The areas of development I am writing about are cognitive and language development cognitive development are information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory. Speech and language are the tools that people use to communicate or share thoughts, ideas, and emotions. . One of the factors that influence children??™s development is their genetic makeup or genes. Some people refer to this as nature genes are the genetic material we pass onto our children. Children are born with their genes in place. These genes act like a blueprint for what characteristics a child may have. The other factor that influences child development is the environment. This includes experiences children have in their home, school and community environments. Some people refer to this as nurture the environment can either improve or harm a childs genetic blueprint. According to Tina Bruce ???Intellectual and cognitive development (the development of thinking and ideas) cannot be separated from all the other areas of development??? (2007, p79) All areas of development are combined and cannot be separated.
Cognitive and language development
Newborn babies developed language skills before they were born they recognized new sounds when they were still in their mother??™s womb. The first things a baby uses to communicate with the outside world is smiling, crying and eye contact they smile when the mother does something that a baby likes. According to Carolyn Meggitt ???Babies make eye contact and cry to indicate need??? (Meggitt, C 2006, P10) Babies establish eye contact to communicate needs. They cry when they feel unpleasant or want something babies will also show excitement at the sound of approaching voices or footsteps a baby is attentive to sounds made by familiar voices and expresses what they need by crying in different ways. Babies are also beginning to use their voice and smiles when responding to familiar speech and may begin to coo in response to parents. At Three months babies will turn in the direction of a parent??™s voice and begin to laugh out loud and squeal in delight they can also vocalise tunefully to their self and others. Babies will try to mimic sounds and watches speakers mouths closely, they can also scream with annoyance and shout to attract attention. According to Penny Tassoni ???The first stage in the process of children learning to use a language is often referred to as the pre-linguistic stage. This is an important stage, because although babies are not able to use the rules and words of language, they seem to use this stage to learn about how to communicate??? (Tassoni, P, 2002, P211). Before babies learn spoken language, they can respond to sound and speech. During this phase, parents tend to speak? to infants in higher pitches and tones. This is known as motherese or baby talk and is the high-pitched, sing-song speech adults use to talk to children. At this age babies have discovered their hands and find them interesting and they often put them in their mouths. At Six months babies are very aware of every day sounds especially voices. A baby will now know their name and may respond when called and will begin to shout for attention wait for a response and shout again. They can also babble very loudly and can make double syllable sounds such as mama and dada and they are beginning to understand turn taking in conversations and will enjoy holding conversations. According to Carolyn Meggitt ???Babies enjoy communicating with sounds??? (Meggitt, C 2006, P41) Babies this age begin to enjoy communicate with the sounds they can make. At nine months babies are beginning to say simple words and their understanding of language are developing daily babbling becomes more like conversation and they watch the activities of others around them with great interest. According to Carolyn Meggitt ???Babies watch a toy being hidden and then look for it this shows that know that an object can exist even when it is no longer in sight??? (Object Permanence) (Meggitt, C 2002, P41) Babies now know that an object exists even when it is no longer in sight up until now if they can??™t see something, it doesn??™t exist in their world. This new skill is demonstrated when they watch a toy being hidden and then look for it; this shows they know it still exists even when they can??™t see it. Babies are starting to use jargon and may even respond to simple instructions and may understand a few simple words. At twelve months babies like to sing and can now say several words including no and can shake there head also they can communicate there needs by vocalising and pointing. Babies will listen to sound making toys and will repeat there an action to make these sounds again and are very curious, they may also know the names of various body parts such as nose, eyes and mouth. They also can wave their arms up and down meaning more or I like it .At eighteen months Babies will listen to others when they speak to them and often echo the last words of the speaker??™s sentences. This is known as echolalia the automatic repetition of vocals made by another person. They can also point to and name some familiar pictures and sentences and recognise small world toys. They may join two words together and also they will enjoy nursery rhymes and try to join in. At this age babies will talk to self continually and also asks continually why and what the vocabulary is increasing but still many mistakes in their grammar they also use their own name to refer to themselves. At thirty six months longer sentences are being used and also large vocabulary now they ask many questions and are beginning to listen with interest to general conversations around them they can recite simple nursery rhymes and carry out a good conversation and the speech is clear and understandable. A toddler may be able to match two or three primary colours and count up to ten According to Carolyn Meggitt ???Children count up to ten, but do not appreciate quantity beyond two or three??? (Meggitt , C 2006, P75) Children who can count up to ten don??™t actually understand and cant identify, the quantities theyre naming. All babies develop at their own individual pace and may be advanced in some things and delayed in others.
