Fostering depends upon having a passionate interest in supporting the development of children and young people. This blog series examines key aspects of child development in order to provide foster carers with an understanding of its main aspects. Children’s development follows a definite pattern starting with the progression from simple actions to more complex ones. Put simply, children learn to crawl before standing and then stand before walking. All of which come before children being able to run, skip or hop.
This pattern of development progresses down the body. An infants physical control and coordination begins with the head and continues developing downwards through the body via the arms, hands and back. This process is completed with the legs and feet. This is further refined as development progresses from actions that are controlled nearer the body to more complex ones further away from it. This his demonstrated by the way children are able by reaching for objects to demonstrate gross motor skills. This happens before the fine motor skills have developed that are needed to pick objects up with the fingers. This process is later reversed during the dramatic growth spurt characteristic of puberty. When this occurs, the developmental growth begins at the outer regions of the body working inwards. First of all the hands and feet expand; shin bones then lengthen before thigh bones; the forearm before the upper arm whilst last of all, the spine reaches its full development.
Development will then progress from more general responses to those that are specific. Foster carers will have experienced that a young baby will, for example, demonstrate pleasure by a big response: the eyes widen, smiling is accompanied by vigorous movement of the arms and legs to the extent the whole body is animated. In order children response to pleasure are much more controlled – smiling and the use of appropriate gestures and words.
Foster care facts: every year hundreds of new foster families are needed in Wales.
At birth, babies are already actively using all their senses. They respond to all the stimuli in their new environment such as objects, smelling odours and hearing sounds. Babies right from birth are learning to cope with process huge amounts of information. This means when they are wakeful they are alert. Babies have the ability to focus on objects less than one metre away. As they begin a lifelong journey into the world of the senses, they will demonstrate a marked preference for human faces and response to the mother’s voice.
All the different aspects of development are intricately linked. Each one affects and is then affected by the others in terms of overall developmental progression. A good way of thinking about this as an example is once children reach the point of emotional development where they can still feel secure although separated from their main carer, they are in a position to access much more. These can be opportunities for learning, wider experiences as well as relationships. Foster carers will be aware that similarly, once young children can use language competently this opens the door to many more opportunities for more complex social interaction. All these elements need to work in tandem to optimise a child’s potential for development. Poor language skills will impede social progress.
Play is important in promoting development.
Children’s all-round development is critically linked to play and the opportunities it presents for exploration as well as social interaction. It provides opportunities for:
Future influences on infant development through the use of technology.
Technology is being increasingly introduced into nursery and early years settings. Televisions, computers and tablets are being used but opinions differ. There is a school of thinking that says their overuse can impede the development of imaginative play. The oft-quoted example is the potential for a very young child to get more from playing creatively with the box a computer comes in. Others think that computers and television programmes offer a rich learning experience which can be a preparation for the later use of technology in more formal educational settings when the a child is older.
Foster care facts: there are approximately 44,500 foster families in England.
You could be eligible to foster.
People can become foster carers who are (over 21) married, divorced, single or cohabiting. You can also foster children or young people whatever your sexual orientation, ethnicity or cultural background. And you don’t have to have your own children or own your own home. You must be a UK citizen or have permanent leave to remain. Most importantly you need to have the desire and commitment to have a vulnerable child at the heart of your home and provide loving care and support.
At Rainbow fostering, we continue to hold initial interviews for applicants via Skype. This means you can apply to foster with us immediately. It’s easy to do and a member of our recruitment team will be on hand to guide you through the process.
Rainbow is providing tailored fostering services every day for local authorities in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Hampshire. Each placement is carefully and sensitively matched. Rainbow has been rated ‘Outstanding in all areas’ by Ofsted in recognition of our expertise in arranging and supporting well-matched, stable fostering placements.
What you can earn as a Foster Carer.
At Rainbow Fostering, we pay well as we recognise the valuable work done by our foster carers. And we know the better they are appreciated and supported, the better will be the outcomes for all our children. So, with Rainbow, you can expect to earn between £1,500 – £3,000. It’s possible to earn more if you choose to take advantage of the considerable training opportunities we provide. A therapeutic foster carer, for example, will receive enhanced rates of payment meaning earnings can rise to over £30k+ pa.
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Please remember, you can find all our contact details and regional office locations via the link below. If you prefer, you can always leave your contact details on our website and arrange for a member of our team to call you back. You can request a specific day and time for a call. We look forward to hearing from you.
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Rainbow keeping the focus on fostering.