Using Horrid Henry to support learning development

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Book title: Horried Henry birthday party.

This assignment will be explaining how the resource (a book) will support the learning and development of children. This will also talk and explain some theories and see how those theories support and help the learning and development of children in the society. The book selected for review is a story book entitled Horrid Henry birthday party. This book was written by Franscesca Simon in 2009 and illustrated by Tony Ross. The book was previously published as a single story in HORRID HENRY AND THE SECRET CLUB, and is also available as an audio book.

Learning is very important for children because it builds up their store of backgrounds knowledge of things that they didn’t know before, it builds up their confident, self-esteem, and moreover it helps them to do well in school or at home. The resource was created in order to help children with their learning and development, because all children learn throughout different techniques and strategies. The author believes that the majority of children, who reads books often get better understanding about stuffs that they didn’t know before, because reading is one of the most important exercises for our brains. Reading books is it better than doing other stuffs such as watching TV and etc. the more books children read, they better they get in their concentration and also reading regularly as they are growing up, will help them in order to develop or gain more abilities in doing things for a longer periods of time.

The plot of the story runs as follows: After Henry’s misbehaviour at his previews birthday party, his parents decided that he would never have another birthday party, nevertheless his birthday was nearly there again, and they have decided to give him one more chance. The plan is to have the party away from home at Lazer Zap but the place was expensive but at least it means no mess would be done to house. Everything is going fine until Henry’s dad called the book the place for the birthday party; unfortunately he finds that Henry has been banned from Lazer Zap for life so he ends up having a party at home after all. It was not surprising when everything started to get wrong at the party, the wrong presents, the wrong party games, the wrong prizes and even the wrong food. Nevertheless with Henry around thing would not be great and disappointing for long. He sneaks off to get his water gun, and his parents and guests get a pretty wet surprise.

Children particularly those aged between four to six years old are often enthusiastic, noisy and emotional. This dynamism is reasonably normal; sometimes they are active and they can be a quite handful: talking almost all the time, not doing as they are told and seems tireless. This kind of behaviour is more usually among boys. Although this can be very hard situation for parents to deal with as it could be seen in the story of Horrid Henry’s birthday where the boy is anxiously awaiting his birthday party and diligently planning what kind of presents should be and who to invite. On the other hand, his parents are also planning where the party should take place but also fear the consequences of Henry’s expecting misbehaviour. Early childhood is not only a period of amazing physical growth; it also a time of remarkable mental development. Cognitive association with memory reasoning problem solving and thinking continue to emerge throughout childhood (Jean Piaget).

A child learning development depends on many characteristics such as family, environment, emotional and situations. Usually the first people with whom the child interacts are parents. According to the research, parenting is directly related to theory of mind and emotion understanding. In particular, research related to theory of mind has examined the importance of such variables as attachment, parenting style, and discipline. Bowlby (1982) suggested that secure attachments enable children to learn about their caretaker’s perspective, which then allows a child to recognize differences between his/her own and his/her caretaker’s perspectives. In early childhoods, relationships are formed with brothers and or sisters and other children beyond the immediate family. Parental and the environmental influence have a very high probabilities to influence a child behaviour. The environment is not entity that inevitably imposes upon individuals. When movement is constrains, some aspects of the physical and environment may influence on individuals whether they like it or not.

Nevertheless most aspects of the environment do not operate as influence until they are activated by appropriate behaviour. Observing to previews research, children development also depends on parent-child relationship. It is one of the most of important aspects which should be taken into account for individual differences in early social-cognitive performance. Horrid Henry’s birthday story gives a very good opportunity to discuss good and bad behaviour for both child and parents and also relationship. The relationship between parents and young children is one of the most powerful factor in a child growth and development. During the early years parents are the centre of a young child’s universe. The type of attachment relationship that a child forms with his parents actually helps shape connections related to language, thinking, behaviours and emotions. Horrid Henry birthday story proves that parents had a role as well on their child behaviour because of parent’s attitude about their son’s birthday was not reliable. They started to complain about the place and the how it would cost when the child told them about the coming birthday therefore it was not surprise when everything started to go wrong at the party. According to family systems theory (Minuchin & Fishman, 1981), broader factors that influence the parent also can affect the dynamics between parents and children. For instance parental stress could become a major force contributing to adaptive, and maladaptive, child development. Parenting stress is one of many factors aspects that can influence a child behaviour and development such for parent suffering high levels of stress, mainly from economic difficulties, normally are less responsive and affectionate with their children. This proves that parenting stress could negatively affects a child’s social cognitive development (Cole and Mitchell, 1998).

