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Effects of Early
Childhood Development through Case Analysis

Brittany Cleghorn

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Walden University


The objective of this observation analysis is to see how different
children act around others and how past theorist work in conjunction with the
subject being analyzed. As young children play, they express themselves by
exploring ideas about the past, where they live, fairness and respect for
others, their families’ cultural traditions, and how to use money to purchase
things. They also are naturally interested in scientific inquiry, the
properties and characteristics of nonliving objects and materials, living
things, and the earth and materials. Observation of young children’s play gives
insights into how to build on their interests and expand their learning.



The Effects of Early Childhood
Development through Case Analysis

            Children are complex,and the way a
child develops differs from individual to individual.


The study of
children is a field that researchers, scientists, theorists and educators have


exploring for
decades. An observation allows one to study the foundations of childhood


development and
allows the obsever to look at children develop through different lenses. Many


conclusions have
been drawn,observing how, when and why children develop the way they do.


Depending on the
lens in which an individual looks through when analyzing the development of


interesting and intriguing conclusions can be drawn regarding the broad topic


understanding how
children develop.


Part 1: Case Study #1- Angelica at Play

            Angelica is 9
months old. She has brown eyes and short curly, brown hair.             She as big, almond shaped eyes and a
very light complexion. She is  moving
around an area in a classroom where she is able to reach objects that are eye
level to her.

sits on the floor with her toys around her. His caretaker sits on the floor
next to her, and she grabs books and toys ff the shelves as her caretaker is
reading a book to her. She is interested in the reaction of her caretaker as
she is reading to her. Angelica hits on the book and tries to grab it as she is
being read to. Angelica leans into her caretaker, tries to grab the book and
even laughs as she is being read to. After while she seems to become uninterested
in the story and begins to move around and find something else that is of
interst to her. Next, she begins to pick up balls and throw them around and
moves onto more toys. Angelica seems to understand what her caretaker says, for
instance, when rolling the ball around, she proceeds to go after the ball and
her caretaker ask ” can I have it?” and Angelica hands her the ball.

sits up with ease. She seems very balanced and sure of herself. Her legs are
spread apart, and his feet point outward. She can lean forward with her stomach
to the floor and sit back up with some effort. Angellica crawls across the
floor with her hands flat on the ground and fingers spread wide. When Angelica
begins to crawl, she crawls up a stair over to wall with toys and mirrors where
she pulls objects off the shelf. She also crawls down the stairs where she sits
and beging to throw/roll plush balls.

can carry, push and pull objects. She is observed throwing/rolling a ball on
the floor and then reaching and grabbing the ball where she then hands it to
her caretaker. Angelica seems to display typicl behavior for her age. She seems
to have good motor skills, both fine and gross for her age. She is able to grab
items that can fit in her hand while crawling, sitting and attepting to stand.

Overall, Angelica’s behavior is
typical for her age. Shes seems to be very social and enjoys interacting with
others as well as playing independently for short periods of time.

Part II: Case Study
2- Nathan

withdrawn children frequently refrain from social acivities in the presence of
peers.The lack of social interaction in childhood may result from a variety of
causes .In this case study, Nathan is a 4 year old boy who does well with his
classwork on seems to be on target academically, but has a tough time
interacting with his peers, especially when more than one or two. Nathan’s
mother as well as his teacher have noticed he is very shy and timid around a
larger group of kids. When the teacher asked if there were any concern his
mother stated that even though he plays with just one or two kids, she is very
concerned about Nathan’s shyness and she does not want it to have any affect on
his leaning or confiedence in school.

            Shyness refers to an individual’s
feelings of uneasiness or hesitation when faced with a novel or unfamiliar
situation. Parents often believe that their children’s social skills are a
fundamental part of who they are.Some children ae shy while others are
outgoing, and with these traits come a particular set of social skills.
Research has shown that most of a child’s personality is determined by
environmental factors. These environmental factors are frequently subtle, or
occur so early in life that parents fail to notice their influence.

            The early years of life present a
unique opportunity to lay the foundation for healthy development. It is a time
of great growth and of vulnerability.Research on early childhood  has underscored the impact of the first five
years of a child’s life n his/her social-emotioal development. Negative, early
experiences can impair children’s mental health and effect their cognitive,
behavioral, social- emotional development.