Children aged three years of age are beginning to use three to five word sentences and can name at least ten familiar objects. Three year olds enjoy being read to and will repeat simple rhymes and stories. According to Carolyn Meggitt??? Children may enjoy jokes and plays on words??? (Meggitt, C, 2006, P84) Children think about language they use and find it can be funny.
Children will play spontaneously with two or three children in a group and engage in fantasy play and will try to make others laugh .At four years children of age have a large vocabulary and use good grammar they often talk about action in conversation and use regular past tenses of verbs and start to recognise patterns and the way some words are formed.
At four years they know there age and the town where they live, and like to do things for themselves and may even separate from their parents for a short time without crying. According to Carolyn Meggitt ???Children often confuse fact with fiction??? (2006, P84) It is very hard for a young child to understand the difference between fact and fiction. If you read a story about the three little pigs, for example the child knows that pigs dont really talk and build houses. To them this is no different from pretending that something happened that someone else spilled the juice, or broke the plate. At five years of age children will be able to recognize opposites, define objects by their use, and use relatively good sentence structure and understand the rules of conversation and is able to talk and then listen the language skills of five-year-olds are well developed. This is the time for learning the fundamentals of reading, writing, and basic math. Children are eager to learn and have a strong desire to please adults five-year-olds are creative and enthusiastic problem solvers. Children may believe that objects have feelings. For example, a child of this age might feel sorry for a doll or teddy that has fallen on the floor. According to Carolyn Meggitt??? Children talk about the past, present and future, with a good sense of time ???. (2006, P91) Children can understand the concept of today, tomorrow, and yesterday for example it??™s my birthday tomorrow. At six years of age children can pronounce the majority of sounds of their own language and talk fluently and with confidence. Six year olds are steadily developing literacy skills reading and writing and will start to read for their selves although they will still enjoy it when a parent reads them poems and stories. According to Carolyn Meggitt ???Children begin to develop concepts of quantity, length, measurement, distance, area, time, volume, capacity and weight ???(Meggitt, C, 2006, P99) Children are beginning to form new concepts and are fascinated with measurement concepts.?  They are constantly measuring how big, how tall, how much, how far, and how heavy they are compared to their friends. At seven years children enjoy having the opportunity to share their knowledge with others. They display a longer attention span and the ability to understand less-detailed directions and last-minute changes. Seven-year-olds are curious and frequently ask adults questions to satisfy their need to know. The language skills of seven-year-olds reflect the impact language and literacy is having on them. Mathematically, seven-year-olds have strong number sense and estimation skills. Children this age can do simple addition and subtraction and can apply strategies necessary to solve related word problems. According to Carolyn Meggitt???Children are able to conserve number- for example they know that there are ten sweets whether they are pushed close together or apart??? ???(Meggitt, C,2006, P107) Children can now conserve and think logically
Jean Piaget was born in 1896 in Switzerland and he was a Swiss developmental psychologist his view of how childrens minds work and develop has been enormously influential, particularly in education. Piaget introduced the theory of staged development and indentified four stages in that process Sensorimotor applies to 0 to 2 year olds, preoperational to 3 to 7 year olds, concrete operational to 8-11 year olds, and formal operational to those aged 11 to 15. During the sensorimotor stage 0-2 toddlers understanding and knowledge is learned from action and senses. Aged 3 to 7 preoperational, egocentrism is typical of a childs personality. Everything revolves around them they feel they are the centre of everything. Dont confuse this with selfishness it is simply a natural stage that the vast majority of young people progress through as part of their natural development, according to Piaget. The next stage of the developmental theory is concrete operational where logic begins to form. Children who are in this category are increasingly aware of others and the world around them. When they arrive at an age between 11 to 15 formal operations, they will begin to reflect on their current life experiences and what they wish to achieve as they age. Combined, these ideas are what Piagets developmental theory is built around. According to Maureen Daly et al ???The legacy of Paget??™s work has been to encourage practitioners to provide a stimulating environment that encourages children to learn and to continually develop their understanding and view of the world around them.???(Daly, M 2006, p 46) Piaget has been a great influence in the way practitioners develop and provide stimulating environments in turn the children learn and continually develop their own understanding.
