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Early Childhood Cognitive And Social Development In Poverty

1631 words - 7 pages

Children in families with lower incomes at or below the poverty line have been connected with poor cognitive and social development in early childhood. The studies that I chose to use evaluate the cognitive and social development during early childhood using various surveys, evaluations, and observations completed by or with the children, parents, and teachers. Development of any kind is dependent on the interplay of nature and nurture, or genetics and environment. These studies draw from a child’s environment during the earliest years of development, specifically birth, preschool, and early elementary school. The studies propose living in an impoverished environment as opposed to an ...view middle of the document...

Lastly, negative social climate of a neighborhood was taken into account, including physical and social disorder, and fear of retaliation and victimization.
Evaluations at the family level began with family demographics and structure, which included parent education, employment status, size, structure, and income. Evaluations also took into account the parent involvement with the child, focusing on expressions of affection, eliciting, and joint activities of the mother and child. The cultural context of the family’s home was evaluated based on the presence of “culturally acceptable toys, photos of African American family members, and clothing or household items made of African fabric or prints” (O’Brien, 2006). To evaluate the child’s actual cognitive competence the children were tested on mental processing and achievement. The results were then split into Achievement, focusing on facts, Sequential Processing, focusing on completing steps, and Simultaneous Processing, or problem solving (O’Brien, 2006).
The results were both expected and surprising at times. For example, the social capital measures were generally higher than the negative social climate in all neighborhoods, but problem solving skills differed between neighborhoods (O’Brien, 2006). Neighborhood poverty was associated with low scoring and decreasing Simultaneous Processing, over and above family poverty. However neighborhood differences in social capital could not explain differences in problem solving skills. But the between neighborhood differences helped explain the differences in knowledge, specifically associating willingness to intervene and parent engagement in joint activities with a higher problem solving skills (O’Brien, 2006).
A neighborhood’s and a family’s socioeconomic status a parenting styles are associated positively with optimal child outcome, cognitively and socially. Sensitive and responsive parents provide their children with opportunities for age appropriate cognitive stimulation. They also provide consistent and firm discipline. Neighborhoods affect parent involvement, giving neighborhoods indirect impact on a child’s outcome (O’Brien, 2006). Neighborhoods with higher poverty, ethnic diversity, and population instability are associated with higher rates of crime and delinquency. All of these things contribute to the breakdown of social cohesion and informal social control (O’Brien, 2006), creating an unlikely environment for early childhood development and optimal outcome.
The second study I used focused more on the significance of the timing a duration of poverty for a child from birth until third grade and the effect held on the child’s development and was titled “Duration and Developmental Timing of Poverty and Children's Cognitive and Social Development from Birth Through Third Grade”. Allhusen et al. examined the effects of different amounts of poverty by comparing children from families that were never poor, poor during the child’s infancy, poor...

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