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The domain of physical development in early childhood is especially important because children do not grow at a steady pace. Additionally, it is essential to understand the importance of the neurological system and the changes that occur with it.
According to Hoffnung et al. (2010) and Papalia Wendkos Olds, and Duskin Feldman, (2009), the domain consists of aspects that relate to biological changes. The authors point out that this aspect involves changes in the body, including improvement of motor skills, development of brain functions, and alterations in the state of health. Milestones that should be pointed out for children aged two to six years are stairs climbing, throwing a ball, ability to create simple drawings, primary writing skills, and the ability to put on clothes with the help of a care provider.
The cognitive domain consists of approaches to thinking and processing information, memory functions, and language skills (Hoffnung et al., 2010; Papalia et al., 2009). The last component is crucial for developing creativity, reasoning, and ability to pay attention to. The milestones that are crucial for children within the domain are enlargement of vocabulary, understanding of symbols and fractional qualities, and ability to enjoy dramatic play (Hudson, 2013). Thus, the cognitive skills that are learned in early childhood affect literacy and mathematical capabilities.
The final two domains, social and emotional are connected due to similarities of factors that influence them. According to Hoffung et al. (2010), the changes within the social component consist of feelings and emotions towards other people. The milestones at this stage include identifying preferred playmates, understanding gender roles, and racial awareness (Hudson, 2013). At the early childhood age, kids develop an ability to communicate and distinguish the emotions of others.
The Urban Child Institute (n.d.) argues that social and emotional domains are difficult to differentiate because both imply interaction with the external environment. The milestones for early childhood involve developing the notion of themselves and the ability to showcase feelings and emotions to the outside world (The Urban Child Institute, n.d.). Additionally, children should learn to interact with peers and share toys at this stage.
The emotional domain is connected to feelings that a child has and can display to interact with others. The Department of Social Services (n.d.) distinguishes the ability to show attachment to a caregiver, showcase distress in particular situations, understand guilt and remorse for actions and seek attention from a parent as milestones. It is essential to understand the connection between social and emotional components because it is crucial to develop the ability to share feelings with peers or caregivers.
Implications for Teachers and Students
It can be argued that by understanding these domains and the essential milestones a teacher can enhance the process of gaining knowledge and skills for his or her students. The primary implication for a teacher is the ability to recognize that a particular student has not reached full learning potential by comparing the child’s achievement to that of an average person within the age group (Duchesne & McMaugh, 2016).
The physical domain implies the need to promote particular activities such as throwing a ball or climbing the stairs to enable children’s ability to perform certain activities. Proper acquisition of these skills will enable kids to function adequately and carry out daily tasks, which is a necessity. The implication of the physical domain for children is in the ability to understand their physical capabilities and be aware of their health.
Therefore, students should develop the skills mentioned above and understand the process of acquiring particular physical capabilities. Thus, educators should plan activities that would target the essential motor skills, by focusing on one milestone at a time. This may require introducing new types of events and ensuring that the teaching strategy fits the purpose. However, teachers must provide that children do not strive for perfection with actions such as throwing the ball or climbing the stairs to avoid discouragement.
The development of skills associated with the cognitive domain is necessary because it enables future learning. Within the ages of two to six individuals learn to recognize symbols and acquire a vocabulary that they will use in their further studies. The implication for teachers is in the necessity to provide knowledge of symbols and a sufficient amount of words for kids. For children, the importance of these domains is in their connection to their future development. It is because without adequately developed cognitive skills individuals would struggle in further years because they would fall behind in their understanding of basic numerical and linguistic concepts.
According to Swaybay (2013), the domain implies that “behavior is processed both internally and externally, and can be explained regarding how the mind operates” (p. 3). Furthermore, the author argued that the preoperational stage, which occurs between the ages of 2 and six, is centered on language skills and logical thinking. Therefore, the focus of an educator should be on choosing or creating activities that would help students enhance their vocabulary knowledge and begin to understand simple mathematical problems. Teachers should ensure that their educational programs enable the understanding of the real world, by connecting exercises to a specific context, to promote social development.
In early childhood, the emotional domain consists of several crucial skills that individuals would need in their future life. Vanzandt-Travis (2016) states that for pre-schoolers the primary implication for educators is in ensuring that children can build social relationships, which will aid their future development. Also, self-awareness, which is displayed in emotional attachment to caregivers or playmates serves as a foundation for proper physiological growth.