III: Analysis and Recommendations

            The early childhood stage is from
the time from the end of infancy to around age 5 or 6,during this stage
children learn to become more slf- sufficient and to develop the basic skills
needed to care for themselves, they also develop reading skills and spend much
time playing with other children and learning social skills.Early childhood is
and exciting time for both th child and the caregivers. During this stage, a
child goes through many physical,cognitive and socioemotional changes and


talking about contributions to the physical development of children in the
early childhood stage physical growth is one of the first indicatorsof
development. Growth is the most dramatic and obvious indicator of phsycial
development in early childhood. Changes in the brain and nervous system,at the
stage, are just as significant to healthy cognitive development as is healthy
diet and nutrition to physical development (Goldstein, 2009).

and genetic factors dictate physical growth and development, however nutrition
plays just an important role ( Santrock, 2009), that is why children can at
times grow to be taller and healthier than both parents are.


skills are a learned series of physical actions that come together to produce
smooth, well- organized, seamless movements. There are two major types of motor
skills, gross motor skills, which are the larger and more cumbersome movements,
and fine motor skills, which are the smaller more delicate movements. Examples
of gross motor skills include moving, rolling over, sitting up, crawling,
walking and running. Generally large muscle develop before smaller ones,
therefore, gross motor skill development is the foundation for developing fine
motor skills. All physical development generally begins in the upper parts of
the body and move to the bottom. For example, the first motor skill a baby
usually learns to master is in the eyes.

motor skills include the ability to manipulate tiny objects,move abjects from
one hand to the other, and hand-eye coordination. Fine motor skills may involve
the use of every precise motor movement in order to achieve a delicate task.
Examples of fine motor skills are drawing, coloring, writing or threading
beads. Fine motor development refers to the development of skills involving the
smaller muscle groups ( Joanne Hui-Tzu Wang, 2004).


activity is  natural and life- long
activity that should be encouraged from birth. Parents and/or caregivers are
encouraged to be positive role models and provide daily physical activity
opportunities incorporating developmentally- appropriate ativities which
promote motor skills. Both structured and unstructured physical activity
opportunities should be provided safe indoor and outdoor environments and the
emphasis should be “fun” and “participation” rather than competition.

development of prescriptive evidence- based physical activity recommendations
for children under 5 years is imperative as it will facilitate monitoring and
surveillance of the health and development of children. It will also help early
years educational settings foster an inclusive and comprehensive educational
environment from an early age, which arguably provides the best possible start
for children. Establishing healthy physical activity habits from a youg age,
through implementation of evidence-based physical activity recommendations,
will only be beneficial.

Cognitive Development

cognitive skills allow children to process sensory information they collect
from the world. Including the ability to evaluate,  calculate, retain information, recall
experiences, make comparisons, and determine action. Whle cognitive skills do
have inherent component, most cognitive skills must be learned.

Theory of Cognitive Theory

            Piaget’s theory is the most
cited theory in cognitive development and states the children go through
successive stages. According to Piaget, these stages are completed in set order
in all children. The age range however can very from child to child. This
section will discuss the stages that relate to early childhood development, the
first stage in that regard is the preoperational stage.

second stage, the Preoperational Stage last from approximately age 2 to 7.
During this stage, the language development occurs. Children learn how to
interact with their environment through the use of words and images.This stage
is earmarked by egocentrism, the belief that everyones sees the world in the
same way, and magical thinking and beliefs. As the name of this stage suggests,
the child cannot yet perform “operations” or reversible mental actions that
allow them to do mentally what they formally do physically, stated in Santrock,
(2009). For example, the ability to imagine things that have been established
in actual behavior. Furthermore, this stage can be divided into two sub-stages,
” the symbolic function” and the intuitive thought stage” (p.217).

Symbolic Function sub-stage (ages 2-4), is marked by the ability to
mentally represent an object that is not present , the ablity too think
symbolically, scribbled drawings to represent people, and imagination or
pretend play.

Intuitive Thought sub-stage (4-7 years), is marked by the use of primitive
reasoning, asking questions, centration ( the tendency to focus on one aspect
of a situation and neglect others), and the lack of conversatin (Goldstein,


            Language development is perhaps
one of the most important stages of childhood growth and development because it
serves as a vehicle of future literacy and education. People who are successful
in life are usually articulate and have good interpersonal communication
skills, these skills originate in early childhood development (Fujise, 2008).


cognitive development does not naturally occur, in a healthy
environment,cognitive shortfalls are the result. These shortfalls lessen a
child’s capacity to learn and are difficult to correct later in life, therefore
specific and appropriate involvement to maximize cognitive development in early
childhood should be recommended to all caregivers. Like language and motor
skills, cognitive skills can be practiced and improved with the right training.
Early education is key, such as a pre- school and then a child- centered
kindergarten that emphasizes physical, cognitive, and social development, and focus
on experimenting, exploring, discovering, speaking and listening skills.

