Child development key words

  • Reinforces: positive or negative experiences used to strengthen a child's behavioural responses.
  • Constructivist approach: a model used to explain a child's cognitive development, which considers that children develop their own ideas based on experiences and interactions with people.
  • Schema: a repeated action, way of doing something or way of thinking/ reasoning that can be specific or generalised.
  • Hypothesise: to speculate or propose an idea or theory.
  • Qualitative data: information that is collected by informal methods and cannot be scientifically replicated.
  • Social constructivist: a model that explains children's cognitive development by suggesting that their logic and reasoning is developed through experiences, but also by interactions with and questions from adults and older children.
  • Scaffolding: a term used to describe a style of working with children in which the adult helps the child to acquire information.
  • Phonemes: the smallest units of sound in a language that help to distinguish one word from another. In the English language, for example, 'p' and 'b' are seperate because they distinguish words such as 'pit' and 'bit'.
  • Empathy: the ability to feel or understand the emotions of others.
  • Trait: a set of characteristics.
  • Attachment: a special relationship or bond between a child and people who are emotionally involved with them.
  • Separation anxiety: a set of behaviours and actions that occur when a child is distressed as a result of the person or people they are attached to being absent.
  • Ethologist: a person who studies patterns of animal behaviour.
  • Infant mortality: the rate of death in the first year of life.
  • Morbidity: the rate of incidence of ill health within a population.
  • Adolescence: a period of time over


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