We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Theoretical approaches to child and young person development

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 12
  • Word count: 2846
  • Category: Child

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

1.1 – Explain different theories and frameworks of child and young person development

Cognitive development theory.

Piaget (1920 – 1970)-

Piaget’s theory about ‘schemas’ was referred to as the basic building block of intelligent behaviour – a way of organising knowledge. It was indicated on different websites to try and think of schemes as units of knowledge, each relating to one aspect of the world, including objects, actions and abstract concepts. This happens through:

• Assimilation- Which is using an existing schema to deal with a new object or situation
• Accommodation- This happens when the existing schema (knowledge) does not work, and needs to be changed to deal with a new object or situation.
• Equilibration- This is the force which moves development along. Piaget believed that cognitive development did not progress at a steady rate, but rather in leaps and bounds.

Equilibrium occurs when a child’s schemas can deal with most new information through assimilation. However, an unpleasant state of disequilibrium occurs when new information cannot be fitted into existing schemas (assimilation).

Equilibration is the force which drives the learning process as we do not like to be frustrated and will seek to restore balance by mastering the new challenge (accommodation). Once the new information is acquired the process of assimilation with the new schema will continue until the next time we need to make an adjustment to it.

Lev Vygotsky-

The work of Lev Vygotsky (1934) has become the foundation of much research and theory in cognitive development over the past several decades, particularly of what has become known as Social Development Theory.
Vygotsky’s theories stress the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition (Vygotsky, 1978), as he believed strongly that community plays a central role in the process of “making meaning.” Vygotsky believed that a child’s individual development was known as the ‘zone of actual development’- Children are capable of much more with the help of an adult they are given the opportunity to expand on their own development.
Vygotsky’s theory is one of the foundations of constructivism. It asserts three major theories.

• Social interaction- plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. Vygotsky felt that social learning proceeds development (this is in contrast to Jean Piaget’s understanding of child development.) Vygotsky states: every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level and later on and individual level. First between people (intra-psychological) and then inside the child (intra-psychological). (Vygotsky, 1978).
• The more knowledge other- This refers to anyone who has better understanding/higher ability than the learner with regards to particular tasks, concepts or processes. This could be a teacher, adult (parent) or even a peer.
• The zone of proximal development- is the distance between a child’s ability to perform a task under adult/ peer supervision and how the child would solve the problem independently. According to Vygotsky this is the zone where learning occurred.



Psychoanalytical theory was formulated on how the human mind functions and how personalities are formed (The mental iceberg). He believed that there are factors outside of the individual person’s awareness (unconscious thoughts, feelings and experiences) that influence their emotions, behaviour and actions, and that their past experiences/feeling shape their future. The Psychoanalytical Theory is also based on the idea that a person’s personality is formed throughout the childhood years, that children go through certain stages at certain points of their childhood and depending on how well the child copes with each of these stages, their adult personality will be affected. Erikson theory was based on motivation and his amendment on Freud’s theory was that people had certain basic needs which must be successfully met to enable them to reach their full development potential.


Erikson Erik Erikson does not talk about psychosexual Stages, he discusses psychosocial stages. His ideas were greatly influenced by Freud, going along with Freud’s theory regarding the structure and topography of personality.
However, whereas Freud was an id psychologist, Erikson was an ego psychologist. He emphasized the role of culture and society and the conflicts that can take place within the ego itself. Freud emphasized the conflict between the id and the superego. According to Erikson, the ego develops as it successfully resolves crises that are distinctly social in nature. These involve establishing a sense of trust in others, developing a sense of identity in society, and helping the next generation prepare for the future. Erikson extends on Freudian thoughts by focusing on the adaptive and creative characteristic of the ego, and expanding the notion of the stages of personality development to include the entire lifespan.

Erikson proposed a lifespan model of development, taking in five stages up to the age of 18 years and three further stages beyond, well into adulthood. Erikson suggests that there is still plenty of room for continued growth and development throughout one’s life. Erikson puts a great deal of emphasis on the adolescent period, feeling it was a crucial stage for developing a person’s identity. Like Freud and many others, Erik Erikson maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order, and builds upon each previous stage. This is called the epigamic principle.

Humanist Theory

Maslow (1943, 1954)

Maslow (1943, 1954) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that level is fulfilled the next level is what motivates us, and so on.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid.

