Article Review on Biological and Environmental factors that may impact the Physical Development of a Child

Research a scholarly journal article on the biological and environmental factors that may impact the physical development of a child. Provide a brief summary of the article. Compare and contrast it to your course readings thus far.

Research consistently shows that living in poverty negatively influences language development. Locate and summarize information that would support this assumption (e.g., journal articles, Centers for Disease Control [CDC], and/or World Health Organization [WHO]). What types of experiences or resources do you feel that children who live in poverty do not experience or receive but children from higher economic statuses benefit from?
use resources from ebscohost services and from text book Child Development Seventh Edition Robert S. Feldman ISBN-13: 978-0-13-385203-5 ISBN-10: 0-13-385203-2

Preschoolers’ Physical Development
Case Scenario
Chris is three years old now. During his preschool years (i.e., between three and six), his body
and brain will undergo the maximum growth. At two years, Chris weighed about 25 pounds and
was 3 feet tall. By age six, his weight will nearly double, to almost 50 pounds, and he will grow
another foot. Not only do Chris’s height and weight change as he grows, he also loses his
chubbiness—typical in infants and toddlers—and becomes more slender and lean. As his body
develops, his proportions will become more like an adult’s. Similarly, his brain will develop
rapidly during this period.
Chris is physically active during the day. Sometimes, Chris has a lot of trouble falling asleep at
night because he is still pepped up from a day full of physical activities. It is common for
children his age to find it difficult to sleep, but this problem usually improves over time.
On occasion, Chris has woken inexplicably at night in a state of terror, with his heart racing. His
pediatrician explains that these are night terrors, which are common in young children and
caused by neural maturation. Night terrors are not the same as nightmares. Nightmares are just
bad dreams, whereas night terrors occur during stage 4, which is characterized by deep,
dreamless sleep that lasts for approximately thirty minutes.
As Chris grows, it is important to provide his body with the necessary food. Children his age
often eat less food than they did as toddlers because now their bodies are not growing quite as
rapidly. Chris’s parents are worried that he is not eating enough food, but his pediatrician assures
them that this is completely normal. The pediatrician explains that they should not force Chris to
“clear his plate” to appease their concern because this insistence could lead to childhood obesity.
In the United States, childhood obesity is a growing problem. It is important for children to have
appropriate nutrition (i.e., follow the food pyramid and avoid fast food) and physical activity to
avoid unnecessary weight gain. Children should eat a variety of food, including fresh fruits and
vegetables. An appropriate portion size for a preschooler is one-fourth to one-third of an adult
portion of food.
Malnutrition (i.e., faulty nutrition, which can lead to a child being underweight) is another
problem seen in this age group and is often a sign of child neglect. Child neglect occurs when
parents fail to appropriately care for their children or tend to their physical and emotional needs
Other types of child neglect, or maltreatment, include physical abuse and psychological abuse.
Maltreatment is damaging to children’s physical, cognitive, and social development. For
example, children who are abused tend to have poor self-esteem and misbehave. Fortunately,
child maltreatment is not common.
Children are much more likely to be injured in accidents than to be victims of abuse. A
preschooler might fall while running around or climbing on a table or a chair. The child might
accidently ingest some dangerous chemicals, which can cause serious health problems. When
Chris started walking, his parents made sure they locked all their household cleaning materials in
a cabinet that he could not access. They also had their home inspected for lead. Lead can be
found in many substances (typically paint, pottery, and even dust) and can cause mental
retardation and even death.
Motor Skills
Though preschoolers are physically active, the variety of motor skills they can engage in during
this time period is limited.
Like most children his age, Chris is active and spends most of his day showing off his gross
motor skills by running, hopping, and jumping around. However, he is unable to engage in fine
motor skills, which require smaller, delicate movements, like eating with a fork, writing with a
crayon, or tying shoelaces.
As Chris progresses to middle childhood, his gross and fine motor skills will become more
advanced and fine-tuned.
Two motor skills in particular are important: potty training and handedness.
During his preschool years, Chris’s parents are working to potty-train him. Experts suggest that
his parents should not attempt to potty-train him until he has developed bladder and bowel
control, which depends on muscular and neural development. When Chris is two-and-a-half
years old, he begins wanting to use a “big kid” potty. He also starts expressing discomfort when
his diaper gets soiled. Chris’s parents are patient and consistent while working with him. Small
rewards, such as stickers or small toys, help encourage Chris to use the toilet. However, it is also
important for his parents to remember that potty training cannot happen overnight.
As parents begin teaching their preschoolers how to write, they are often keen to find out
whether their children are right handed (90 percent of the population) or left handed. During the
preschool period, children tend to show a marked preference for one hand over the other when
performing tasks. Although many myths exist about handedness, there is no scientific evidence
that left-handed children have any disadvantages in life. However, they are at an increased risk
of accidents because of living in a “right-handed world.” According to Bower’s article “The Left
Hand of Math and Verbal Talent,” left-handed children have some academic advantages. There
are even scholarships available only to left-handed children. Many famous intellectuals have
been and are left handed, like Michelangelo and Bill Gates.

