Childcare theorists revision cards



A CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH: known as this because children construct or build up their own thoughts based on their own experiences and interactions.

Comes up with the idea of Schema: a process where children’s original ideas are being built up with new pieces of information, that may seem to contradict the previous schema conclusion, therefore it must be adapted. HE REFERS THIS TO AN ADAPTATION. Children develop schemas based on their direct experiences. As children develop, so does their thinking, he grouped this development into four stages of developing schema:

Assimilation- child constructs a theory or schema.

Equilibrium- the child’s experiences fit in with a schema

Disequilibrium- an experience casts doubt on the effectiveness of their schema

Accommodation-the child changes the original schema in order to fit with the new experience or piece of information

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focused mainly on physical development and identified three points of physical development:

  1. Development follows a definite, orderly sequence- e.g. you must learn how to walk before you run

  2. Development begins with the control of the head movements and proceeds down the body

Development begins with uncomfortable large movements before movement becomes more precise and refined

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theory of social learning (is how children learn by observing others), but in Bandura’s Casen he was studying aggression in children. This study mainly focuses on moral and social behaviour. SLT is learning by conditioning (through association, consequence and observation). This behaviourist theory explains that due to watching others and not being taught directly, that all is spontaneous.

Bobo doll experiment- this focuses on the impact of seeing others displaying aggression. Children were exposed to (in groups) either; an adult acting aggressively towards the doll, an adult not focusing on the bobo doll, and one group of children were not exposed to an adult at all (the control group). The children exposed to aggression were more likely to imitate the behaviour and language of the adult, and sometimes conjure up new ways of hurting the doll (e.g. a gun, which was not used in the experiment).

Bandura explains that there are necessary elements for observational learning are:

  1. Attention – do they see the behaviour happening

  2. Retention- do they remember the behaviour being displayed

  3. Reproduction- do they have the opportunity to display the behaviour

  4. Motivation- do they have the physical ability, is there a consequence for the action

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Developed Piaget’s work on schema’s

She identifies a number of schema’s children frequently use, and did this by observing children, and looking at drawings/paintings

These schema are used to support learning through play

Children can explore and make progress at 4 levels:

  Level of development

Description and use

Example : a child may be interested in rotation

Motor level(the movement does not carry any real significance)

Children explore through physical movements

The child twirls around and around

Symbolic representational level

Children start to assign meaning to the schema

The twirling is used to symbolise a carrousel

Functional dependency relationship

Children start to see the relationship between schema and other things

Child becomes interested in a yoyo in that the string becomes shortened as it is wound around the yoyo


Children are able to use the schema to think about things

The child puts all of these ideas into words and expresses the reasoning behind rotation

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Nature- instinctive and within genetics

Our ability to learn is instinctive- it is widely accepted because it is more comprehensive than skinners theory  and explains the acquisition of language by babies follow a pattern

He suggests that humans have a language acquisition device (LAD). It is not an actual part of the brain, but a structure within it- it can analyse the language and work out the system uses. This explains why children can quickly understand and then use their language to create their own sentences.

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Influenced by Freud

Life stage theory: the idea that social environments e.g. parents and friendships affect our personalities- and the structure of this theory is divided into three parts: the id, the ego and the super ego. Our personalities are NOT fixed, and the development of them are life stages linked to social stages. At each stage, we face a conflict or dilemma, and the outcome of this determines our personality. This theory is supported by work on infant brain development




Effect on personality if stage is not completed successfully


Basic trust vs mistrust

Faith in environment and future events

Suspicion and fear of the future


Autonomy vs shame and doubt

A sense of self- control and adequacy

Feelings of shame and self-doubt


Initiative vs guilt

Ability to be a ‘self-starter’, to initiate in one’s own activities

A sense of guilt and inadequacy to be on one’s own


Industry vs inferiority

Ability to learn how things work, to understand and organise

A sense of inferiority at understanding and organising


Identity vs confusion

Seeing oneself as a unique and integrated person

Confusion over who and what one really is

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Self-esteem: her model is related to how close our self-image is related to how close our self-image and ideal self are- the closer they are, the higher our self-esteem

Self-image- what am I like?

Ideal self- what do I want to be like?

There is normally some difference between these two concepts

How children develop self-image- a child will recognise themselves in a reflection at the age of 18 months old

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  • Behaviourist view
  • Operant conditioning
  • Relates to Thorndikes cat study
  • Behaviour is learned through punishments and rewards
  • Positive and negative reinforcers
  • Rat experiment
  • Criticisms of operant conditioning- doesn’t address the issue of free will
  • Noam Chomsky disagreed with Skinner that a controlled environment could not totally shape human behaviour for the better.
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Classical conditioning

Learning through association / conditioning

Learning is influences through rewards, punishments and environmental factors

Dog experiments: UCSàUSR,  NSàINNATE, UCS+NSàUCR,  NSàUCS

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Skinner (nurture- within the environment)

Nurture- within the environment and learnt

Operant conditioning theory- children learn through rewards, and applies it to language acquisition- he believes that children learn language due to the act of a reward at earlier efforts.


Fails to explain why all babies and children follow the same pattern of language regardless of the amount, or type of reinforcement

Fails to explain why children don’t speak the same way as adults

Fails to explain how children learn the rues in such a way that they are quickly able to invent their own sentences rather than only repeat only what they have heard.

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The big 5






-Traits in our nature that make up our personality. We all have these 5 traits but at different levels for each of us. For adults these are usually stable over time. Characteristics babies show remain into childhood unless parents reduce ‘difficult‘ behaviours if they respond positively

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Moral development- How can they be applied into pr

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Moral development- How can they be applied into pr

Piaget+ Kholberg

  • make sure that expectations of children's moral behaviour are age/stage appropriate
  • make sure adults understand that children's early learning about pre-school and moral development is dependant on their reactions
  • recognise that children are likely to follow examples set by the adult
  • reactions to incidents and unwanted behaviours need to be proportional and give explanations to why is is good to behave in a particular way
  • although children may tell you the settings of rules, they will not necessarily be able to resist temptation
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effect of the environment- how can it be applied i


  • recognise the importance of working in partnership with parents
  • find ways of working with and within the local community
  • build a strong relationship with parents
  • organise visits with the local community and create links with them e.g. church
  • talk to parents about their children and what their strengths and weaknesses are
  • provide info about what the child is doing in their day
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attachment and how they can be applied into practi

bowlby and ainsworth

  • provide a key worker for each child
  • give children time to settle and be flexible with the process
  • build a relationship with the child before the parents leave for the first time
  • consider the routines of the day and whether there are enough opportunities for your key children to spend time with you
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it is interesting 




Yes, I agree Good material Thanks for sharing I will use at work

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