The Play Years
The play years, between the ages of two to six years is one of the most magic phases of a child’s (and their parent’s) lives. Children are very entertaining at this age and they are a great deal of fun to observe and interact with. These children have also reached one of the most active times in terms of a person’s development. There are many cognitive milestones reached during this age, which theorist Jean Piaget named Preoperational Thought (Berger, 2005).
At around 2, children begin to lose the clumsiness of toddlerhood and develop more advanced motor skills as they start to gain better control over their actions. The acquisition of language is a major development and one of the things that makes us stand us out from other species (Peterson, 2004). The ability to begin to communicate with others signifies that the child is leaving their babyhood behind and captivated parents can begin to catch a glimpse of the person their child is becoming (Goode, C. 2007).
On the surface, we witness fun, games and lots of Vegemite. Life seems to be a happy adventure and children during this period spend most of their waking hours playing (Goode, C. 2007). But dig a little deeper, and researchers have found that these ‘play years’ may hold the key to our future adult behaviours and personality. As the development theorists Piaget, Gessel, Vygotsky and Eriksson all discovered, being an observer and watching these children develop at lightning speed is fascinating. This paper will investigate factors influencing childhood development, during the ages of 2 to 6 years.
There are two trains of thought on development. These are biological (nature) and environmental (nurture). Biological theorists, like Arnold Gesell, believe that our development is genetic and sequential, with documented patterns and similarities in all children's mental development. He believed that this progress occurred on a pre-existing time-line. His work supports the belief...