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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Part 1 The Theories as a Framework to Support Children C hild development theory gives educators a foundation of how chil- dren grow and develop socially, emotionally, cognitively, and phys- ically. Theories help explain how children think and learn, develop motor skills, make friends and work with others, and gain self-esteem and a sense of identity. Each theory highlights specific behaviors and abilities that help early childhood educators know what to look for as they work with children. These aspects help teachers identify what is happening with a child and determine ways to support children’s learning and development. Teachers of young children must have the knowledge, skills, and dispo- sitions that inform their practices about how children grow, develop, and learn. Many individuals enter the field with the idea that loving to work with children is all that is necessary to be a good teacher. But to fully under- stand and make informed decisions about children, teachers need to have a strong understanding of child development theories. Why are theories so necessary? Theories provide ideas, principles, and strategies that apply to working with children. Theories offer context to analyze and interpret children’s behav- ior coherently and bring together different facts in a way that is meaningful and makes sense. Knowing the theories is having power to make informed deci- sions that influence children’s lives. Theories provide a comprehensive way to organize and reflect on observations of children. 9 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL