Top Eight Child Development Topics in 2009. Ann Epstein, Ph.D. 8 Important Topics in 2009. Brain Research: infants, 2 nd language, enhancers Gender: classroom biases TV Viewing and Video Game Playing: detrimental & positive effects Temperament: inborn, goodness of fit.
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Ann Epstein, Ph.D.
5. Achievement and Culture: expectations
6. Bullying: victim, aggressor, by-stander, cyber bullies
7. Families: parenting styles, super-Dads
8. Socio-Economic Status: Effects of Poverty & Affluence
(Specific citations available upon request.)
“Blooming and Pruning” of Synaptic Connections
Nerve cells transmit information from one part of the body to another. Each nerve cell has branching dendrites to connect to other dendrites, and a long axon to transmit or collect impulses.
Implications for “blooming and pruning”
Brain is ready to learn!
Implications of Plasticity
Too much cortisol (released during stress) over extended periods can lead to memory and self-regulation problems.
“Observation of neurobehavioral functioning can alert caregivers (teachers) to signs of disorganization before the child experiences failure.” (p. 183)
Bilingual children perform better than monolingual children on cognitive tasks including
Current statistics: 6% of US children study a second language in grades 1 – 6 (no figures for preK/K)
Current Classroom Biases Against Boys
2. Most teachers are female (lack of role models)
3. Boys more likely to be identified with learning disabilities (don’t fit today’s educational process)
Current Classroom Biases Against Girls
Preliminary research (Australia) and anecdotal findings (South Carolina) show:
Traits are primarily genetic with some environmental influence
35% of children exhibit combination of traits
Match between child’s temperament and environmental demands
Cultures value temperament traits differently
Example: Chinese value quiet babies, Canadians value active babies; Canadian mothers of inhibited 2 year-olds were less accepting of their infants’ temperament while Chinese mothers were more accepting
Comparison of inner city (middle to low income) and suburban (high income) 10th graders
No detrimental effects EXCEPT
Most effective guidance occurs through authoritative (democratic) style
Greatest risk for developmental weaknesses is from growing up in families with persistent socioeconomic disadvantages
Characteristics of poor families
Family characteristics (continued)
4 children are killed by abuse or neglect.5 children or teens commit suicide.181 children are arrested for violent crimes.380 children are arrested for drug abuse.1,154 babies are born to teen mothers.1,701 babies are born without health insurance.1,900 public school students are corporally punished.*2,252 babies are born to mothers who are not high school graduates.2,447 babies are born into poverty.2,482 children are confirmed as abused or neglected.3,879 babies are born to unmarried mothers.4,356 children are arrested.
“In every child who is born, under no matter what circumstances, and of no matter what parents, the potentiality of the human race is born again.”
James Agee, American writer, 20th century
If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I’d do less correcting, and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch,
and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less,
and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields,
and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.