Therefore, teachers should encourage activities that involve teamwork and cooperation to promote the necessary skills. Additionally, it is crucial to explain social roles and concepts, for instance, gender differences, while engaging students in these tasks to help them achieve the social milestone. For children, the implication for development within the emotional domain is in the necessity to learn how to interact with peers and adults and understand and control emotions. By working in groups, children will be able to learn how to interact with others and communicate properly, which will enable the improvement in social skills.
Within the social domain, the implications for both teachers and children are similar to those that are crucial for emotional development. It is because both require an understanding of communication and understanding of interactions with other people. However, teachers should understand that the emotional component is centered on a child’s perception of himself or herself while the social requires a need to build relationships with others.
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This factor is the primary implication for educators because students should become more self-aware while understanding social concepts such as interaction with peers or gender roles. For children, the implication of the social domain is in the ability to distinguish their preferences of playmates and caregivers. Therefore, they should begin to understand their emotions, causes, and consequences that follow and learn how to manage them to interact with the world.
For the physical domain of children, teachers should apply an outdoor learning strategy that can help enhance the required skills. For instance, children should be able to throw a ball within the ages of two and six which can be taught outside. Swaybay (2013) states that the approach can be utilized together with other strategies, which enables an improvement in several domains. Movement can affect many aspects of development, including health and acquisition of necessary skills.
Proper structure of activities can enable students to develop their physical capabilities, in this case, it is important to bring children outside and ensure the repetition of learning activities. Nel, Joubert, and Hartell (2017) conducted a study to evaluate the effect of outdoor activities and strategies that can help enhance the motor skills of the student within the ages of five and six. The authors emphasize that the development of these physical factors is more effective when children are engaged in activities outside a classroom.
According to Nel, Joubert, and Hartell (2017), outdoor activities “increased deficiency of sensory and motor development among Grade R learners” (p. 10). The skills that are kids should master involve throwing a ball, which can be done outside to improve the engagement of students and ensure that students are not afraid to damage objects in a room.
Teachers can employ emerging technology to help children learn the basics of gender roles and other social concepts the knowledge of which is necessary for ages two to six. The approach that can help enhance the social domain is described by Swaybay (2013) as “authentic assessment, real-life contexts and contemporary approaches such as using information and communications technologies OCT) to enhance learning” (p. 10). It is because considering the skills that children need to acquire within their early year’s educators need to focus on presenting a connecting between exercises and life. Specifically, this should focus on helping kids distinguish between genders and races as those are among the primary milestones by using specific real-life examples.
According to Norris (2017), children display a preference for gender-consistent toys by age one, therefore in early childhood students should be aware of particular differences and toys that they choose. This information can serve as a real-life context for developing the social domain. Additionally, authentic assessments are designed to encouraged students to learn from tasks that have a practical application, which can be helpful in this case as well.
For instance, the Line (n.d.), recommends using song lyrics and magazines to demonstrate particular social concepts to children. Furthermore, resources available on the Internet such as social media, video games, or video streaming services can be incorporated to illustrate people and their gender roles to children.
Reggio Emilia is a strategy that focuses on the interaction between students to facilitate their learning. Since the focus of the methods is on the students, it can be used to improve the emotional domain and help children gain an understanding of their emotions. The educational process has “strong potentials for development and as a subject of rights who learns and grows in the relationships with others” (“Reggio children identity,” para. 1). The method, however, is complicated and requires preparation as essential components include coordination between educators and additional facilities such as kitchen and atelier. These components are needed to explain various aspects of life o kids and engage them in activities that would enable them to explore the world.
In regards to the emotional domain, Reggio Emilia can be useful in the early childhood stage because at the age of two to six children should be able to display attachment, preference for playmates, and an understanding of guilt for improper actions. This requires both cooperation with others to identify preferences and a focus on a child and his or her feelings. The method is suitable since Reggio Emilia is centered around children as the primary facilitators of the learning process and their ability to pursue their interests.
To ensure proper cognitive development teachers should employ visual aids. For instance, Goswami (2015) states that multisensory approaches are more effective when compared to using one method; thus, teachers should use images together with other procedures, such as audio or kinesthetic. It is because the process of gaining new knowledge and skills is facilitated through several neural networks that are responsible for various functions.
To develop an understanding of symbols an educator can use pictures and voice to both showcase and talk about it. To improve the vocabulary a teacher can employ photos of objects, which would serve as a visual reference. Glyde (2018) states that visual aids help children develop as well-rounded individuals. Overall, by connecting these teaching strategies with the development of milestones, an educator can ensure that students learn the necessary skills and gain new knowledge.
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