounces or 1.5 kilograms (Katz et al., 2013). The other category is extremely low birth weight (ELBW) which is for babies weighing less than 1 kilogram at birth (Katz et al., 2013).

Small for Gestational Age

Small for gestation age (SGA) is a terminology for babies who are smaller than what is expected for babies in a similar gestation age. These babies may be shorter or weigh below the10th percentile compared to their peers in the same gestation age. For instance, at 30 weeks, a normal baby should be about 15.71 inches and 2.91 pounds (Katz et al., 2013). However, a zygote small for gestation age will be about 13.5 inches and 2.00 pounds in weight (Katz et al., 2013).

Risk Factors for Preterm Birth and Low Birth Weight

There are numerous factors that can cause preterm births and low birth weight among babies. These include race, mother's age, and mother's health. Firstly, studies have shown that the risk for preterm birth and low birth weight is twice as high among African-Americans as in Caucasians ((Katz et al., 2013). Secondly, young mothers, especially those below 15 years of age are at higher risk of preterm births ((Katz et al., 2013). Thirdly, multiple births such as twins or triplets further increase the risk. Finally, mothers who are exposed to cigarettes, alcohol, and illicit drugs are more likely to have preterm births and low weight births compared to their peers who live healthy lifestyles and regularly seek prenatal care.


Cook, J., L. & Cook, G. (2014). The world of children. London: Pearson Education.

Katz, J., Lee, A. C., Kozuki, N., Lawn, J. E., Cousens, S., Blencowe, H. & Adair, L. (2013). Mortality risk in preterm and small-for-gestational-age infants in low-income and middle-income countries: a pooled country analysis. The Lancet, 382(9890), 417-425.
According to the text (Cook & Cook, 2014) a scheme is an organized pattern of action or thought. It can refer to the patterns of mental or physical action. When children interact with the environment around them, schemes are organized to form complex cognitive structures.

Organization is defined as the tendency of species to integrate elements into complex higher-order structures. Piaget believed that people cannot be kept from trying to organize their knowledge because it is such a basic skill. If too many mistakes in organization occur, the organism may need to make adjustments. These adjustments are called adaptions.

An adaption refers to the modifications every species makes in order to survive. It is the process of changing one's cognitive structure, environment, or both to better understand the environment. During the process of adaption, it is likely assimilation of new objects or information will need to occur. Assimilation is the bringing of data into a scheme that already exists. According to (Cook & Cook 2018) Piaget claimed people try to understand new experiences by assimilating the experiences into cognitive structures and schemes that they already have. If information is not assimilated correctly, it can cause cognitive disequilibrium, which is like a confused state of misunderstanding. To avoid this there may need to be more adjustments in order to increase understanding, this is called accommodation. Accommodation is the process of modifying old schemes or creating new ones to fit assimilated information. When this process is successful, equilibrium is achieved. Equilibrium is the state of solved disequilibrium by accommodating schemes to fit a new experience.

Piaget described four stages of cognitive development, the first being the stage of sensorimotor thought. The sensorimotor stage is from birth to 2 years of age. During this time infants are only able to describe the world through their senses and motor actions. At the beginning of this stage object permanence is lacking, but as it continues object permanence progresses.


Cook, J., L. & Cook, G. (2014). Cognitive Development in Infants and Toddlers. The World of Children. 3. 152-155.
During the first two years of a child's life, according to Ainsworth specifically the first year of a child's life, the quality of parenting determines the type of attachment formed (Cook & Cook, pg 185). In order to establish a healthy emotional connection, caregivers need to show sensitive responsiveness to the child. Sensitive responsiveness is the ability of a caregiver to respond quickly and warmly to baby signals and adjust their responsiveness to direct the interaction. Mother sensitivity is more strongly associated with attachment than father sensitivity. Going along with games, interactions, feeding and sleeping schedules helps create a secure connection between the child and the people caring for them. Other ways a secure bond can be fostered is by holding baby tenderly for long periods of time, rarely leaving infants alone, and consistency. Encouraging children to express their feelings then nurturing their social emotional development with a warm, positive response ensures infants and toddlers to attain a securely attached relationship.