Preschoolers’ Cognitive Development
Piaget believed that preschoolers were in the midst of the preoperational stage of development,
which he believed occurred in children from age two through age seven. During this stage,
children are able to reason and use concepts and symbols but they are unable to perform
operations, which are logical and formal mental processes. From age two through age seven,
children are often unable to think through a problem to reach a solution.
Piaget assessed children’s cognitive abilities by engaging them in a series of tasks to test their
centration, conservation, egocentrism, and intuitive thought. When children were unable to
master these tasks, Piaget believed that they had not progressed beyond the preoperational stage.
Therefore, the preoperational stage of development is defined more by the types of activities
children cannot do than by the types of activities they can do.
Although Piaget’s theory has been hugely influential, it does not come without limitations. For
example, we now know that children develop various capabilities slightly earlier than what
Piaget assumed. Furthermore, Piaget is often criticized for focusing on the negative side of
development, by displaying the activities that children cannot perform, rather than focusing on
the abilities they have. Although his theory is not perfect, it is still largely influential and
provides a great deal of knowledge and structure to the field of developmental psychology.
Preoperational Stage: Centration
When children engage in centration, they focus on only one aspect of a situation or an object
and ignore other relevant information. Chris exhibits this behavior when he prefers to have five
pennies over a five-dollar bill because he is centrating on the number (five separate pennies
versus only one five-dollar bill) instead of the amount.
Preoperational Stage: Conservation
Conservation is similar to centration. When children engage in conservation, they focus on only
one feature rather than including all possible information. When children are unable to
conserve, they believe that the physical shape of an object is directly related to quantity. Chris
exhibits this behavior when he and his brother are given glasses of juice of different sizes. He
assumes that because his brother has a taller glass, he has more juice despite the fact that their
father poured the same amount of juice into each glass.
Preoperational Stage: Egocentrism
Egocentrism is another behavioral pattern preschoolers express when they are unable to accept
the physical viewpoints of others. This does not mean that preschoolers are selfish. They are just
unable to understand that different people have different perspectives of the world. Chris often
engages in this behavior when he stands in front of the television, blocking the view of his
siblings. Because his thinking is egocentric, he fails to realize that he is blocking the view of his
siblings as he assumes his siblings can see exactly what he sees.
Preoperational Stage: Intuitive Thought
Preschoolers’ development of intuitive thought is a hallmark characteristic of these
development stages. During this stage, children become particularly curious about the world.
When Chris entered this stage, he began asking questions about everything. It became slightly
annoying for his parents to answer his constant questions. However, parents should use this
stage of development to increase their children’s understanding of the world.
Lev Vygotsky gave utmost importance to a child’s social and cultural environments. He believed
that the learning process could not occur in a vacuum. According to Vygotsky, the learning
process is highly influenced by the culture and society of the child. Vygotsky believed that
children learned by actively engaging in social interactions, for example, by “apprenticing” with
adults and peers. According to his view, children grow cognitively because of the assistance that
social partners provide. This view is in contrast with Piaget, who believed that children must
learn independently by exploring their world and that intelligence developed from actions.
However, if Vygotsky and Piaget had ever collaborated, they both would have probably agreed
that parents should take advantage of the teachable moments that occur when children begin
engaging in intuitive thinking.
While Piaget’s theory has clearly marked stages in cognitive development, Vygotsky’s theory
does not divide the development phase into stages. Instead, Vygotsky’s theory is based on some
distinctive features, such as private speech, zone of proximal development, and scaffolding
Theoretical Features: Private Speech
The first feature of Vygotsky’s theory is private speech, or talking to self. Vygotsky
considered this an important aspect of development as it helps children in thinking through
issues, comprehending them, and coming up with solutions. As we grow, private speech is
internalized. Though it is not vocal anymore, it never really leaves us. Instead of speaking out
loud, adults engage in private speech through a thought process that is a quiet internal
dialogue. Many developmental psychologists believe that private speech is a precursor to this
internal dialogue. When Chris plays alone in his room, he often narrates his actions. For
example, he tells himself to “put that block up there” and to “be careful” when he is walking
near his block tower.
Theoretical Features: Zone of Proximal Development
Another marked feature of Vygotsky’s theory is the zone of proximal development. He
believed that the zone of proximal development is a specific stage of learning when a child
almost, but not fully, completes an independent thinking activity. The mental functions are in the
process of maturing in this stage. He thought that it is crucial for social partners to engage with
the child in the zone of proximal development through scaffolding, which was another feature of
Vygotsky’s theory.
Theoretical Features: Scaffolding
Supporting the child through the learning process while letting the child complete the task
independently encourages cognitive development. When Chris entered preschool, he was unable
to write his name. His teacher noticed that he was in the zone of proximal development and
guided his thinking abilities with scaffolding. As Chris struggled to write his name, his teacher
guided him through this process by asking him to speak his name out loud, then asking him to
focus only on one letter at a time, and finally showing him a picture of the letter so that he could
correctly write each letter. Had his teacher not taken the time to engage him in this process and
simply written his name for him, Chris would have missed learning an important skill.
Information Processing Approach
The information-processing approach to cognitive development focuses primarily on
preschoolers’ recalling abilities. Children are able to recall details of commonly performed
activities or events. Think back to your own earliest memory. How detailed is it? How old were
you? Most people cannot remember anything that happened before they were three years old.
This inability to remember anything of the first three years of your life is commonly referred to
as infantile amnesia. Even at the age of three years, autobiographical memories (memories of
our own life events, also called episodic memories) are not entirely accurate and are easily
manipulated and overly simplified (which is why many states do not allow young children to
testify in court cases).
Although preschoolers’ autobiographical memories require additional development over time,
these children tend to form memories of scripts, or memories for commonly performed events.
For example, Chris may not be able to recall his experience of going to the grocery store the
week before, but he can easily recall the major steps in grocery shopping, such as riding in the
car, picking up a grocery cart, selecting items, and paying the cashier.