Maslow (1943) initially stated that individuals must satisfy lower level deficit needs before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs. However, he later clarified that satisfaction of a needs is not an “all-or-none” phenomenon, admitting that his earlier statements may have given “the false impression that a need must be satisfied 100 percent before the next need emerges” (1987, p. 69).

Deficiency needs arise due to deprivation and are said to motivate people when they are unmet. Motivation will become stronger the longer it takes to fulfill these needs. When a deficit need has been ‘more or less’ satisfied it will go away, and our activities become habitually directed towards meeting the next set of needs that we have yet to satisfy.

“It is quite true that man lives by bread alone — when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?

At once other (and “higher”) needs emerge and these, rather than physiological hungers, dominate the organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still “higher”) needs emerge and so on. This is what we mean by saying that the basic human needs are organized into a hierarchy of relative prepotency” (Maslow, 1943, p. 375).



Albert Bandura: Bandura’s Social Learning Theory posits that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. The theory has often been called a bridge between behaviorist and cognitive learning theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation.People learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviours. “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.” (Bandura). Social learning theory explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences.
Necessary conditions for effective modeling.

Attention — various factors increase or decrease the amount of attention paid. Includes distinctiveness, affective valence, prevalence, complexity, functional value. One’s characteristics (e.g. sensory capacities, arousal level, and perceptual set, past reinforcement) affect attention.

Retention — remembering what you paid attention to. Includes symbolic coding, mental images, cognitive organisation, symbolic rehearsal, motor rehearsal

Reproduction — reproducing the image. Including physical capabilities, and self-observation of reproduction.
Motivation — having a good reason to imitate. Includes motives such as past (i.e. traditional behaviorism), promised (imagined incentives) and vicarious (seeing and recalling the reinforced model)

Later, Bandura soon considered personality as an interaction between three components: the environment, behavior, and one’s psychological processes (one’s ability to entertain images in minds and language).

Social learning theory has sometimes been called a bridge between behaviorist and cognitive learning theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation.



Pavlov believed in ‘conditioning’ his research started with dogs who salivated when their food was put down for them. He noted that whilst ringing a bell when the dogs’ food was put down resulted eventually in the dogs still salivating at the sound of the bell ringing even if no food was put appeared. This is because he had conditioned them to do so. Gradually after a while of just the bell ringing the dogs’ conditioned response to salivate weakened until they finally did not react – called ‘extinction’. This is a useful theory to help us understand the reasoning/behaviour of a child for example, having a phobia of going to the toilet in a new/strange place. Since he/she has been conditioned not to like the new/strange place and may refuse to go inside. This is where the conditioning is linked to an irrational fear and it is best to try to get him/her not to link the two and ‘un-condition’ him/her.


Watson is best known for taking his theory of behaviourism and applying it to child development. He believed strongly that a child’s environment is the factor that shapes behaviours over their genetic makeup or natural temperament.

According to Watson, Behaviourism was the science of observable behavior. Only behavior that could be observed, recorded and measured was of any real value for the study of humans or animals. Watson’s thinking was significantly influenced by the earlier classical conditioning experiments of Pavlov.
Watson’s behaviourism rejected the concept of the unconscious and the internal mental state of a person because you couldn’t observe them. Watson is famous for saying that he could take a ‘dozen healthy infants… and train any one of them to become any type of specialist he might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief.’ He believes that you can condition that child to become any type of person you want by exposing them to certain environmental forces.

Operant conditioning-


Skinner suggested that humans and animals learn from exploring their environment then drawing conclusions based upon consequences of their behaviour. He divided the consequences into three groups. Positive rein forcers- Likely to repeat their behaviour when they get something they desire. He suggested this was the most effective way of encouraging new learning. Positive reinforces for children include gaining adult attention, praise, stickers, sweets and treats. Negative rein-forcers Likely to make people repeat behaviour as well but the behaviour is being repeated to stop something from happening i.e. children who are going down the slide too quickly will learn to use their hands to stop themselves as they are unhappy about the speed. Punishers- Likely to stop behaviour from being repeated i.e. staying away from the plug socket after receiving an electric shock



First attachment theorist who described attachment as a: “lasting psychological connectedness between humans”.
Bowlby believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. According to him, the attachment tends to keep the infant close to the mother ultimately improving the child’s chances of survival.

Attachment Theory

The first relationship of a child is a love relationship that will have profound everlasting influence on an individual’s mental development.