Socioemotional Development

and emotional experiences with primary caregivers as well as interactions with
other children and adults early in life set the stage for future academic and
personal outcomes, and undergird other areas of development (Denham,
2006). As children develop social and emotional skills, they gain the
confidence and competence needed to build relationships, problem-solve, and
cope with emotions (National
Research Council & Institute of Medicine, 2000). Social and emotional competencies as they
relate to school readiness have gained enormous attention. Research indicates
that social skills and accompanying process skills (e.g., attention and
approaches to learning) evident at school entry (i.e. by about age 5) are the
best predictors of later social and emotional competencies, such as managing
behavior, making social connections, and tolerating frustration with peers (Blair & Diamond, 2008). Social and emotional competencies
also often uniquely predict academic achievement, even when other factors such
as earlier academic success are taken into account (Denham, 2006 ). In
addition, children with greater self-control (an aspect of self-regulation) are
more likely to grow into adults with better health (e.g., better physical
health, less substance abuse), have higher incomes and fewer financial
struggles, and fewer criminal convictions than those with weaker
self-regulatory skills (Moffitt et al., 2011).


are born with the need and desire to connect with those aroud them. When
teachers and providers establish positive relationships with children from
birth through the early years, and value their diverse cultures and languages,
children feel safe and secure, laying the foundation for healthy social and
emotional development. This process affects how children experience the world,
express themselves, manage their emotions, and establish positive relationships
with others.

and emotional development involves several interrelated areas of development,
including social interaction, emotional awareness, and self-regulation. Below
are examples of important aspects of social and emotional development for young

Social interaction focuses on the
relationships we share with others, including relationships with adults and
peers. As children develop socially, they learn to take turns, help their
friends, play together, and cooperate with others.

Emotional awareness includes the ability
to recognize and understand our own feelings and actions and those of other
people, and how our own feelings and actions affect ourselves and others.

is the ability to express thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in socially
appropriate ways. Learning to calm down when angry or excited and persisting at
difficult tasks are examples of self-regulation.

childhood teachers and providers play an important role in nurturing children’s
social and emotional development. Supporting children’s social and emotional
development can be both rewarding and challenging. Critical to providing
support is having realistic expectations of children’s development at different
ages. Realistic expectations of when infants are able to experience emotions (hint:
early!), how easy or difficult it is for a toddler to take turns, and when
young children are able to follow simple directions can bring greater success –
and less frustration – for young children and teachers and practitioners.


physical, cognitive and socioemotional development of young children has a
direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become.
That is why understanding the need to invest in very young children is
important, so as to maximize their future well- being.












Blair and Diamond, 2008. Biological processes in
prevention and intervention: The promotion of self-regulation as a means
of preventing school failure. Developmental
Psychopathology, 20 (3) (2008), pp. 899-911


Denham, 2006. Social–emotional competence as support for school
readiness: What is it and how do

we assess it? Early Education
& Development, 17 (1) (2006), pp. 57-89


Fujise, K., & Deacon, S. (2008). Blackwell Handbook of Language Development. 

Psychology, 49(3). 
Retrieved January 19, 2010, from ProQuest Psychology Journals.


Goldstein, A. (2003). Handbook of Psychology (Vol.
11). (1. st, Ed.) New York: Wiley.


Joanne Hui-Tzu Wang.  (2004). A
Study on Gross Motor Skills of Preschool Children. Journal of

Research in Childhood
Education, 19(1), 32-43.  Retrieved January 19, 2010, from
ProQuest Psychology Journals.


Konold and Pianta, 2005. Empirically-derived, person-oriented patterns
of school readiness in

typically-developing children: Description and
prediction to first-grade achievement. Applied Developmental
Science, 9 (4) (2005), pp. 174-187


National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2000. From neurons to
neighborhoods: The

science of early childhood
development. J.P. Shonkoff, D.A. Phillips (Eds.), Committee
on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development, Board on Children,
Youth, and Families, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences. National
Academy Press, Washington, DC (2000)


Santrock, J. W. (2009). Life-Span Development (12th
ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.



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