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Development Theories of Early Childhood

From conception to kindergarten, children are wired and developed to learn towards other subsequent stages of life. During their early stages of life, children go through two main development processes namely cognitive and language development. In addition, at the infant and toddler stage, children commence exchanges with peers, cooperation with adults thereby forming a strong foundation for future success in learning. However, most infants and toddlers face numerous vulnerable challenges in their early stages of life because of high rates of poverty.

With such high levels of poverty in the developing economies, children from such backgrounds exhibit disparities on how they adjust to external environment compared to others as normally reflected by the levels of academic performances. For proper early childhood development, parents and caregivers must play a vital role in monitoring a child’s development progress (Conkbayir & Pascal, 2014).

To begin, during the first three months, the child learns to adjust to the outside world and such adjustments take the form of smiling in response to the parent’s smile, moving to objects, tracking and taking swipes at the objects. Between the first four to six months, the child develops voice, laugh, and to some extent grab objects and sit up under careful support. As the baby grows past this stage, other forms of body movement like crawling, sitting without any support develops.

The tenth and twelfth month represents the most crucial stage of development because it signifies a transition period to a child’s development. It is also called the stage of autonomy. Generally, this is the stage where children develop a sense of doubt in their actions. At this phase, the baby is more of a toddler than an infant capable of self feeding, dressing, and holding of small objects between thumb and forefinger. This represents the stage where baby starts to communicate through sign language in communicating with the parents and caregivers.

Between three to six years, the child starts to develop self imagination thereby they begin to assert their identity in the society. It is at this stage that the child learns to be socially responsible in the society and fully understand the consequences of her behavior. According to Slaughter and Brownell (2012), children continue to develop and learn more about limits and the importance of making such boundaries.

Relationship between brain research and the developmental theories of learning

As Conkbayir and Pascal (2014) denote, brain research influences the curriculum development in several ways. This is because it reflects conceptualization of the learning and teaching processes through the application of constructivism theories. During the late 1990s, educators exploded brain research and the possible impacts that it asserted on the learning process (Parens, 2008). Despite the fact that brain research centrally focuses on diseases, some ideas and framework used in the study are fundamental in the development of learning theories. In extensions, the two theories centrally focus on psychology and philosophy as fundamental disciplines of their studies.

This paper examines and highlights the basic relationship that exists between brain research and development theories of learning. In order to bring out clear comparison between the two theories, the paper centrally focuses on the similarities of the ideologies in the two set of theories (Fowler, 2002). Firstly, the two theories focus on the factors that influence the accumulation of knowledge and intellectual development concerning the reality. Theories of learning such as constructivists recognize four tenets that form the basis of the brain research. Among these includes the ability of mind in representing symbols such as language. Language greatly influences learning and thinking capability of the learner. Brain connects neural networks that significantly influences the formation and conceptualization if the meaning during the learning. In general, the basic assumptions in brain research are essential to the implementation of current reforms in learning as supported by other development theories of learning such as constructivism theory.

Philosophical view of education and what developmental theories most align with it

Based on the current education system, some of the education policies and practices are essential in promoting optimal learning process for the children’s development process. The adoption of developmentally practice in the education and learning has provided effective framework that promotes knowledge and learning process among the children. With high disparities between children from less privilege and privilege families, it is important to formulate polices aimed at reducing such gaps and increasing educational achievement to all children (Parens, 2008). For better connection between preschool and elementary stage, it is vital to recognize the role played by the teachers towards development of children at school. The theory of development that best aligns with the current system of education is cognitive development theory of development. This is because learning process involves several steps and in each step the child is expected to grasp information that helps in the development of thoughts and language.

In addition, the cognitive development theory of learning explains how the childhood influences intelligence growth and the activities that children explore at their early stage of life. This theory is fundamental in transforming the education sector because it primarily focuses on adaptation, perception and the influence of external factors in human growth and development (Saracho & Spodek, 2000). Through this theory, children gradually acquire knowledge based on environmental and biological experiences. Children explore the external environment and examine discrepancies based on their discoveries. Language significantly influences acquisition of knowledge thereby calling for parents to assists their children to grow and learn at early stages of life. Open education system also contributes to supportive environment for a child’s development


Conkbayir, M., & Pascal, C. (2014). Early childhood theories and contemporary issues. New York: Bloomsbury Academic

Fowler, J. W. (2002). Stages of faith: The psychology of human development and the quest for meaning. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Parens, H. (2008). The development of aggression in early childhood. Lanham: Jason Aronson.

Saracho, O. N., & Spodek, B. (2000). Multiple perspectives on play in early childhood education. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Slaughter, V., & Brownell, C. A. (2012). Early development of body representation Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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