Child development theory social work : Social Development

Child development theory social work

In the final report of her review of child protection, one of Eileen Munro’s recommendations is the development of social workers’ expertise, including an understanding of child development and attachment – in relation to which she cites four texts. In my previous post I suggested that the model of child development presented in these texts is normative, over-emphasizes emotional and social development and has an incomplete frame of reference, for two reasons;

• It’s policy-based rather than evidence-based – an evidence-based model would give weight to all factors of child development.

• It’s based on biological knowledge that pre-dates WWII. Old knowledge isn’t necessarily wrong, but research has moved on since then. The model of child development proposed by the texts doesn’t seem to recognize this.

In this post I want to focus on the biological aspect; in the next I’ll look at public policy and evidence. In order to explain my reasoning about biological knowledge, I first need to refer to two very different factors that are fundamental to human development; genetics and the idea of constructions of reality.


I’ve gone on about genetics quite a bit; this is partly because genes play a significant role in making us who we are, but also because ideas about how genes work play a significant role in theories of child development. Central to Darwin’s theory about how species changed over time was the concept of natural selection; an organism whose characteristics were suited to any given environment would have a better chance of survival than one whose characteristics weren’t suited to that environment.

Freud graduated in medicine in 1881, the year before Darwin died. Whilst Freud was developing his psychodynamic theory, understanding of the mechanisms that controlled the inheritance of characteristics was changing rapidly. The term ‘genetics’ was coined in 1905, and ‘gene’ in 1910, the same year that genes were found to be located on chromosomes. At the time genes were seen as discrete units of heredity – a bit like beads on a necklace – each responsible for a different inherited characteristic.

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Popular Education Conference NYC Jan 20-21

by Freirian

This will be a gathering of community members, organizers, educators, and social workers working to advance social change efforts throughout New York City and beyond. All events will be held at the Hunter College School of Social Work, 129 East 79th Street, on the corner of Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. This event will be FREE and child care will be available on Saturday. Please note on your registration form if you will need childcare. (Please respond to contact e-mail or phone to receive an RSVP form.)
(*All times and sessions are subject to change*)
Friday, January 20th
6pm Registration and Opening (light snacks available)
7:15-9pm Roundtable Discussion: How do organizers and educators use popular education? Featuring staff and leaders from CCB, Northwest Bronx Clergy & Community Coalition, and others
Saturday, Ja…

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Which is a cult-like religion that has some bizarre teachings (eg: the heart is not a pump, that learning disabilities are the result of the child's karma, that children literally see angels and demons until the age of 7 or so, etc). While marketed as an arts-based education, creativity is actually discouraged (eg: students cannot use black crayons ever, art work often consists of directly copying anthroposophic spiritual symbols).
Teachers complete a 2 year training program. The first year is devoted completely to the study of anthroposophy, an occult philosophy based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner

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