The second chapter focuses on physical development in infancy and toddlerhood. The section primarily covers how an infant’s brain develops over time, leading up to changes in the processes as a toddler. To understand the methodology of the studied concepts, neuroscience is introduced as an essential term. Through neuroscientific discoveries, educators and psychologists were able to identify the effect of experiences on a child’s brain development processes (Bergin & Bergin, 2019). Biological terms, such as neuron and neural synapses, help explain the mechanisms that allow some children to learn differently from others (Bergin & Bergin, 2019).
This finding is vital in emphasizing any educator’s role in developing a child’s learning abilities. Moreover, specific examples of how the external environment predetermines an infant’s growth highlight the importance of taking a lot of factors into consideration as a parent or educator.
Concepts of stress reactivity, genetics, and experiences are generally introduced to acknowledge the possible negative factors that could limit one’s brain development and create individual differences. Although neuroscience cannot accurately predict the optimal learning conditions for students, the field explains how over-stimulation and immobility significantly decrease the student’s productivity (Bergin & Bergin, 2019). Linking back to infancy, exercise and nutrition are outlined as two central factors that influence the neural progress of a person.
In my understanding, the introduced concepts provide a basic framework for constructing educational plans for students of any age, starting from kindergarten. Knowing how the nervous system is organized aids in understanding how certain factors may negatively impact the structures. Hence, each educator must be familiar with the mentioned concepts to minimize possible stressful environments for their students. Furthermore, I have found that additional research confirms that toxic stress can modify the physiological structure of a child’s brain (Sciaraffa, Zeanah, & Zeanah, 2018). To prevent the toxic stress, healthy patterns of behavior can be established through set routines, exercise, and proper nutrition.
In this way, promoting such healthy habits to ensure progressive brain development forms a strong base for creative goals and risk-taking. Creativity can be incorporated by exploring how the gathered neuroscientific data can be directly applied to in-class learning. For example, one could minimize distractions and engage in active learning with students to investigate how the practice affects productivity. A risk-taking decision involves informing children of the unlimited extent to which their mental abilities expand, thus encouraging their personal motivation to improve. It can be considered a risk-taking action because directly communicating with children on the matter inevitably impacts their mindset and requires full readiness and precision. However, I believe it would be fair to attempt the mentioned practices as their possible negative influence would be minimal.
Another creative approach considers focusing more on the environmental influence than genetics regarding one’s mental development. In that way, encouraging self-improvement and a healthy lifestyle will prove far more beneficial than concentrating on the predetermined role of genes. Generally, by reinforcing the idea of epigenetic influence, a lot of risk-taking decisions about lifestyle changes can be made. The educator can serve as a role model for young students to surround themselves with a safe environment and work on their mental abilities. Apart from exploring the various terms linked to infancy and toddlerhood physical development, a concise reflection helped to outline the main focuses of possible educational programs. Such programs and plans can significantly increase the productivity of school classes and aid parents in their children’s upbringing from an early age.
Bergin, C.C., Bergin, D. A. (2019). Child and adolescent development in your classroom. Cengage Learning.
Sciaraffa, M.A., Zeanah, P.D. & Zeanah, C.H. (2018). Understanding and promoting resilience in the context of adverse childhood experiences. Early Childhood Education Journal 46, 343 353. Web.