Alternatively, indifferent and inconsistent parenting lead to insecurely attached relationships with caregivers. An unhealthy attachment is fostered through a lack of close contact and intimacy between mother and child. In environments where parenting is intrusive, overstimulating, and hostile the likelihood of a secure bond is greatly diminished. Bad quality childcare for 20+ hours per week shows slightly more insecure attachment in children. Tense, irritable mothers have difficulty in remaining nurturing and do not response sensitively to their children. They fail to adjust to feeding and sleeping strategies, along with having little interest altogether. Negative and abusive attitudes cause infants and toddlers to be frightened by their parents, contributing to an insecurely attached relationship. During the first two years of life it is crucial to nurture the child, as securely attached children are happier and have better social skills when they grow up.


Cook, J., L. & Cook, G., (2014)., The World of Children. 3rd Edition. Boston: Pearson., 185-189.
Sleep plays an important role in the lives of young children. Sleep can influence the lifelong development and health of a child. According to the SLEEP Research Group, a well-rested child is able to concentrate better, take in new information, and deal with challenges. During sleep learning is strengthened and biological changes occur that help children grow stay healthy and develop. Newborns, babies and toddlers should all be receiving between 11-17 hours of sleep a day, suffering from poor sleep causes children to be less able to regulate emotions and have a higher risk of illness. The Ministry of Health in New Zealand states several ways you can help your children improve sleep, including:

Establishing a bedtime routine
Making a regular bedtime and wakeup time
Providing a comfortable and safe sleeping environment
Making sure there are no distractions from sleep
Today child abuse is frequent in the lives of many children. In 2010 there were 3.3M reports of suspected abuse or neglect. There are several different types of abuse and neglect that can overlap and co-occur. Physical abuse is beating, slapping, and otherwise harmful punishment used against a child. Most cases of recorded physical abuse are committed by mothers non intentionally when punishment gets out of hand.18% of parents admit to shaking toddlers, 28% use objects in punishment, and 2/3 parents spank their children as young as 1 years old. According to Cook & Cook 2014, up to 16.5% of boys and 40% of girls experience sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse is committing sexual acts against a child, exposing the child to those acts or otherwise involving the child. The youngest children are the most vulnerable to these acts. Psychological abuse is abuse that includes verbal put downs and other behaviors that demean, threaten, terrorizes and hurts a child. Psychological abuse becomes overlapping in other cases of abuse because sexual abuse and neglect are present in every case. Neglect is the failure to provide for basic needs of the child. 80% of acts of neglect and abuse are committed by parents, and most cases of neglect are committed by the mother.


Cook, G., & Cook, J., L., (2014). The World of Children. (3rd Edition). Boston: Pearson.

SLEEP Research Group. Sleep health and sleep development in Early Childhood Education and Care. (2017). Queensland, Australia.

Ministry of Health, New Zealand. Helping young children sleep better. (July 2016).
Preoperational thought, as defined in Cook & Cook 2014, is thought characterized by the use of symbols and intuitive thought. During the preoperational stage children often create their own intuitive words and phrases. They learn the ability to let a symbol stand for an object. In art, children's drawings are beginning to show that a child understands a mental representation of the object and may begin to look more accurately like the object. In play children show preoperational thought by playing pretend with objects that may be nothing alike the object they are pretending it is.

Conservation problems are problems in understanding that basic properties remain the same when there is a physical change in appearance. For example, in pouring the same amount of liquid into a different shaped glass. Children don't understand that the volume remains the same. Piaget observed children lacking a grasp of reversibility -- they are unable to reverse the pouring of the liquid back into the original glass.

Vygotsky believed that children acquire their cognitive structures from the culture and social interactions they experience, primarily through language. Vygotsky viewed learning as a social process originating from society itself. He believed that although language and thought are originally separate, they have important roles to play in the learning of each other as well as the influence of adults. Vygotsky gave the role of social interaction and culture the central place of influence in the cognitive development of children. His views differ from Piaget simply because Piaget placed emphasis on self-initiated discovery.


Cook, G., & Cook, J., L., The World of Children. (2014). 3rd Edition. Boston: Pearson. 242-245.
1) The "self" is defined as the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs that people have about themselves. The self has 2 aspects, I-self and me-self. I-self is the conscious awareness that you exist as a unique individual, whereas the me-self is what you know about yourself including age, gender, personality and physical characteristics. The self is based on the work of the psychologist William James and it helps explain the sense of self in young children.

