- The Skillforkids.com Philosophy of Development reflects the latest research and contemporary thought
- The philosophy has been and is continuing to be used as a backbone for the development of practical information
The Skillforkids.com philosophy of development which relates to both physical and psychological skills was developed by our core team of experts from a range of professions. It reflects the latest research and contemporary thought from fields such as neuroscience, motor learning, coaching and sport science. All the information on Skillforkids.com has been produced in accordance with this philosophy with the aim of delivering practical information and examples to the people who can use the information to make a real difference.
The dynamical systems perspective
We believe physical and psychological skill development is best seen from a Dynamical Systems perspective. According to this view, a child’s mind, body, and physical and social worlds form an integrated system that guides development. This system is dynamic, or constantly in motion. An adaptive change in any part of the system, from the developing brain or body to changes in the physical or social surrounds, disrupts the individual-environment relationship. When this occurs, the child reorganizes his/her behaviour so the components of the system co-ordinate in a more stable yet flexible manner. This results in the emergence of more effective skills and functioning relative to the desired outcome/task.
Common evolutionary heritage and experiences
The Dynamical Systems perspective acknowledges the developmental impact of similarities in our physical and psychological composition resulting from common evolutionary heritage. However, development is not sequential. Rather, it is complex and variable as a result of the individual differences in each child operating within open changing environments. A child’s developing skill execution and psychological functioning therefore varies depending on reciprocal interactions between genetics and environmental experiences. An emerging skill or function is generated via the relationships between the organic component (genetics) and the opportunities and constraints within the environment.
Individual differences over time
This means that during human development, every neural event, every motor skill, every environmental constraint, and every social encounter influences the way a child will function in the future. This is especially apparent during the early years when very small variations in developmental experiences can lead to large behavioural consequences. This is because each change in the system impacts the way the child interacts with and reacts to every new experience thereafter. This tends to amplify progressive individual differences over time.
The role of important caregivers
As such, important caregivers (parents, coaches and teachers) have an incredibly important role in the development of children. They will be successful to the degree that the experiences they expose children to, the way they manipulate those experiences, and the interactions surrounding those experiences, nurture and enhance adaptive skill development and functioning. The goal is to promote conditions that allow and encourage the natural flow towards adaptive, flexible developing systems rather than the constrictions that can block this from unfolding.