Meeting Health and Well-being Needs in Day Care Centre


11 Apr 2018

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Day Care Centre

This essay will be the design of a day care centre that will meet the needs of 3-5 year olds; cognitive, physical, emotional and social development. This will show examples of how to meet these needs and research to back up the actions.

Cognitive development

Between these ages lots of cognitive development is going on as they learn from what’s around them, this is where my day care centre can help. In terms of language acquisition children are using sentences made up of more than 4 words, which are intelligible to everyone, not just familiar listeners. They will also ask how and why questions (Bhalla, 2013), and able to answer these questions knowing what type of answer is required of them, despite maybe giving the wrong answer (Hussey-Gardner, 1992).

They will be learning the meanings of words, which will help them describe things and tell stories. One issue that will come across is the over generalization of grammar rules, for example a child may use ‘goed’, ‘wented’ ‘fishes’ (Hussey-Gardner, 1992). This supports the language acquisition device (LAD) theory from Chomsky, a child assumed and applied the grammar rules from their universal grammar because they could not have copied or learned these words from adults (Albery, et al., 2008). However the flaw with this theory is that it doesn’t prove a child has a LAD, although it supports that children don’t learn language through imitation alone, they could learn it through other interactions (D'Agostino, 2001). In my day care centre I will help prevent over generalisation of grammar rules by repeating the sentence back with the correct grammar in place, reading books with different tenses, ensuring I use the words which are frequently misused in the right context. I will also encourage their speech in general by getting them to describe things, and asking them to explain their activities.

Vygotsky claimed that children at this age will talk to themselves in order to help complete tasks, this is a very important stage in cognitive development because speaking out loud whilst problem solving will eventually lead to internal thoughts (Albery, et al., 2008). In the day care centre I will help encourage this by giving children tasks by giving them spoken instructions so they can repeat these instructions to themselves whilst completing the task. Using language to assist in problem solving occurred in what Vygotsky called the egocentric speech stage. This stage has a connection to Piaget’s pre-operational stage, where Piaget also believed that children of this age were egocentric and had egocentric speech (Albery, et al., 2008). However Piaget didn’t come to the conclusion Vygotsky did that egocentric speech turned into internal thoughts, Piaget thought egocentric speech just disappeared (Blunden, 1997).

Piaget also believed that within this stage children make mistakes due to centration, which is not being able to think of two things at once. He showed this using a balance scale task where children had to take into account distance and number of weights to see which side will go down (Waring, 2006). A criticism for Piaget’s test is that it was not something children understood and are used to and therefore harder for them to relate to the test (Waring, 2006) .

I could help children think less centrally by using Vygotsky scaffolding theory (Chaiklin, 2003). They can solve a puzzle on their own taking only one element into account, then with the help of a more knowing adult they can solve a puzzle taking into account two elements, they then should be able to do this themselves. The scaffolding idea from Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development theory is the idea that more knowing adults can guide children through what they can do by themselves, what they can do with help and eventually doing it themselves. The problem with this theory is that it doesn’t take into consideration children’s personal abilities, if they are not particularly good at a skill, no amount of help will get them to succeed by themselves. It also doesn’t consider children’s motivation or desire to complete the task (Chaiklin, 2003)


Children at the age of 3-5 years are developing their fine and gross motor skills. They can get more involved in physical play, like climbing, or using tricycles. They can hold things between their thumb and finger rather than their whole fists and manipulate clay (Australian Government Department of Social Services, 2011).

To help develop their fine motor skills I can start by giving the children bigger pencils and scissors and gradually give them smaller ones to use. I would also give them shapes to draw, at first getting them to draw along dotted lines, then copying a shape and them getting them to draw it free hand (Bhalla, 2013).

Trawick-Smith (2010) noted in his report that motiavtion is an important factor in childrens physical development espeshially in their gross motor skills. He believes that children relate to make believe and role playing games and that they devlop physically when they can reflect on their actions and see what their actions do and look like. So in my day care centre I will have an area for physical sessions with a mirror coverng one side. In these sessions I will relate movements to characters e.g. marching soldiers or woddling penguins. As well as having an outdoor climbing frame which children can play on with each other. The problem with Trawick-Smith’s (2010) ideas are that it is hard to motivate a large group of children in the same way.

The idea of physical activity sessions can also be supported by Bandura’s theory of observational learning which came about from his Bobo Doll experiment. The children now have the ability, biologically, to copy the behaviours and to learn new fine or gross motor skills. I need to offer the opportunity to observe the behaviours, for them to retain the behaviour, imitiate the behaviour, and repeat these behaviours. However I must motiave them to repeat the actions and reward the success of repeated action (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, n.d.). The problem with this theory is that there is no garentee that a child will repeat the behaviour straight away it may take a while for the child to feel it is beneficial for them to repeat the action (Taylor, 2014).

This is a very behaviourist way of looking at pysical development. The nature vs. nurture debate could be relevant here, as you could argue that the a child will devlop the ability to do these activites through muturation. However behaviourist will take the nuture root that the behvaiour is learnt however the ability to learn it is innate (Keegan, 2002).