2) Children understand and define moral issues more effectively as they grow older. By 3-4 years of age children have internalized rules and begin to feel guilt about their bad behavior. Morality, or knowledge of the difference between right and wrong, develops. Children must directly experience and think about moral issues and dilemmas in order to understand their moral reasoning (Cook & Cook 2014). It is believed that this area of development is greatly affected by the parenting style of the child's parents.

3) Baumrind's 4 parenting styles are authoritative parenting, authoritarian, permissive, and rejecting/neglecting parents. Children raised by authoritative parents are less hostile and more popular, have greater self esteem, and do better in school. Children raised by permissive parents are more impulsive and perform less well in a school setting. Children raised by rejecting/neglecting parents show higher rates of delinquency, early sexual activity and drug/alcohol abuse. Lastly, children raised by authoritarian parents are shown to be more aggressive and hostile.

4) Ultimately, the effects of spanking outweigh any perceived benefits. In the long run spanking is not effective. Children eventually return back to the behavior and spanking causes children to fear their parents. More effective discipline methods are setting clear rules and limits, praising good behavior and removing priviledges as needed.


Cook, G. & Cook, J., L., The World of Children. (2014). 3rd Edition. Boston: Pearson.
. Intelligence tests show cultural and racial biases on several fundamental levels that explain why there are documented differences in composite scores among various U.S. ethnic groups (Cook & Cook, 2014). Minorities may have less test-taking experience and skill, therefore paper and pencil tests may not be a good fit with their learning styles putting them at a disadvantage. Additionally, most text examiners are white and unfamiliar with the dialects of children that they are testing. Combined with less experience in traditional test-taking, minority children may score lower and begin to accept negative views on their own intelligence and abilities. Intelligence tests overemphasize a narrowly defined view of intelligence to define complex groups of individuals (Cook & Cook, 2014).

2. Many students apart of the U.S. population live with a learning disability. The term "learning disability" is an umbrella term that covers a range of neurologically based disorders in learning (Learning Disabilities Association, 2012). These disorders manifest themselves in an imperfect ability in areas of learning such as reading, writing and or mathematics. People who have learning disabilities may have superior strengths in certain areas, yet weaknesses in others. They can experience frustration and inconsistency due to this variability in skill set (National Institute for Learning Development, 2016).

3. Today psychologists and other mental health professional use intelligence tests to help diagnose and treat learning disabilities and other issues in children (Cook & Cook, 2014). In combination with clinical interviews, exams and results from other observation methods you can obtain information needed to put together an effective treatment plan. For example, dynamic assessment attempts to access learning potential by measuring how much a child's academic performance improves over time in response to instruction. Information on progress is used to improve instruction using curriculum-based methods.


Cook, G. & Cook, J., L. The World of Children. (2014). 3rd Edition. Boston: Pearson

Learning Disabilities Association Board of Directors. "What Are Learning Disabilities?" September 22, 2012. Accessed: July 12, 2018.

National Institute for Learning Development. "What is a Learning Disability?" (2016). Suffolk, VA. Accessed: July 12, 2018.
The Ngeno family came to the United States from their home country of Congo with two young children and a third on the way. Although they had held established careers working as pharmacists in their home country they chose to leave it all in order to provide a better environment for their children and themselves. Their country was plagued with violence, war, and a bad economy with poor job stability. They knew it was necessary to move to a place with better opportunities, and the family applied for Visas to the United States of America 5-6 times before finally being approved. They came to the U.S. excited and positive with energy to establish a new life for their family in a country they felt anyone could succeed if they worked hard. The move was not as easy as the family may have anticipated; they were stressed, anxious and struggled with the language barrier of only speaking French. The couple took up jobs as housekeepers to begin the climb to reach the same level of prestige they had held in Congo. It was a helpful job for them to hold as it allowed them to learn culture and communication while having a way to provide for the family of 5 (Darragh, 2013).

The Ngeno family would have benefit from the help and support of organizations that could connect them with other families that are experiencing the same struggles of moving to a new country. It may be lonely to live in a place where there is a language barrier that prevents you from doing things as simple as going to the store or chatting with someone on the street. I would connect the family to organizations in their community, and the network of other immigrants that could give tips and provide support to the family in their transition over to the states. In an article I found by Ron Lieber, he gives several examples of service out there that are in existence to help refugees and immigrants adjust to their new surroundings (Lieber, 2017).


