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Essay: Childhood theories

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  • Subject area(s): Sociology essays
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  • Published: September 13, 2017*
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  • Words: 2,068 (approx)
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  • Tags: Child Development Essays
  • Childhood theories
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Bellemy (2005) stated that an important aspect in child hood is to be educated. There has been significant events that have changed the way we treat and teach children. Different laws have come into place by governments to insure the welfare of children. In addition to this, there has been different frameworks introduced that effect the way we teach children. The national curriculum was introduced in 1998 by the conservative government following the education reform act that they also introduced. The national curriculum ensures that all children are getting the same level of education between the ages of 4-16. Following this in 2008 the early years foundation stage was introduced for children under the age of 5 however was not made mandatory till 2010.
Bowlby (1969 in Columbus, 2007) stated that children need to form strong bonds with their primary carer otherwise it can have significant effects on their childhood experiences and development. Bellamy (2005) agreed Childhood is also a time for children to build relationships and grow confident and strong within themselves. He also stated that childhood is an important part of a human’s life it is a time for them to be taught and a time for them to play and express their opinions. Vygotsky (1983 in Fernyhough and Lloyd, 1999) said that children can be educated through the play theory as he researched that play had an impact on problem solving, creativity and social values (Bellamy, 2005).

Today there are many contemporary services available for children. All children have the right to an education service; local doctors; hospitals and GP’S and many other services. This follows the United Nations convention on the rights of the child (2012). However some children may need other specialised services that have been introduced over time such as different therapist: educational; behavioural; speech and language, Safeguarding teams, foster homes for children and other specific services. Services are influenced by political, social and administrative.

At the start of the industrial revolution lots of new factories where introduced. These factories had lots of dangerous equipment which was used by young children. These cause serious injuries and sometimes resulted in death. Children in the factories worked long hours which caused them to be exhausted and sometimes fall asleep at the machinery causing loss of limbs and punishment by other workers. (Kelly et al 1998) Robert Owen (1800’s in Donnachie, 2000) was a manager of a cotton mill in Lanark he realised his workers were not happy and were living in poor working conditions. Owen wanted happy workers so he built a small village for the workers and their families within the cotton mill called New Lark. The village offered workers schooling for the children, doctors for the families to be healthy and housing for the families so they had shelter.

In 1833, the Whig government introduced the factory act which set out basic rules for factories. However, when the act was first introduced the government was limited to how much power they had over a decade the government gained more power and reinforced it.(lawes,2000) The factory act was reviewed over a century and keep adding more piece of legislation that government must follow. In 1833 no under nines were allowed to work in a factory as it was seen as dangerous and children between the age of 9-13 had reduced hours so they weren’t working long days. The government also introduced 2 hours of schooling that the factory must provide to educate children. In 1844 the law was reviewed again and there was a time of six and half hours day that children between the age of eight and thirteen could work and they were not allowed to work at night. In 1847 women and children were not allowed to work more than ten hours a day. In 1901 children were not allowed to work until they turned 12. (Fellowes, 2006).

In 1942 just before WW2 ended in 1945 W.Beveridge (1879-1963) developed the Beveridge report. The Beveridge report explained that as a society England needed to find ways to fight of the five giants: want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. The Beveridge report also told us that we needed to banish poverty which will help to get rid of the want giant. But also safeguard women who are pregnant with the future generation. (Beveridge, 2014) This links to contempary service having a maternity policy and procedure to help pregnant women at work. In 1945 when WW2 finished the government introduced the Welfare state as there were no service around for children and families to access. Some of these families had no homes, jobs or money to put food on the table. The welfare state offered social security for families and introduced a benefit system which we still use today. In 1948 following the welfare state the NHS was formed which offered free health care for children, families and the elderly. (Webb, 2000)Today children are still able to access the NHS for free as well as other medical services such as dentist, orthodontist, GP’s etc. Children’s health improves all the time and with medical research we are currently learning how to cure other diseases. (NHS, 2015)

In 2000 education welfare officer were introduced into the education system this was due the serious case review of Victoria Climbé. In addition to this, the labour government introduced Every Child Matters (2003) this focused on a child’s wellbeing and enjoying their time in education. In 2005 the labour government also introduced the common assessment framework (2005) this focused on early intervention with a child and all service communicating in order for a child to get the help s/he needs as soon as possible. The CAF document is still used today we now have a lead person who is in direct contact with the child and family and make sure all the services are communicating. In addition to this practitioners/teachers can fill out individual education plans (IEP’s) to acknowledge any needs that child has in order to receive early intervention.