Lifespan devlopmental theory takes on both approuches, at this age they are in the childhood stage (Keegan, 2002). At this stage they are gaining motor skillls however because myelination is still in its early stages (the devlopment of the sheath around the axon stucture in the Central Nervous System) a child cannot transmit information as fast, the more it develops the more complex brain processes can be allowed (Fraser-Trill, 2010). This may result in differnent physical activites each child is able to do (MacFarlane & Nierman, 2001). So in my day care center I will have 3 groups for physical activites seperating the different ability levels.


Children between the ages of 3-5 will be trying to interact with other children by engaging in pretend play (Bhalla, 2013). They may try and play with toys but sharing may be a difficult task for them at this age due to them being egocentric (Kamptner, 2014).

Egocentrism is a theory put forward in Piaget’s pre-operational stage, he used the three mountains test to show that children could not picture someone else’s viewpoint (Albery, et al., 2008). However the problem with Piaget’s theory is that the three mountains test is not relatable to children, they do not understand what is being asked of him. When Hughes and Donaldson carried out the ‘Policeman test’ with children it showed that children could see from another point of view because the task was more relatable as a hide-and-seek type game (Albery, et al., 2008).

In my day care centre I will have circle time, each child will have a chance to say something about their day, one child will have a teddy bear, this will indicate it’s their turn to talk, and everyone else in the circle must listen. This will help guide children into understanding others points of view.

Egocentrism can also cause difficulties in sharing, taking turns, conflict when playing with each other and can be possessive over toys (Kamptner, 2014). I can try to reduce this in my day care centre by encouraging sharing by having a timer, when the timer ends the toy is given to another child.

Also during this age group children are progressing from ‘interactive’ play, which involves parallel play, where children can play with the same toys in the same area but not together, to eventually, ‘cooperatively’ play together, which involves playing together with toys which makes it more organised, for example building something together (Kamptner, 2014).

In my day care centre I will use Vygotsky’s scaffolding theory to assist the children in progressing through the two stages. At first I may have group of 2 children and one member of staff to complete a task, for example building a tower. Firstly the children will share the blocks to make one each with the watchful eye of the member of staff, which will encourage parallel play. Next I will get the children to build something different each with the same blocks, maybe a tower and a building which put together after will make a castle, this will show that working together can achieve more. The next stage will be getting the children to build a tower together, the member of staff with them will assign each of them a task to complete. After they will be asked to do the same but the children will organise themselves to cooperative play. The member of staff will be there to diffuse any conflicts that may arise, and to ensure they are sharing properly. Another factor I will have to consider is ensuring the children are motivated and rewarded for playing nicely with each other.


At this age children are becoming in tune with their emotions, they are starting to identify their own feelings, they can use words to express themselves which causes less frustration, have fears and are developing a sense of humour, bodily functions in particular are funny to them. It’s important for children to be able to identify emotions as they can still be overwhelmed by them if they don’t understand, however children need to understand their own emotions and others too (Bullick, 2010).

Piaget believed that children in the pre-operational stage could not feel empathy because they are too egocentric, however this was contradicted by the policeman test (Albery, et al., 2008). Now that it’s been supported that children can have empathy it’s important to develop it, one way of doing this could be through using a ‘persona doll’. Persona dolls are doll that come in a range of shapes, colour, religion and abilities to help children relate to them. An adult will tell a story about the persona doll, the children then interact by suggesting how it makes them feel and how to make them feel better. For example ‘the doll is scared of the dark’, a child will respond ‘she is scared of the dark like me, I have a night light, we should get her one too’ or ‘someone told the doll she couldn’t play because she was a girl’ a child would respond ‘someone said that to me once, I felt sad. Everyone should be allowed to play.’ This doll encourages them to not only identify their own emotions but also empathise with someone else’s and what they can do to make themselves and others feel better (Brown, et al., 2012).

Children who will help themselves or others with their emotions are using their initiative, which is one of the elements in Erikson’s initiative vs guilt psychosocial stage. An initiative child will have a good self-esteem and confident in the activities they are doing. For example they may lead other peers to play a game, or get others to join in on activities or make decisions for example collect their coat when its home time without being told. However low self-esteem or guilt can occur when this initiative is not praised, or criticised, this can lead to inhibition (McLeod, 2013). I can help raise initiative by encouraging role play games as groups. I may have a small group of children and one adult, the adult will nominate one child to make up roles and organise the game which they will all join in on, and the adult must try not to take over or discourage any of the ideas. The next day the adult will nominate a different child, this way all the children have a fair part to play and they are all gaining initiative. Erikson’s theory is based on Freudian view of the conflicting id, ego and superego, however Erikson doesn’t state how successfully resolve these conflicts and the boundaries between each are vague. It also doesn’t show how of if one of the conflict stages can effect another (McLeod, 2013).

I could also include Bowlby’s attachment theory here. Bowlby believed that children become attached to their primary care giver, and by this age they will be upset if they leave them (Keegan, 2002). To help with this transition I could let the parents be at the day care center together, to let them get used to it, and then they could bring a teddy from home that they could use a comfort if they start to get upset.

In conclusion I will have to bear in mind a lot of aspects in order for the children in my day care centre to have the best development. It has been supported that role play, problem solving and an adult helping hand can go a long way in the development stages.


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