• Mothers (Caregivers) who are available and responsive, establish a sense of security in the infants such that they know that the caregiver is dependable, creating a secure base for the child to explore the world.
• Attachments must build a good foundation for being able to form other secure relationships.
Components of Attachment
• Safe Haven: A child can return to the caregiver for comfort and soothing whenever the child feels threatened or afraid.
• Secure Base: A secure and dependable base is provided by the caretaker for the child to explore the world.
• Proximity Maintenance: The child strives to stay around the caregiver, which provides safety.
• Separation Distress: The child will become upset and distressed during the separation from the caretaker.

1.2 – Explain the potential impact on service provision of different theories and approaches

Within my service, we use a variety of theories and approaches which are customised to meet the needs of the individual that we are providing care for. As part of our staff induction, we ensure that the staff team attend attachment theory training which has an emphasis on developing positive relationships with the Young people we provide care for.

The impact of using different theories for the service provision is positive, no two Young People are the same; each Young Person needs an individual approach which can be devised using knowledge of a variety of theories and approaches as well as having a consistent and strong care team. To get the best out of the young person we ensure that whatever the approach is that it remains consistent and measurable.

Primary approach is family based care. Our Young People all have a multiagency team around them, the model of care is lead by therapeutic professionals (independent and CAMHS) who give guidance on the most appropriate care plans for each young person and each care plan is tailored to meet that Young person’s needs.

1.3 – Critically analyse the move towards outcomes based services for children and young people.

The move towards Outcomes Based approach starts with a focus on outcomes and provides a framework for planning and performance managing services. The Outcomes based model has been used as a way of structuring planning and to improve outcomes for whole populations and for improving services. The Outcomes based approach focuses on outcomes that are desired, monitoring and evidencing progress towards those desired outcomes. It focuses on;

Performance accountability, which is about the performance of a service which improves outcomes for a specific group of young people. At Maes Brith there will be up to four Young People who are deemed to be compatible (based on internal assessment), all of the young people fit within the criteria of the company’s registration to care for Young People with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties often which are deemed as harmful and/or sexualised behaviours. Each young person will have their own set of Outcomes to work towards, which will be related to the ECM framework. The way in which we measure outcomes needs some improvement. Models of practice which could be utilised would be those such as the emotional intelligence model.

Another key feature of Outcomes based approach is the use of performance management categories which will determine between ‘How much did we do?’, ‘How well did we do it?’ and, the most important category, ‘Is anyone better off?’. At Branas we question between ‘outputs’ and ‘outcomes’ – the relationship between the two can effect a way in which the Outcomes based is measured.

Aims and objectives we’re to identify

• A sample of Looked After Children’s Services authorities at different stages of implementing the Outcomes based approach.
• any changes and improvements to outcomes as a result of using Outcomes based
• Examples of success and the factors that contributed towards this
• If implementation of OUTCOMES BASED had not led to an improvement in outcomes to further explore why this was the case
• Challenges and barriers and how these were overcome.
• Problems and issues that could arise and should be considered if a move towards Outcomes are to be achieved.
• Gain commitment at high strategic level and engage with key partners.
• Ensure those leading the implementation are trained and fully understand the approach so they are able to support others.
• Ensure there is clarity of the aims and reasons for implementing Outcomes and whether it is being used to focus on population outcomes or specific services.
• Involve as many partners as possible in Turning the Curve workshops to support shared ownership of the approach.
• Ensure there is a common understanding of the Outcomes based language: for example, what an outcome is; the difference between ‘effort’ and ‘effect’.
• Ensure those leading the Turning the Curve workshops are fully prepared and aware of what data is available.
• Keep practising using the outcomes grids for performance accountability – they are dynamic documents which can be improved.
• Dedicate time for relevant personnel who are going to be using OUTCOMES BASED to engage with it and ‘champion’ it across the Children’s Trust.
• Begin by introducing OUTCOMES BASED in one or two specific service areas or focus on particular population outcomes.

I believe that the move towards OUTCOMES BASED will greatly enhance communication between agencies and partners. It will Increase the extent to which service users’ views were gathered and recorded to inform the development of services, it will provide a framework for monitoring performance and encourage amore outcomes based approach.

Barriers and challenges

As when any new approach is implemented, I feel there are a number of barriers and challenges.
• the need for training and support
• the time needed to build up confidence and experience to use OUTCOMES BASED
• where managers may feel threatened by OUTCOMES BASED
• where there was a lack of senior-level support.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59