Show How Cultural Factors Can Influence Child Development And Why It Is Important For Children's Services Workers To Have An Understanding Of The Cultural Background Of The Children With Whom They Work.

Essay by marieCHASECollege, Undergraduate April 2009

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Human development research indicates that relatively stable, predictable sequences of growth and change occur in children during the first nine years of life (Katz 1995). Predictable changes occur in all domains of development, physical, emotional, social, language, and cognitive (Katz 1995).The ways that these changes are manifest and the meaning attached to them may vary in different cultural contexts. Bronfenbrenner as cited in Garbarino provides an ecological model for understanding human development. He explains that children's development is best understood within the sociocultural context of the family, educational setting, community, and broader society (Garbarino 1985). These various contexts are interrelated, and all have an impact on the developing child. For example, even a child in a loving, supportive family within a strong, healthy community is affected by the biases of the larger society, such as racism or sexism, and may show the effects of negative stereotyping and discrimination. The purpose of this paper is to show how culture can influence child development and why it is important for child service workers to have an understanding of the cultural background.

What is Culture?Culture is defined as the customary beliefs and patterns of and for behaviour, both explicit and implicit, that are passed on to future generations by the society they live in or by a social, religious, or ethnic group within it (WDBMR n.d). Sargent (1988) defines culture which also includes the socially shared and transmitted knowledge, values, beliefs and customs in a given society (Sargent 1988). Because culture is often discussed in the context of diversity or multiculturalism, people fail to recognize the powerful role that culture plays in influencing the development of all children (Sargent 1988). Every culture structures and interprets children's behaviour and development. Rules of development are the same for all children, but social contexts shape children's...