“The child's development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behaviour towards him. We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practised to perfection only when working among children. ” (Montessori, 2007, p 257) In this essay I will initially define the child’s needs and then link it to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.
I will then further explain a 3 years old child’s Physical needs and elaborate how a practitioner can support these needs in a childcare setting.As we go along I will explain the psychological needs (specifically emotional and social needs) of a 3 year old child and how these needs can be ideally met in a childcare setting. I will also discuss the role of the practitioner who is the key person in a childcare setting. Every child in general have some specific needs that can be linked to Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of needs’ (McLeod, 2007) According to Maslow (1943) all the people in this world are motivated to achieve certain needs and gradually they reach a certain point where they can fulfil their own unique potential (Self actualization).These needs are Physiological (food, water, shelter, sex), Safety and Security, Love and Affection, Esteem, and last but not the least Self Actualization (Personal Growth and realizing Self Potential) (McLeod, 2007).
If we compare these with the child’s needs we can see that when the child is born he needs food, air and water to drink. Then he/she needs security and love from people around them. She/he also needs confidence and self-esteem so that she/he can face the challenges and when all of these needs are fulfilled she/he realizes her/his true potential and start to seek her/his personal growth.Childs basic Physical needs constitutes of Health, Safety, Nutrition, and Care. According to World Health Organization (1948), health is defined as ‘ A state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’(Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008).
There are many factors that can effect health like Lifestyle, Environment and Primary Health Services (Hubley, 1994, in Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008). Promotion of health should be an ongoing process either the child is healthy or not.The practitioner should have the detailed knowledge of the needs of the individual children in their care so that they can cater their primary, secondary and tertiary health needs (Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008). She/he should get all the information from the parents and that information should be recorded somewhere for future help for e. g. in our nursery when the child is registered parents fill a health form (updated every 4 months) in which they give all the information about the child’s immunizations and allergies.
Immunization is an effective way to keep the children immune against certain diseases.The child of age 3 years is suppose to be immunized against Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus and 2nd dose of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008). Screening is another way to reduce the incidence of diseases in children. For the child of 3 years old screening can be done for Height, Weight, Motor Development and parental concerns related to vision, hearing or behavioural issues (Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008) .
Practitioners should know the components of a healthy diet so that he/she can consult with parents and carers to provide healthy diet to the child.Practitioner should be well aware of the child’s cultural or religious beliefs and the allergies the child show for certain foods. By the time the child reaches the age of 3 he/she will grow out of certain allergies but if the problem persists then a doctor should be consulted. People working in a child care setting should have basic first aid training, e.
g. In our nursery the staff is given CPR (Basic Life Saving) and First Aid Training by an approved organization so that they can deal with the sick or injured child in times of need.Weather also plays an important role. The child should be protected against extreme weather conditions.
He should be provided with proper clothing according to the weather. For e. g. our country has hot and dry weather and for that reason we have shady areas in our nursery for the children to play and we also encourage them to drink plenty of water to keep them hydrated. The rooms should have a proper ventilation system so that the children can get enough fresh air.
There should be a quiet corner in the room where they can take a nap or rest if they feel tired or sleepy.Safety aspects like the security of the building, ensuring that the child remain on the premises and unwanted people coming and going out should also be kept in consideration. Fire safety and having regular evacuation drills in case of fire should be done in order to train the staff. Children should be taught about the road safety for e. g. In my nursery setting we have certain areas with zebra crossings so that children can understand the use of zebra crossing.
Physical Needs also includes development of their Fine and Gross Motor skills .A 3 year old child can run easily. He/She can walk upstairs using one foot per step, skips on both feet and paddles and steers a tricycle. Practitioner should make sure that there should be an outdoor place for the child to run freely and walk. It should have swings and slides as well as motorbikes and bicycles and she should encourage the child to use that equipment.
A 3 year old child can easily pick up small objects, holds pencil with thumb and two fingers (Pincer Grip) and can cut paper easily using baby scissors (Sharma ; Cockerill, 2008).The classroom should be setup in such a way that the child can move around with ease and confidence. The furniture should be made child sized and the activities should be setup in such a way that the child can independently use them without anyone’s help. “Give the child an environment in which everything is constructed in proportion to himself, and let him live therein”. (Montessori, 1991, p17) It is important to understand that it is impossible to isolate one area of development from the rest. Physical development is also linked with the child’s Social and emotional development.
