Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Historical Overview of Child Development Theories Part 1


Before the Reformation, children were considered to be little adults.
With the Reformation, the idea of original sin made children depraved heathens who needed to be tamed.
Over the years, we have combined all the succeeding theories, taking the best of each.
John Locke - Tabula Rasa Theory
Infants are a blank slate
Children are completely molded and formed by their early experiences with the adults around them
Children are not basically evil, but good
Jean-Jacque Rousseau - Maturation Theory
Children are noble savages who are naturally born with a moral sense of right and wrong and an innate ability for orderly, healthy growth
First child-centered approach
There are stages of development all children go through
Development is a process of maturation which is a naturally unfolding course of growth and development
Charles Darwin - Theory of Natural Selection
All animals are the descendants of a few common ancestors
Survival of the fittest is the determining factor in evolution
The development of children follows the same general plan as the evolution of the species
His careful observations resulted in the birth of the science of child study
Stanley Hall and Arnold Gesell - Evolutionary Theory
Child development is genetically determined and happens automatically
Founders of the normative approach of observing large groups of children to establish average or normal expectations
Hall was a student of Darwin’s
At the same time in France Binet developed the first IQ test giving the first operational definition of intelligence.  Hall & Gesell worked at Stanford.  Result: the Stanford-Binet IQ test which is still used today.
Sigmund Freud - Psychoanalytic Theory
Theory of personality development and care explaining why we experience life as adults the way we do
Explained how infants and toddlers are unique individuals whose earliest experiences and relationships form the foundation for self-concept, self-esteem, and personality
With Freud, child development and care became a legitimate discipline
Symbiosis: there is no awareness that the baby is separate from the mother at birth (Id)
Gradually replaced by separation (ego) and individuation (superego)
  • Id - present at birth - source of our wants need and desires
  • Ego - develops in early infancy - self-concept, self-esteem
  • Superego - begins to develop in infancy - conscience or value system of right and wrong







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