Lev Vygotsky was born in Russia in 1896 and died in 1947 he believed in the Social Development Theory and that language develops from social interaction. Vygotsky proposed that children learn more from their culture or their interaction with humans than from their environment alone. He also is known for the theory of scaffolding which is working together to help each other learn. He also developed the ZPD or zone of proximal development. The zone of proximal development occurs when a child needs less or no assistance anymore, because true learning has taken place. This is an important concept that relates to the difference between what a child can achieve independently and what a child can achieve with guidance and support. Vygotsky??™s theories still very much influence what we do today. According to Maureen Daly et al???Vygotsky??™s work has encouraged the modern practitioner to focus on providing challenge for the child through activities and experience that stretch the child to think above their capabilities.??? (Daly, M 2006, p 58) Vygotsky??™s work has influenced practitioners and they are encouraged to engage children in challenging learning tasks that involve language and social interaction.
Piaget??™s theories have influenced practice by providing activities and experiences to encourage children to adapt and change their existing view of the world. Activities provided and are age and stage appropriate and support thinking and can encourage conservation such as water play and counting games. Opportunities for pretend and imaginative play are given to help increase the child??™s use of symbols Schools are now promoting active learning environments so that the children learn from a first hand experience .According to Learning in the Foundation Phase ???The Foundation Phase is about enhancing the learning experiences which enable children to be creative, imaginative and to have fun whilst learning ???(Learning in the Foundation Phase 2007, P4) The foundation phase places great emphasis on children learning by doing. Young children will be given more opportunities to gain first hand experiences through play and active involvement rather than by completing exercises in books. Piaget??™s theories have had a great impact on learning by supporting children to see other people??™s point of view and the understanding of sharing and the understanding of rules.

Vygotsky??™s theories have influenced practice by giving opportunities for a balance of child and teacher led activities, which are carefully planned and are developmentally appropriate.
The Foundation Phase uses Vygotskys research and work today to outline our effective practice in supporting young childrens development and learning. According to Penny Tassoni ???Vygotsky??™s influence today can be seen through a curriculum where the child is based at the centre??? (Tassoni P, 2007, P 284) The Foundation Phase curriculum has been influenced by Vygotsky where children are at the centre of learning.
Social interaction also plays an important role in the development of children. The foundation phase emphasises the importance of play and playful interaction. According to The Foundation Phase ???Play is not only crucial to the way children become self-aware and the way in which they learn the rules of social behaviour; it is also fundamental to intellectual development.??? (The Foundation Phase 2007, P6) Play is an important part of social and language development. Vygotsky??™s Social interaction theory influences circle time which encourages social and emotional development. Circle time is a time for the children to gather together to share their personal feelings and ideas about anything that is important to them circle time Promotes positive relationships and creates a caring and respectful ethos and it helps children develop self-esteem and self-confidence. According to Penny Tassoni ???Circle time is a useful technique to use with older children and young people.??? (Tassoni, P, 2007, P141) Circle time can be introduced to all children but is more effective when they are older.
Vygotsky developed the theory called the zone of proximal development and is the difference between what a child can do without help and what he or she can do with help he claimed that that the ability to learn through guidance by adults was a basic detail of human understanding. This is also known as scaffolding, scaffolding essentially means that a more experienced person offers support, encouragement and guidance to a child as appropriate. The Scaffolding Theory was first developed by cognitive psychologist, Jerome Bruner in the late 1950s. Bruner used the concept as it applied to how young children acquired language skills.

Three observations included as appendices
The three observations show that a Child M is a happy confident child whose skills are advanced for her age and overall demonstrates good cognitive skills for her age. According to Joanne bushell ???Child M has shown she has the ability to read independently and confidently and is showing advanced reading skills for her age??? (Checklist Observation 2010). The child that was observed shows advanced skills when reading. Child M has displayed many skills such as language, memory and concentration and all of these are within the developmental norms for the stage the child is at. Child M can count up to twenty confidently and shows good understanding of the concept of number. Child M also a confident artist .According to Joanne Bushell ???I then asked Child M to draw me a house she then very quickly began to draw a house with four windows a door and a roof??? ??? (Checklist Observation 2010 ) Child M draws with basic detail. Child M has typical imagination and creative skills and displays them regularly whilst in the role play corner .According to Joanne Bushell??? Child M also displayed imaginative and creativity skills when she was playing in the home corner she pretended to be a hairdresser styling another girls hair Child M used a pretend hairdryer and made sounds to imitate a hairdryer.???(Time sample Observation 2011)Child M displays typical imagination skills and enjoys imitating sounds.