Between 1979 and 1997 the conservative’s government were in place they concentrated on the importance of the health and wellbeing of the child and providing families with a private family life. (Bown ECTAL, 2015) The conservatives party wanted to make sure that all families were being treated equally even if they were different from the ‘nuclear family’ (mum, dad and children all living in one house hold). They also wanted to ensure that all parents had a right to express their preferences for a child such as what they want the child to eat, what school they go to or the religion and beliefs the child is brought up with. In addition to this all families should have the right to freedom and their own parenting techniques as long as the child is healthy and safe. (Seldon, Ball.1994)

In 1989 they introduced the Children’s Act which introduced the term ‘significant harm’. This gave local authorities the opportunities to have a term which they can rely on to prosecute people who were harming children. The conservative’s phrases significant harm was very much defined as the ill-treatment of children whether this be through sexual or physical harm. However, the term suggested that only ‘compulsory intervention’ could take place if the harm cause impairment to a child’s health or development. Only court could judge this and make a care order if it was serious. (Allen, 2005) However in today’s society social service can make an immediate decision to place a child in care order for a short period of time and the court decided whether the circumstances are unsafe and the child need to be in a care order for a long period of time (fostering) The children’s act was also the start of multi-agency working and authorities communicating. (Allen, 2005)

The conservative’s government also introduced the education reform act (1988). This introduced the national curriculum for schools to follow this meant that all children were learning the same things at school. The Education reform Act also introduced national testing for children. This introduced league tables for schools which put pressure and stress on pupils, teachers and parents. It put pressure on teachers to teach the child everything of the national curriculum and to focus on the core subjects to promote learning. The stress and pressure on parents was to ensure they were looking at the right school for their child to go to. (Coulby, Ward, 1996)Today we still have testing for children in primary school children take SAT’s test which monitor were the child is at and how much progress they have made they are taken in year 2 and year 6. They also have GCSE test in high school to see what level children are at when they finish education. In addition to this parents can still look at league table to show what percentage of children past test and work out which ones are the better school

In 1997 the Labour government won the election and took over from the conservatives. The labour government aimed to raise standards in schools introduced Literacy and Numeracy Strategies (1998) to focus on the key topics that conservatives governments introduced.

The labour government also focused on parents who wanted to go back to work and supported them by putting into place structured early years setting by introducing the EYFS (2008). Before the EYFS was introduced there has been many cases in history which have helped to influences the way we work with children in a nursery setting. In 1816 Robert Owen introduced
the first nursery school in order for families to work even when they have young children. Margaret McMillian 1914 opened the first open air nursery for the children to be educated outside. McMillian theory is still used today in McMillian nurseries and forest schools. In 1995 the conservative’s government introduced the nursery voucher scheme. In 2000 the labour government introduced the foundation stage for 3-5 years and development matters for 0-3 years. The foundation stage was reviewed in 2008 and was updated toe the EYFS for children between 0- 5 years so there was one framework for all children within a nursery setting. The EYFS was updated in 2012 with the phrase ‘school readiness’ this means preparing the children for being ready to go to school learning to write and read simple key terms.

The main focus of childhood theories has been to focus on child being centre of everything. This relates to Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005) who created a system were the child was in the centre and there was 5 levels surrounding the child. The influences the child saw whether they were directly or indirectly effect which level the child’s use not all children will use the 5 levels. (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). In addition to this, there has been laws that have also focused on the child which leads back as far as the Factory Act were the focus was the child to have a better health and wellbeing. Some of the laws and theories that happened have effect the contempary services we use today such as the in 1948 the NHS being introduced which we still use today as a source of free health care that everybody can access. In addition to this the labour government introduced the CAF document (2005) which led to there being a lead person and agency communicating between each other. We still use the CAF document today to help focus on the child and ensure their wellbeing.

Service are influenced by three main categories. Socially depending on where the service is depends on whether or not the service is needed for example a homeless shelter would be needed in an area that is high in poverty rating however may not be necessary needed in an area that is known to be full of wealth. In addition to this it can be socially the person their background and environment they come from. Some service are put off by all the administrative work they have to complete such as paper work complying with confidentiality rules and the pressures of early intervention. Other services struggle to keep up and can’t afford to keep changing due to political aspects such as changes in laws and legislation. Some schools may not be able to afford to comply with the free school meals as they are not getting enough money of the government due to payment cuts.

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