nature and nurture
Children don’t just grow; they develop.
Children develop through different experiences and by
changing their behaviours accordingly.
Each child develops in his own time. The developmental
process, which involves physical, cognitive, social and
emotional development (see Glossary on page 14), is
something every child goes through and is affected by any
number of factors.
“It is a natural process, and it is a resilient process,” says
Jane Hewes, Chair of Early Learning and Child Care at
Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. “It also very much
is affected and influenced by the environment that the child
Contrary to conventional wisdom, it’s not genes or
environment, but the interaction of genes and environment,
the combination of nature and nurture, that shapes childhood
Development begins even before a child is born. After
birth, babies are able to recognize faces, copy others, and
interact with their environments from the earliest stages of
A child’s genes determine which traits he is born with, but
factors such as relationships with family and friends, family
income and experiences determine whether or not some traits
will be activated. Experiences operate like a signature on the
genes, setting up later behaviour.