Children's Development: A Glance Into Early Childhood Education and Family Dynamics

Children's Development: A Glance Into Early Childhood Education and Family Dynamics

Hannah (Mills) Mechler (Grays Harbor College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2503-6.ch006

Abstract

This chapter outlines the roles of families and communities as well as the importance of early learning classrooms as they relate to integrating activities designed to promote children's development. Specific focuses of the chapter will delve into family dynamics, including various parenting styles and meta-emotion approaches, as they relate to affecting children's development. The chapter will also uncover the role of children's play interactions as they relate to how the activity itself fosters children's development as well as how play may be viewed as a vehicle in which to promote children's appreciation and understanding of diversity and multiculturalism. Specific program models typically seen within early learning classrooms and standards created by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) will be discussed in this chapter.
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Background

Children are typically acknowledged as active agents within their environments (Couchenour & Chrisman, 2014). Thus, children’s development is largely dependent on their interactions as well as the interplay of nature and nurture (Crown et al., 2006). Nature relates to children’s genetic composition, while nurture is associated with children’s environments and how they may influence children’s outcomes. This chapter will mainly focus on nurture, or how environmental factors may influence children’s development. Examples of nurture that will be discussed in this chapter include parenting styles, the types of meta-emotion approaches parents use, early childhood education classrooms, teachers, the media, culture and society, as well as socialization.

The concept of socialization is related to children’s interactions within their environments (Baker, Fenning, & Crinic, 2011; Cui et al., 2020). Specifically, socialization is defined as a process in which information is passed from individuals to individuals based on their beliefs, values, backgrounds, experiences (Baker, Fenning, & Crinic, 2011). Examples of specific agents, or factors associated with children’s socialization include parents and caregivers, school environments, neighborhoods, as well as culture. All of these agents serve the role as an impetus, which may influence children’s experiences and perceptions about the world around them.

Key Terms in this Chapter

National Association For The Education of Young Children (NAEYC): The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is an early childhood organization that promotes children’s development by outlining ten standards that early childhood centers should adhere to.

Meta-Emotion: Cognitive processing of emotions, where parents are aware of their emotions as well as their children’s emotions.

Diversity: Diversity includes acknowledging various cultures, heritages, and backgrounds that make every person unique.

Exosystem: The exosystem is a system of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory that encompasses factors that influence children’s development, even though children may not be directly involved with these interactions. An example includes parents’ jobs, in terms of whether their jobs may trigger a relocation to a new location.

Macrosystem: The macrosystem is a system of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory that focuses on culture, society, and history. Thus, culture that individuals are immersed within may influence their beliefs and perceptions about events that transpire in life.

Early Childhood Education Program Models: Early childhood education program models are found within early childhood education facilities that utilize specific curriculum frameworks.

Socialization: Socialization includes factors that children are introduced to within their environments that shape their perceptions, reactions, or beliefs. Examples of these factors may include experiences that parents expose their children to, or the media.

Chronosystem: The chronosystem is a system of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory that encompasses the concept of time. Time and the era individuals reside in will influence children’s development.

Play: Play is defined as child-directed activities that provide enjoyment and recreation, while promoting children's development.

Microsystem: The microsystem is a system of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory that includes the most direct influences on children’s development. Examples include home environments, such as parents or siblings.

Mesosystem: The mesosystem is a system of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory that encompasses connections between the microsystems. For instance, connections between children’s home environments and school settings in terms of how these two systems interact and influence children’s development.

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