Psychology of Human Development: Infancy and Childhood
(Just Playing Around)
The human development that is also known as Developmental psychology is basically the scientific study of the psychological development or changes in a human being during their lives. The journey of human development is started from the infancy and keeps continue till the death. However, the period of infancy and childhood is the period when a human being experiment and learn the new ideas and concept that has the long lasting effect. In the period of Infancy and Childhood Play is an important factor in the cognitive and social development of children, and has been linked to curiosity, exploration, and creativity in early childhood development (Cecil, Gray, Thornburg, & Ispa, 1985). It enhances creativity (Ellermeyer, 1993) and promotes better cognitive development.
Play and Human Development
Play can be encouraged by parents and teachers. It may be enhanced by the use of appropriate surroundings and playthings and modeling of how to use them. This is especially important in the development of an appropriate play space. Ellermeyer (1993) noted that parents’ behaviors serve as models for children’s play.
Dramatic play and the free use of materials for music and artwork have also been shown to increase creative play. Engaging in meaningful participation and conversations with children at appropriate points while they play, and refraining from interfering when the children are fully engaged on their own can also enhance their creativity as well as socio emotional development.
Art and Human Development
As far as the use of art and work concern, it should be remembered that the art itself is the multidimensional field that ranges from drama, playing games, and use and building of sculptures to painting and drawing etc.,. Therefore, Arts integration is an approach of learning and teaching that utilize the arts as primary ways. Arts integration varies from traditional arts education by its combination of both standard subject and arts discipline as element of learning. The purpose of arts integration is to enhance the understanding capabilities while at the same time nurturing the children by keep them active.
Arts integration is connected to arts to the education. Arts education has been used in a variety of forms since the 19th century. It gained popularity when described as an element of John Dewey's Progressive Education Theory. (Liora, 1995)
The study that is done by Cassandra Bolyard encompassed the significance of artistic modalities for students and to encourage creative thought processes that would be significant over the student’s lifetime. The arts help the children in decision making and problem solving processes as well as all core content. These understandings can later be translated easily in daily life. (Cassandra B, 1978)
The author of “An Arts Integrated Approach For Elementary-Level Students” says that the integration of art “ encompasses an emphasis on student construction of knowledge through collaboration to make real-world connections to learning that spring out of past work, as well as on the use of reflection in continuous assessment of student learning” (Brown, 2007, p. 173). According to Brown the benefits of integration are as follows:
• Elaborate and creative thinking and problem solving
• Verbal and nonverbal expressive abilities
• Applied learning in new contexts
• Increased skills in collaboration
• Increased self-confidence
• Higher motivation (Brown, 2007)
The momentum for arts integration is an emerging body of research that describes how experience succeeded when taught, why and how to use performing literary arts to both convey and realize ideas, creativity and feelings.
Art and Intelligence
The Project Zero, an educational research group founded in 1967 by Nelson Goodman that is supported by Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, which examine learning in the arts discipline. The Project Zero has extended its research to include further branches of education. Howard Gardner's Theory of multiple intelligences has been utilized as an element of the justification for the utilization of integrated arts and its models in teaching. (Harvard, 2010)
The Multiple Intelligences Theory describes by the Howard Gardner in 1983. According to that theory people understand in seven ways. This theory then refined about the seven understanding ways that people perceive and understand. Currently these intelligences are using in different ways. The logical, mathematical and verbal-linguistic intelligences that has been frequently used for long time. Further, balanced curriculum that includes the physical education, arts, linguistic and communication may be helpful in order to influence the intelligences. (Gardner, 1983)
The Dana Arts and Cognition Consortium brought together neuroscientists from seven U.S. universities, in 2004 to study how arts can improve performance. Research in “Learning, Arts, and the Brain, The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition (2008)”, portray that youth interested in performing art may also express more better motivation to learn in different subject areas, which leads to improved knowledge.
“Learning to play a musical instrument can also have a significant impact on students, according to the study. Learning, Arts, and the Brain shows that music training can bolster young people's memorization skills, providing them with the "ability to manipulate information in both working and long-term memory." Music training can also help children make gains in math and reading classes. For example, the study noted links between children's "practice of music and skills in geometrical representation" and correlations "between music training and both reading acquisition and sequence learning."
Because, as research shows, music and arts training can help students in other academic areas, educators are finding creative ways to integrate arts instruction into a variety of classes. Arts integration curriculum design gives all students—not just those identified as "gifted and talented"—the opportunity to express their creativity and to learn critical-thinking, problem-solving, and innovation skills. But sometimes integrating art into the curriculum is easier said than done. Developing and implementing a curriculum that meaningfully integrates arts instruction (and meets identified standards) requires a great deal of professional development and planning, collaboration, and teamwork among educators.” (Sloan, 2009)
Art and Benefit
Arts nourish the brain. They intensify the creativity and provide chances to critically interpret the world. For example, a number of prominent medical schools are having training in the arts to sharpen students’ skills, identifying outliers and searching for patterns. (Apple, 2006)
As far its further benefit concerns art is also used to add enthusiasm to other subjects means that engaging students in both the “aesthetic qualities of artistic work as well as higher order cognitive skills.” (Mishook & Kornhaber, 2006)
The National Endowment for the Arts conducted research and concluded five statements that explain how the arts can be helpful:
“1) Art can promote the academic growth of students if they are actively involved in the learning process.
2) Arts can bring students, teachers, and parents together by sharing fun and creative experiences.
3) Arts can help produce a curriculum in which the core subject areas are tied together and meaning is created for the students.
4) Arts provide students with an outlet to reach other cultures found among larger groups of people and institutions
5) Arts can humanize the atmosphere in which students learn.” (Gullat, 2007)
Art integration is significant because it transfers the responsibility from the teachers to the students. Students become more concerned in their learning and gain experiences (in following pages there are useful discussion about the experience). Arts integration provides the opportunity to the students to “interpret content in ways that were meaningful to them” (Lynch, 2007).
According to the study, art integration plays a key role in math, science, social studies, reading, writing and other areas. Through this integration, creativity is fostered with self-awareness and having empathy toward others. Because the art integration provide the opportunity to express the ideas openly that is the outcome of self-confidence that the ideas will be shared and is being shared, will take as a piece of information that will further be discussed not only will be criticized. This aspect as I realized during the practice is the catalyst to improve the self-awareness that how much improvement is needed with receptivity to accept other argument and ideas. The study highlights the number of ways in which the arts grow the behavioral and cognitive skills that are inevitable for success. (Lipe, 2010)
The above mentioned discussion and research give us strong evidences that use of art either in term of playing, dramatization or even something else has powerful effects in the process of human development, because children and the human beings their-selves are very much curious to touch and experiment the things and art is the tool that fulfill this desire. One very simple thing, if we go to the zoo, doesn’t it our curiosity to touch the elephant or any other animals, the simple question with simple answer that all we know.