Human Development and Learning is the topic for discussion within this document.
Cognitive Ability and Literacy, in particular Reading will be looked at in detail. Analysing previous and current research and theories will be linked to a structured reading observation on a 6 year old child called Rosie, within a home environment. The barriers of health issues, impacting and affecting the development and learning process will be considered. Observation as a tool will be evaluated with recommendations, support and intervention techniques to improve and enhance development and learning. Differences of development and learning will be compared, from today, to thirty years previous.
Rosie was born normally at 35/40 weeks gestation, weighing 6 lb. 7oz. Breathing problems identified at birth resulted in the transfer to SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) at 2 days old and incubated for a period of 14 days until stability was established, QEQM (Queen
Elizabeth, Queen Mother) Hospital. Diagnosis confirmed Laryngomalacia, (Martin, 2007), a congenital condition of which the muscles within the larynx are weak, causing airway obstruction, (Martin, 2007). Other medical conditions presented for Rosie until the age of 5, including gastro-oesophageal reflux, severe food intolerances, asthma, for which she was under a Paediatrician at QEQM Hospital. To date, Rosie appears to be fee from these conditions. However, Mary Sheridan’s Milestone’s suggests that she may have had a developmental delay, at an earlier age with fine and gross motor skills, (Sheridan, 1973,
p.13). Rosie attended a local Nursery at the age of 3 and started primary school at 4 years,
3 months and is currently ranked 25/28 youngest in her class and set in the top groups for literacy and numeracy. Drawing on Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological system theory,
Rosie lives at home in a positive environment with her mother, father and older sibling of the same gender with access to resources, social activities and hobbies.
A journey of development and learning over a period of time, of approximately, 6 years, 7 months has enabled Rosie to develop and learn how to read a book independently.
Progression of development and learning is evident, using a range of skills including
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cognitive ability and most essentially oral language, from the left side of the brain with the addition of visual, auditory, phonological processing, fine motor skills and a working memory, (Chall, 1983). A complex question that remains unanswered of whether ‘nature or nurture’ holds responsibility seems imminent at this stage.
Drawing on Piaget’s theory, (1967), from Rosie’s reading observation, although some relevance applies to the pre-operation stage in terms of thinking, a note of past conversations from Rosie in that she ‘thought that the moon was following her’, highlight that her thinking is at this stage, (Piaget, 1948). In regard to cognition, through my observation, Rosie presents as a diligent 6 year old child, currently set in the top group for literacy and numeracy at her current educational setting with an average reading age of around 8 (Minster CEP school report, 2010) could indicate how Rosie seems to sit more at the concrete stage. Piaget’s belief that children were ‘solitary learners’ and that cognitive ability was constructed and initiated by children themselves and not from others, (Piaget,
1967), does not seem to reflect on Rosie, as she has had total guidance and support from her parents and educational setting, showing limited self-initiation. Although some discrepancies, Piaget’s stage theory (1967) does seem to hold place as a rough guide for some areas.
Referring to Vygotsky’s theory, (1978) and Bronfenbrenner’s, (1979) bio-ecological model, severe encouragement and support from Rosie’s Microsystem, (parents), with guidance