For e. g. , if a child is not immunized against certain diseases , he/she will be sick most of the times, in this situation he/she will be unable to do some of those activities which his/her friends or classmates can do. This will affect his/her confidence and self esteem which in return will affect his learning process (Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008). ‘Emotional literacy’ relates to being able to manage yourself and your emotions and to understand what other people are thinking and feeling (Gerry, 2000 in Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008).
‘Secondary emotions’ (Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008) like Guilt, Shame and Pride appear at 2-3 years of age (Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008). The first thing the child goes through as soon as he/she comes to the nursery is the ‘separation anxiety’ (Macleod- Brudenell ; Kay, 2008). The practitioner should warmly welcome the child and remind him/her that the parent or the carer will be coming back. All the information about the child’s needs should be taken from the parents so that the practitioner can prepare according to that. Favourite toy or a blanket can be used as transitional objects.
The child should be warned about the fact that the parent is going to leave them. The ‘settling- in period’(Bruce, Meggitt ; Grenier, 2010) can be made easy through a ‘key person approach’ (Bruce, Meggitt ; Grenier, 2010). A key person is someone who is a prominent member of the staff and who has more contact with the child than any other member. Someone who builds the relationship with the child and the parents and helps the child in getting familiar with his/her environment (Bruce, Meggitt ; Grenier, 2010). Children in a nursery need to feel secure and protected in order to feel free to explore their environment.
This will result in another most sensitive aspect of social and emotional development that is ‘Self Esteem’ (Macleod- Brudenell ; Kay, 2008). Self esteem is defined as “ A personal judgement of worthiness, that is expressed in the attitudes the individual holds towards himself. ” (Coopersmith in Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008, p110) By the age of 3 years, most children are able to describe themselves physically and they can also make judgements about themselves. They also show pride over their accomplishments and frustrations over challenging tasks (Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008).
To support positive self esteem in children the practitioner should have a genuine behaviour towards the children, accepting the child the way he/she is and his/her thoughts and be empathetic towards the child by understanding his/her point of view (Carl Rogers in Macleod-Brudenell ; Kay, 2008). The practitioner should believe in the child’s abilities in order to allow him/her to be confident about his/her own potential. At the age of 3years children need the companionship of other children. Children of this age like to imitate older ones.
“If children did not copy, each man would start a new civilization and there would be no continuity” (Montessori, 2012, p145). At this age they have usually those playmates which are with them in the nursery or who live close by. Some children do not know how to behave in a social environment at that time it is the job of the practitioner to facilitate the friendship making process. Because children imitate the elders, the practitioner should present him/herself as a role model for them to learn through it. The practitioner should provide a lot of opportunities for group play and also try to involve him/herself during these playtimes.For e.
g. in our nursery we have pretend play which provide opportunity for all the children to interact and play with each other. The practitioner should also be able to tackle difficult situation in a problem solving and positive manner. Practitioner should also make sure that he/she provides equal opportunities for all the children regardless of their race, religion, culture or nationality.
If the children know that they are secure and protected and positive relationships and attachments have been developed with adults and caregivers, they will definitely thrive in whatever they want to do.To conclude, it is the practitioners responsibility to cater a three years old child’s Physical and Psychological needs. “ I call a child of three years a man because I see his merits instead of his size. ” (Montessori, 2012, p144) This time is very important in the child’s life because he is transitioning from the ‘period of growth’(Montessori, 2012, p145) to the period of perfection. The practitioner needs to observe every aspect of the child’s development very closely so that by the age of three if there are some aspects which needs improvement can be worked upon till the age of six.
But one should keep in mind that every child has a unique personality and the rate of development for each child will be different. Practitioner is also responsible to make sure that the child’s rights should be protected. In my country Children’ Act 1998 serves as the guidelines on how we should cater the child’s rights but unfortunately they are not implemented and followed by everyone. I would like to conclude my essay by quoting Maria Montessori: “We have a great responsibility to have schools for children from three to six years, not just because they should start learning, but because this social need should be addressed.