As development continues, so the child’s network of relationships increases, with teachers, classmates, neighbours and so becoming an important part of social development. Parent’s behaviour is the first thing that could affect a child behaviour and decision making. It is important to note that a child memory is like a recording device which can only reproduce exactly what they have recorded learned from people around them. According to Horrid Henry’s birthday story, it encourages children to think about friendship and it also teaches them how important is being social with other children. Friendships in childhood start as real relationships based on enjoyable experiences. As they grow up, friendships involve into a more abstract concept, one based upon mutual reflection and psychological satisfaction. That is one of the reason in Horrid Henry story the first thing he has done was to judge his friends and decide who should be invited to the party and who should not be invited. Unfortunately he finds that all friends name were crossed which means that no guest and no presents. This proves that the role friendships play throughout lie is important. Friendships for children provide numerous important functions including companionship, stimulation, and physical and affection. Each of this functions has a different degree of importance at different times of development. Several theorists view the development of friendships similarly to other areas of human development, as going through predictable progressive stages. In first stage, friendship for children four to six years old is based on based on physical or geographical considerations and is rather self-cantered. A friend is playmate who lives nearby and has toys. At this stage there little or no understanding personality traits. The second stage concerns children of age seven to nine years old or younger, at this stage children begin to understand reciprocity and develop an awareness of the other child’s feelings.

There no doubt that having a friend is extremely important for children. Many researches have proved this saying that more than half the children referred for emotional or behavioural problems have no friends or experience difficulty in peer interactions. Friendships contribute significantly to the development of social skills, such as being sensitive to other people's point of view, learning the rules of conversation, and learning sex and age appropriate behaviours. They also help to define both self and self-worth. Friends also have a powerful influence on a child's positive and negative school performance and may also help to encourage, or discourage, deviant behaviours, such as delinquency or drug use. Compared to children who lack friends, children with good friends have higher self-esteem. They are less likely to be lonely and act more pro socially. They are able to cope with life stresses and normal transitions and are also less victimized by peers. Interestingly, children with friends of both sexes, as a group, are well-adjusted and have greater social skills than children who have only same sex friendships. As parents, it is important to keep in mind that is although friendships follow a somewhat predictable developmental sequence, as in other areas of physical, cognitive, or social-emotional development, not all children progress at the same rate and delays are not necessarily a need for concern. Additionally, parents who interpret their children's desire for solitary play as loneliness and attempt to push friends on them may be making an incorrect assumption. As important as friendships are, like their adult counterparts, children may greatly enjoy and choose solitary activities. It's important to distinguish between being lonely and the desire to be alone, even in childhood. Like adults, children need alone space to grow and develop and, in their own way, reflect on the day's activities.

If we could take a close look on Horrid Henry birthday story, you could understand the financial situation of the family. It seems that family income has an effective effect on child development. Even casual observers note that the children of affluent parents are more likely to succeed in life than the children of poor parents. For instance, compared to more affluent children, poor children:score low on tests of cognitive skill in early childhood, have more behaviour problems in school and at home; are more likely to drop out of high school, and those who do finish high school are less likely to enrol in or graduate course, are more likely to have children at young age; are more likely to be poor themselves when they adults. The most intuitive explanation for this difference is that rich parents can spend more than poor parents on their children and that these “investments” lead to better outcomes for their children. This intuition fit the interests of policy makers looking for simple solutions to alleviate poverty and its apparent by-products: If poor children fail because their parents cannot make sufficient monetary investments in their future, then government can improve the life chances of poor children by providing families with the means to make the investments or by providing the investments directly in the form of schooling, health care, and other human capital in- puts (Mayer 2010)

However, poor parent’s inability to invest in their children is not the only possible explanation for the relationship between family poverty and child well-being. Other parental characteristics associated with their poverty have been implicated, especially parental education and marital status. Environment characteristics and parental behaviour or culture have also been implicated. These explanations argue for policies other than income support to improve children’s well-being as adults.

