Family plays an important role in the life of an infant right from birth. Family contributes to young children’s intelligence, communicative and other competencies. It is the child’s interaction with the mother, siblings and father that shape language and literacy skills. Family members impart values and beliefs that shape self-perception of the child which are critical in determining view personalities. Artefacts of play at home do influence schools’ environment in terms of material resources for early child development. Cognitive development skills of the child are shaped by the way they relate to the mother at the imprint stage during suckling, crawling and crying stages (Woodhead, 2006). The experience of each and every child contributes to every child’s behavior in their later life. Studies on newly-born children suggest that they exhibit fundamental needs of belonging to family, community and culture (Trevarthen 1998). Parents engage newborns in social interactions for security, survival and acquirement of literacy skills and cultural competencies.
Romantic discourse perceives a child as an insecure being that needs protection from harm. The child is regarded as being innocent and requires attention of those around it. The mother as the first point of interaction forms the strongest attachment of the child for security and responsiveness. For instance, when the child cries, the mother provides milk; when the child crawls and falls, the mother provides support. The child therefore displays vulnerability and innocence. Material resources of play for the child are checked to ensure they bare no potential harm to the child. That means that toys and other play artefacts are free of any potential harm to the child. Siblings, father, mother and the community keep their eye on the child perceived to be vulnerable to risks. During the 19thC children were part of the working class and supplemented family income. There was a shift from the utilitarian view of the child as an investment to the family to one where the child became innocent, more protected and vulnerable.
In the puritanical approach development learning is influenced to a large extent by social and cultural contexts in forms of norms, values and beliefs. Children are taught good/evil, bad/good, right/wrong and other norms that shape their language, behavior and personality. Parents take the puritanical approach to life adopted and believe that children are inherently evil hence should be disciplined to correct bad behavior in them. This approach influences child pedagogy –where teaching curriculum assumes that they know what is good for the child and what should be taught. In most cases teachers revert to teacher-lecture models, rote learning where the child has no influence or in-put. With such a puritanical view, learning environment for early learners doesn’t respect universal stages of child development such as children’s natural play, exploration and activity-based learning and guiding, supportive roles of the educator. Child play environment is protected to ensure children only get what they deserve or see what they should see. The approach was the classical model taken by early teachers in the 18th C. However, today parents have opened up to the globalized village where information is shared at earlier stages. There are instances of protectionism from parents to safe guard values, norms and beliefs particularly acquired from the internet and social media. Social environment shapes values, norms and cultural beliefs of the child. Collective beliefs shape policy at school leading to guidelines that influence book content, child regalia and expressions. Home settings for such puritanical adherents adapt super-nanny parenting approach of assuming children are naughty and must be checked.
The developmental approach borrows from Piagetian sequence of child development. The discourse asserts that child development experiences are unique to every child in their setting of early development. As the world grapples with developing policy on behalf of children, those very infants are already experiencing brain cells development, infant proliferates and synapses crackle and patterns of a new life are established (UNICEF, 2001). In other words child development stages are systematic and should be followed to the latter to ensure the child attains desired skills. Under the early developmental theories many transformations occur in their lives in their physical, mental, cognitive and socio-emotional world, particularly at infancy to preschool period. The changes that take place in the child are marked with filtering and acquiring skills and capacities in life, the way they communicate with others, relate or play in an a sequence or ordered manner (Woodhead, 2006). In early child development, teachers set stepping stones for every child to accomplish in terms of goals and tasks. The curriculum is supported by work books that guide learning and learning outcomes.Going by this approach therefore, early childhood educators should let children rediscover in their natural settings but in a guided manner that ensures they accomplish simpler to complex tasks. The activities are ordered in sequences to ensure that they attain targeted skills by carefully tailoring experiences like designing preschool, choosing toys, timing music lessons and establishing childcare policies (Bruer, 2004, p. 428). School should imitate home-like environment where a child feels that there are no gaps in attachment to their mother, father, siblings or communities. School should fill in the gaps while at the same time let the savage infants unpack the world. The developmental approach mimics a home environment where the child takes steps in life like crying, suckling, crawling, walking and running. Each and every stage ensures that a child receives necessary care required for attainment of higher skills.
Children’s own experience greatly influences life they live either at home or at school.Mother-child attachment showed particular ways that were culturally specific expressions of attachment that shaped early relationship developmental processes. Child experiences have influenced current pedagogical modules and policies (Singer, 1998). Parental influence now informs childcare policies and accounts for normal development for most children. Home environment is characterized by caregivers, nunnies, siblings and parents who support the child at every stage as they develop. Mothers play a critical role in ensuring children achieve their skills at every stage, however, nunnies also take over as alternative mothers for working mothers who have no time for their children.