Child Development Essay

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“Childhood is not just about personal experiences. Childhood is an important social category which defines children’s activities and experiences.” (Woodhead, Chapter 1, p.15)

childhood has been viewed in many ways throughout history. Since the introduction of the United Nation Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC,1989), social outlooks of childhood have changed. The conventions principle is that children have the right to develop. Childhood can be viewed in a variety of ways, it may be defined by education, ethnicity, role, status and social background. Many theorists recognise that each experience of childhood is dependent upon the child’s environment. This includes the society the child lives in and it’s influences upon the child. Also how this society understands the needs of the child and how the society can influence that child also. “The immaturity of children is a biological fact but the ways in which that immaturity is understood is a fact of culture . . . childhood is . . . constructed and reconstructed both for and by children” (James and Prout, 1997, Chapter 1, p.15). Childhood is changing, in addition to this childhood is a developing process. But is a child’s development genetically predisposed or are there many other important factors?

We shall begin to explore what evidence there is to answer this question. By exploring historical perspectives of child development with consideration to the impact of society and culture, evidence suggests that childhood has been extensively viewed as a social process. Each child’s experience of childhood will depend upon a variety of circumstances, such as where they grow up and the influences of those who they grow up around. Philippe Aries argued that children were mini ad...

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...e evident.
From exploration of historical theory into child development, alongside the exploration of modern research, it is clear to see that both nature and nurture play an important role in the development process in which a child undertakes. Despite a vast amount of differing views, research has attempted to achieve a thorough understanding of child development. Research has also attempted to increase the attention shown to the children, placing value upon the voice and rights of the child, attempting to increase the awareness of the importance of this.

It is clear today that a child’s development is not purely a natural process, modern theories take in to account the importance of the individual child and their experiences. Each experience will depend on the society around them and the recognition and understanding the society has upon the needs of that child.
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