From my observation I have discovered that child M cannot conserve, this is in line with Piaget who suggested that most children younger than seven would not be able to conserve. Child M is at the preoperational stage .Child M shows typical concentration skills and demonstrates this by remembering where her coat peg is .When child M answers the register she showed a clear understanding of the Welsh language.
The observations have shown me that child M has interests in role play and dressing up and uses her imagination to enact scenarios. Child M needs to practice conservation. I feel that child M is an auditory learner and understands what she has to do when spoken to.
The recommendations I feel would help Child M are;
Recommendation 1
What Visualization Game, Materials needed are assorted objects e.g. crayons, small toys Lego a tray, tea towel, small sack and paper and pencil. The objects are placed on a tray and covered with a tea towel the players have one minute to look at the tray and then it is covered with the tea towel. Players must then remember all the objects they can remember, the winner is the one who has the most correct items. This game can also be played by using the sense of touch. Place the objects in a small sack with only enough room at the opening for a hand to go through. Each player has one minute to place his or her hand in the bag and then try to recognize as many objects as possible. Again, the player who has written down the most correct items is the winner.
Why This game promotes the concentration and memory skills. and helps to improve your concentration, focus and attention span.
Recommendation 2
What Archimedes Bathtub – A long time ago, a man named Archimedes lived in a country called Greece. Archimedes was a mathematician, a person who likes numbers and learns about math. One day, Archimedes decided to take a bath. When he sat down in the tub, he saw the water level in the tub rise. He realized he had just discovered something very important, a way to tell how much space an object takes up. Archimedes discovered how to measure volume and got so excited that he jumped out of the tub, forgot to put on his clothes and ran down the street yelling “Eureka.” Archimedes spoke a language called Greek, and in Greek, eureka means “I found it!”, you will need a clear plastic shoebox or other rectangular container, coloured electrical tape, scissors, a waterproof doll that will fit in the shoebox, and water.
Why Children will learn that objects have volume by displacing water and about the famous mathematician who discovered how to measure volume. Accessed 04.03.2011
Recommendation 3
What 12 piece jigsaw puzzle provided by school or home
Why Children learn about shape and space and as they become older trial and error learning will decrease as they start to use reasoning skills to work out the position of the pieces.
I have used the checklist method which is designed to record the presence or absence of specific behaviours. They are easy to use and are especially helpful when many different areas need to be observed. They often include lists of specific behaviours to look for while observing .The next method I used was the time sample method which involves recording at regular intervals what a child is doing this method also focuses on behaviours taking place within certain time periods. Different intervals of time are used provide as much information as possible. The other method I used was the anecdotal method which is used to develop an understanding of a child??™s behaviour. Anecdotal records do not require charts or special settings they record what happened in a factual, objective manner. According to Penny Tassoni ???There are many different ways of collecting information about children and young people. Each technique will have advantages but also limitations and so it is useful if you can learn to use several ???(2007, P, 90) There are lots of different observation methods each of them are presented and used differently to record the observed information.
During my observations I protected the identity of the child and I have not disclosed any personal details about the child and their family. All of the information I have gathered will be treated as confidential and not made public to anyone without parents or tutors consent. The 1998 Data Protection Act was passed by Parliament to control the way information is handled and to give legal rights to people who have information stored about them. According to Christine Hobart ???You will become aware of much confidential information concerning children and their families. ???(2006, P4) Occasionally Practitioners in schools will become aware of information about children which is confidential or private to the child or their family.
