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Title: Early years development and the formation of meaning, intention and behavior
Author: Robinson, Margherita Maria Rosina
ISNI:       0000 0001 3528 9658
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis builds on three guiding hypotheses. Firstly, that the capacity for age appropriate play provides a valid and robust medium for the assessment of a child's current levels of developmental maturation. The second, that the trajectory of physical, emotional, social and cognitive development, while retaining their specific features, is nevertheless interlinked and mutually influential in a dynamic and unceasing process with human behaviour being a composite of this complex, ongoing interaction. The third hypothesis was that delay or dysfunction could be potentially 'signposted' at an earlier phase of development through such a holistic approach supported by skilled assessment and observation. This study therefore incorporates an analysis of an empirical, observational study of a play situation with two groups of young people. Their approach and capacity for play was examined and evaluated in the light of research information on the potential role of play in development within a context of age appropriate expectations. The poverty of their play led to consideration of the potential precursors to the variations in play at different ages and led to the exploration of three possibilities. These were whether a) a unified perspective of development would provide a more indepth method of evaluating developmental progress overall; b) early identification of delay or dysfunction could be better ascertained by the application of such a holistic appraisal in the assessment of development and c) to explore further the possibility that play is a robust medium for such developmental appraisal. The first possibility was explored via a theoretical synthesis of research findings from a range of sources. A focus age range of 7-12 months was chosen for this exploration because of its identification as an important phase in overall development. The second possibility invited the reexamination of current surveillance of this age range which led to the design of an alternative protocol for assessing the normality and age related achievements of these infants which incorporated the third possibility as observation and play is the context for this assessment. Health visitors were the identified practitioners of choice because of their unique role in surveillance of growing infants. This work has therefore provided the framework for considering development through a more holistic lens and has lent support to the hypotheses, i.e. that assessments which are based on an integrated view of development and incorporate play based activities are potentially highly sensitive and informative of levels of maturation. Finally it is suggested that this style of assessment supports the implementation and application of theoretical information in practice for those professionals working in early years.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available