• 06 Pages
  • Published On: 20-11-2023
1. History of the concept of childhood and adolescent:
Children as a time of development which is staged and universal:

The concept of Childhood and adolescent development has been changed over the years with the introduction of modern learning and developmental process. Children development is the sequence of physical, emotional, cognitive and psychological changes that occur from the time child born to the time before they reach adulthood. This essay is going to present a critical discussion on the history of the concept of children and adolescent development. As mentioned by Adami et al. (2020), development in children is universal which is divided into different stages that assist the child to develop emotional, physical and cognitive ability gradually. This concept is supported by Piaget’s Theory of Childhood development, in which Piaget mentioned four gradual stages of child development such as a sensory-motor (0-2 years), preoperational stage (2-7 years), Concrete operational stage (7-11 years) and formal operational stage (12 and up). On the contrary Malik & Marwaha, R. (2018), argued that, although many theories support the fact that there are different stages in childhood development that are universal, the modern concept of children and adolescent development believes that there are specific and individual learning and development needs of each child that vary from one child to the other. Modern perspectives regarding child development have established the fact that although the overall process of child developments is divided into different stages and processes, the overall process, as well as the pattern of development, differ in different children based on their individual developmental needs. As mentioned by Kelly et al. (2019), many factors are associated with childhood development that triggers the differences in developmental stages in children such as children's learning capability, genetic influence, physical and psychological status, family and society environment, prenatal circumstances, lack of exposure to the helpful stimuli and any specific and diagnostic factor. All these factors change the individual developmental and learning needs of each child. In this context, Yousefichaijan et al. (2017) mentioned that, although children development is divided into many stages, it is not ubiquitous. The author also mentioned that the developmental process of psychologically disabled children is completely different from that of their normal peers, as the disabled children need special development and learning framework that will improve their cognitive skill and intelligence. On the contrary Kendall et al. (2019) argued that, although the developmental needs differ from child to child, there is a basic sequence of children development that is universal. Many psychologists supported the viewpoint by establishing the fact that, although there is huge modernisation on the concept and perspectives regarding children development, it cannot change the basic concept of the children development. On supporting the viewpoint Kelly et al. (2019 mentioned that, despite many criticisms, it needs to be acknowledged that there is a basic sequence of physical, emotional and cognitive development that is applicable in all children irrespective of their health condition, genetic and prenatal circumstance.


From the above-mentioned arguments, it can be concluded that children development is the systematic process in which important physical, emotional and cognitive changes occurs in the life of children from their birth to the time before their adulthood. There are huge arguments regarding the concept that children development is universal and staged. Despite all the criticism it can be stated that there is a basic systematic developmental process of children development. Developmental needs of children vary from one child to others based on their physical and psychological status. Practitioners need to make effective modification in the basic developmental process of children to develop the professional and personal developmental skill of children based on their needs.

2. Discussion on the current practices and policies on children and young people:

This essay is going to discuss the policies and practices used in the UK regarding promoting effective development in children and young people. UK government has developed highly effective legislative framework, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), that enables the early year practitioners to implement safe and healthy practices to meet the specific developmental and learning needs of children (Mukadam & Kaur, 2016). Early Years Foundation Stage (Welfare Requirements) Regulations 2012, emphasizes on developing a healthy and safe developmental environment for children in which the safeguarding, as well as the welfare of each child, must be maintained in their home, schools and society. In the case of young people, Safeguarding Vulnerable group act 2006 is developed by the UK government to provide a protective and safe environment for vulnerable adults and young people. On the contrary, Mohamed & Thomas, (2017) argued that despite the establishment of policies for children and young people, in many places of England there is still the cases of abuse and ill-treatment of children as well as of vulnerable adults due to poor implementation of the policy guidelines by practitioners and policymakers. Under EYFS guidelines, early years practitioners in the UK will provide such a positive developmental framework to children in which they will be protected from any kind of harm, abuse and negligence. In the UK in terms of promoting their cognitive, physical and emotional wellbeing. On the other hand, the Care Act 2014 protects young people from any abuse and harm. On the contrary Palacios et al. (2019).) argued that, although child and adult care policies are set by the UK government to promote equal developmental opportunities, there are differences in developmental and care needs of children and young people based on their physical health, genetics, current mental and emotional status and family and social environment. On supporting the viewpoint, many psychologists have mentioned that the developmental needs of a dementia child and normal child is not same rather dementia children need additional protective and safe environment in which the practitioner can provide them with special developmental and learning opportunities. In this context Tisdall. (2017) argue that, despite many criticisms, it is acknowledged that Child and adult care policy set by the UK government enable the early year practitioners to work under a systematic legal guideline to promote gradual development of each child and young individual. Under the guidelines of EYFS framework, schools in the UK must ensure that educators and early years practitioners will use such a learning and developmental methods, in which physical, emotional and cognitive needs of each child would be met.

From the above-mentioned discussion, it can be concluded that the UK government has established relevant and effective policies in terms of promoting highly effective and safe developmental as well as learning framework. For children and young people. Although the EYFS guidelines, the Care Act 2014 and Safeguarding Adult Policy focus on providing the highly protective and safe developmental framework to children and young people in the UK, there are still cases of poor implementation of the guidelines that interfere with the positive physical and cognitive development of these individuals. In this context, policymakers need to emphasize on strict implementation of these guidelines across the UK by conducting awareness campaign that will raise public concern regarding the importance of providing the safe and protective developmental environment to children and young people.

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Reference list:
  • Adami, F., Benedet, J., Takahashi, L. A. R., da Silva Lopes, A., da Silva Paiva, L., & de Vasconcelos, F. D. A. G. (2020). Association between pubertal development stages and body adiposity in children and adolescents. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 18, 1-9.
  • Kelly, R. S., Boulin, A., Laranjo, N., Lee-Sarwar, K., Chu, S. H., Yadama, A. P., ... & Weiss, S. T. (2019). Metabolomics and Communication Skills Development in Children; Evidence from the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Metabolites, 9(3), 42.
  • Kendall, S., Nash, A., Braun, A., Bastug, G., Rougeaux, E., & Bedford, H. (2019). Acceptability and understanding of the Ages & Stages Questionnaires®, as part of the Healthy Child Programme 2‐year health and development review in England: Parent and professional perspectives. Child: care, health and development, 45(2), 251-256.
  • Malik, F., & Marwaha, R. (2018). Developmental stages of social emotional development in children.
  • Mohamed, S., & Thomas, M. (2017). The mental health and psychological well-being of refugee children and young people: An exploration of risk, resilience and protective factors. Educational Psychology in Practice, 33(3), 249-263.
  • Mukadam, Y., & Kaur, K. (2016). 19 The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The Early Years Handbook for Students and Practitioners: An essential guide for the foundation degree and levels 4 and 5, 298.
  • Palacios, J., Adroher, S., Brodzinsky, D. M., Grotevant, H. D., Johnson, D. E., Juffer, F., ... & Tarren-Sweeney, M. (2019). Adoption in the service of child protection: An international interdisciplinary perspective. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 25(2), 57.
  • Tisdall, E. K. M. (2017). Conceptualising children and young people’s participation: Examining vulnerability, social accountability and co-production. The International Journal of Human Rights, 21(1), 59-75.
  • Yousefichaijan, P., Rezagholizamenjany, M., Dorreh, F., Rafiei, M., Taherahmadi, H., Niyakan, Z., & Arjmand, A. (2017). Comparison of development indicators, according to ages and stages questionnaires in children with pollakiuria compared to healthy children. Nephro-Urology Monthly, 9(4).

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