According to (Buss and Plomin 1984), sociability refers to one of the three dimensions of temperament (the others being emotionally and activity) which are taken to present at birth and inherited. Since the environment where human live is not a fixed entity that inevitably imposes upon individuals. When movement is constrained, some aspects of the physical and social environment may influence on individuals whether they like it or not. Nevertheless most aspects of environment do not operate as an influence until they are activated by appropriate behaviour. For instance lecturers do not influence students unless they attend. In social cognitive theory, people are neither driven by inner forces nor automatically shaped and controlled by environment. As we have already seen, they function as contributors to their own motivation, behaviour, and development within a network of reciprocally interacting influences. Person are characterised within this theoretical perspective in terms of the number of basic capabilities.

This book is interesting on another aspect, mainly the aspects of illustrations. As a matter of fact, children also learn through pictures. Pictures can help children to understand the story even though before reading it, and this also helps children who experience reading difficulty. They can analyse the story, participate in what is going on in the classroom. Those pictures help and stimulates children’s imagination. As one researcher said, picture books helps in the development of the concept of cause and effect. These books raise children’s interest in the lesson. This is why Segun (1988) believed that “illustrations are literature in their own right and, whether used by themselves or integrated with written texts, they sharpen the perception of children, stimulate their imagination and increase their sense of observation. The overall development of children can be aided by good illustrations.” Actually through illustrations, children can have a sense of personal identity and an awareness of their cultural heritage. Jelongo (2004) also views things in the same way when s/he says that teachers who take time to engage in reading picture books promote literacy among their pupils who then become literate adults with the ability to decode words and enjoy reading.

The book can also contribute to the organisation of role play or class parties for children. It is so interesting that other authors have come with Horrid Henry complete birthday party kit for kids


  • Aunola, Kaisa and Stattin, Håkan and Nurmi, Jari-Erik (2000); Parenting styles and adolescents' achievement strategies, vol: 23, no. 2, pp. p205-222
  • Guajardo, Nicole R and Snyder, Gregory and Petersen, Rachel (2009) ; Relationships among parenting practices, parental stress, child behaviour, and children's social-cognitive development, Vol: 18, no.1.pp.p37-60
  • Gol, Hayedeh Cheraghali and Rostami, Amir Masood and Goudarzi, Mahdi (2013); Prediction of Marital Satisfaction based on Perfectionism; vol: 89, p 567-571
  • Vinall, Jillian and Miller, Steven P and Synnes, Anne R and Grunau, Ruth E (2013); Parent behaviours moderate the relationship between neonatal pain and internalizing behaviours at 18 months corrected age in children born very prematurely
  • Early friendships profoundly affects child’s development at: Dr Paul Schwartz (2013)
  • Jessica Kingsley 1992. Six theories of Child development
  • Margaret E. Wood 1973. Development of Personality And Behaviour
  • Mayer, S (2010). Revisiting an old question: How much does parental income affect child outcomes? 2.pp.p21—26

ED1034 – Developing Learning in Early Childhood

Assignment – A Book Review

Using your knowledge of the factors which contribute to quality in resources used to support children’s learning and development, choose one example of either a published children’s book, or a well known children’s game and write an essay that explains how this resource supports children’s learning and development.

Within this essay you must:

•Make reference to theoretical and philosophical perspectives on child development to support your discussion.

•Discuss the factors that contribute to quality in resources

•Demonstrate an understanding of the holistic nature of learning and that learning can occur in many contexts.

Word count 3000 words.

“The Importance of Illustrations in Children’s Books” in Illustrating for Children

edited by Mabel Segun. Ibadan: CLAN, 1988. pp 25-27