Darragh, Johnna. "10 ngeno story" 10/31/2013. Youtube. Accessed: July 19, 2018.

Lieber, Ron. "How You Can Help Refugees in the United States." 2/17/2017. The New York Times. Accessed: July 19, 2018.
Adolescent puberty is a time of great change and maturation in the body and mind of an adolescent. It comes with growth spurts and puberty changes that reconfigure how children once looked to their new bodies as adolescents and teenagers. Girls go through the process a little bit sooner than boys on average, their puberty usually starts between the ages of 8 and 13 whereas an adolescent boy may begin puberty at 9.5 or not until 14 (Stanford Children's Health, 2018). Girls develop breasts usually as the initial puberty change in which the breast and nipple elevate and darken. Girls usually have some noticeable changes by the age of 10. Like many other processes that occur during puberty, it is a gradual change that will continue on for several years. Shortly after breast development there is the development of pubic then armpit hair, which starts out soft and light then the hair gets darker and thicker over time. Menstruation occurs between the ages of 10 and 16.5 (Stanford Children's Health, 2018) which makes way for more hormone changes. Androgens and estrogens stimulate the maturation of the reproductive system (Cook & Cook, 2014). Boys initial puberty change is the enlargement of the scrotum and testes. After this occurs, one of the next changes will be a penis enlargement and the appearance of pubic and other body hair. By around the age of 15 there will be facial hair, a changing of the voice, and acne (Stanford Children's Health, 2018). For both girls and boys there are growth spurts in height, which can be several inches in a relatively short period followed by a slow growth.

During adolescence the brain continues to grow and myelination continues throughout adolescence in areas of grey matter although by the time children are around the age of 6 their brain is already 90-95% of its adult size (Cook & Cook, 2014). The prefrontal cortex is working on maturing which affects behavior and social skills. The maturation of the prefrontal cortex allows teens to reason better, have better decision making and planning skills, and control impulses and emotions by developing self control. Although these changes are being made, the adolescent brain can not yet function as an adult brain and will need years to reach that point.

Other health related issues that teens face are inconsistent eating patterns, including meal skipping and making bad choices with food. Having issues with food during teenage years can lead to bad habits later on or serious eating disorders that can damage many body systems. Depression and anxiety appear in teens for a variety of reasons, and without comprehensive mental health care they can result in suicide and substance abuse. Depression and anxiety can make themselves known in symptoms such as a lack of sleep, low self-esteem, poor grades, bad attendance, and lashing out in other ways (Cook & Cook, 2014).


Cook, G. & Cook, J. L. The World of Children. (2014). 3rd Edition. Boston: Pearson

Stanford Children's Health. "The Growing Child: Adolescent (13 to 18 Years)." (2018). Stanford Medicine. Article. Accessed: July 26, 2018.
Sex education can begin as early as kindergarten covering issues with its curriculum such as consent, anatomy, physiology, healthy relationships, reproduction and personal safety. Sexual education needs to be age appropriate for all levels of education and maturity, but it should be a lifelong process of that evolves as the need for more education evolves. All ages of have a right to accurate information that is age and developmentally appropriate (SIECUS, 2018).

I believe that information covering human development, healthy relationships and consent should be some of the first subjects included in the curriculum taught to children grades K-4. As students get older (grades 5-12) content covering sexual behavior including abstinence, sexual health, sexual identity, HIV and other STIs, pregnancy and reproduction should be taught along with expanding on the subjects above. This should also include information on all FDA approved medically recommended contraceptives. All of the curriculum taught should be science based but must address the sociocultural and spiritual dimensions of the instructor's students (SIECUS, 2018).

Sexual education should be taught by parents/caregivers and other trusted adults (perhaps in a classroom setting). The unfortunate aspect of sex education being taught in schools is that a young person living in one school district can have a completely different experience and curriculum than a student in the district the next city over (Panjabi, 2018). I believe a good sex education curriculum encourages parent-child communication while addressing any "embarrassing" questions young people may have that they would like to be answered discreetly and anonymously. Young people learn about sexuality from other sources, such as the Internet and peers but the information they learn may not be correct so it is best that they get it from sources that are accurate and age appropriate.


Panjabi, Chitra. "The problem with sex ed is..." (2018). SIECUS News & Updates. Accessed: July 27, 2018.

SIECUS. "Advancing Sex Education (State)" (May 2018). Accessed: July 27, 2018.