During an observation it is very important to understand the need for confidentiality this protects the welfare of the child and family. Any information relating to the child and their families should be kept in secure storage. Any information gathered should be shared with parents and other professionals unless there are child protection issues. According to Childcare and the law 2006 ???The Data Protection Act 1984 gives all individuals the right to access any personal information that has been compiled about them??? (2006, P24).The data protection Act 1984 gives people important rights, including the right to know what information is being held about them .Objectivity is also important during observations When observing what a child is doing you need to be objective. This means that you need to describe exactly what is happening without making assumptions about why they are occurring. Describe what the child is doing, how they are doing it, when they are doing it and with whom. Not why. To be an objective observer you need to be unbiased and avoid stereotypes and remain professional. According to Christine Hobart ???You must be sure that your observations are always a true record of what is taking place and that you are not tempted to add anything which might make them more interesting and easier to interpret.???(2009, P8) Practitioners must only write down what they observe at the time of observing and not make anything up about the Childs skills. The reliability of observations must be consistent and fair. You need to observe exactly what you see and hear. Practitioners must remain professional at all times and keep personal beliefs to one side .Practitioners must ensure that their behaviour is professional at all times, and remember that they are setting an example to the children and representing the setting to the parents. The personal attitudes and values of the practitioner should be kept private and not interfere with their work with children. The rights of the children and parents must be remembered when completing observations the 1989 United Nations Convention on the rights of the child sets out fifty four articles the articles that involve observing children are;
Article 12
Children have the right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them, and have their opinions taken into account. ??“ Children have their own rights and can have a say in any decisions that affect them and this will be noted.
Article 13
Children have the right to receive and to share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or others.-Children can have access to information and receive infomation about themselves has long as it not harmful to themselves or their families.
Article 16
Children have a right to privacy. The law should protect them from attacks against their way of life, their good name, their families and their homes.- Children have the right to privacy and the right to protection from attacks against there families chosen lifestyle.
A practical guide to child observation and assessment 4th edition (2009 Christine Hobart, Nelson Thomas P, 2)
For observations to be valid, the most appropriate recording method must be used. Children change very quickly and observations are only valid for short time practitioners must use the information as soon a possible for planning short term. According to Observing Children Welsh Assembly Government 2008??? Observation and assessment enables practitioners to: know the individual child and highlight his/her strengths, interests and needs??? Observing children can help a practitioner get to know the child more and be aware of their needs and interests.
As a student practitioner I have used three different types of observation methods the checklist method, time sample method and anecdotal method. One of the advantages of a checklist is that there is no time limit in collecting the data. The information can be quickly recorded anytime during program hours. In addition, checklists are easy to use, efficient, and can be used in many situations. Data from checklists can be easily analyzed. A disadvantage of using a checklist, however, is the lack of detailed information. Checklists lack the information of the more descriptive narrative. Because of the Layout only particular behaviours are noted. The advantages of a time sample observation are that a precise collection of data can be made and it is quick and easy to use. It can also reveal unexpected patterns of behaviour. The observer can record more then one child at one time. The disadvantages are that allocating the time to complete the task it may need to take place over a long period of time ands also the need to be aware of the time is also a disadvantage. There are advantages and disadvantages using the anecdotal record. An important advantage is that it is the easiest method of use since it requires no special setting or time frame. Anecdotal records can provide running records over time showing evidence of a child??™s growth and development. There are also disadvantages with using anecdotal records. A complete picture may not be provided and records may not always be accurate and it may be difficult to keep up with what is going on. Childrens identity should remain anonymous and in some settings, if parents haven??™t already given their permission, permission has to be sought from the setting and parents/carers. The children??™s behaviour can change if they know you are observing them. According to Christine Hobart et, al ???Observing a child??™s interests and strengths allows the staff in the establishment to plan activities that will extend further development and add to the child??™s enjoyment and stimulation.??? (Hobart C, 2009, p 16)
Through observing children as they play you will be able to build up a picture of their learning and development. You will be able to recognize their interests and be able to offer individual learning plans. You will be able to evaluate their progress and be able to offer teaching specific to the child. The effective provision of pre school education project is research about the effects of pre school education it investigated the effects of pre-school education and care on children??™s development for children aged 3 – 7 years old. The EPPE project used observations as part of its key findings
Piaget developed his cognitive theory by observing children (some of whom were his own children). Using a standard question or set of questions as a starting point, he followed the childs train of thought and allowed the questioning to be flexible. Piaget believed that childrens spontaneous comments provided valuable clues to understanding their thinking.