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Task: This is an education assignment on a topic of the student's choice.

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Woodhead (1997)   ← Click to see the original text quoted in this excerpt.

Background: Woodhead's (1997) central thesis is revealed in both the introduction and conclusion of his article. His position is that the use of the word 'need' in child psychology, education and social welfare conceals the socially constructed assumptions of the speaker/writer. In this article he challenges the reader to deconstruct universal claims about needs. He argues that assertions about children's needs should not be accepted uncritically and should be understood as reflecting context-specific cultural interpretations of childhood.
Read how this student renders Woodhead's argument.

Early childhood centres are concerned with providing for children's social, emotional, developmental and educational needs. Maslow (1987) has argued that children's needs exist in a hierarchy with lower level physiological and safety needs, such as for food, shelter and clothing, being the foundation for their higher level psychological needs for love, self-esteem and self-actualisation (as cited in Calder, Faire, & McGougan, 1994). Early childhood teachers therefore need to be aware of how children's home life might affect their wellbeing and ability to learn. For example, children who are growing up in poverty and who come to the centre without having a proper breakfast must have their need for healthy food addressed because this might affect their behaviour and engagement, including their ability to concentrate and relate to others. Woodhead (1997) suggests "needs can be identified with children's nature, with universal qualities of their biological and psychological make-up" (p. 68). This means that all children, no matter what their age, gender, ethnicity or social background, have the right to have their social, emotional, developmental and educational needs met both at home and in the centre.
References:

Calder, I., Faire, M., & McGougan, A. (1994). Learners and learning. In C. McGee & D. Fraser (Eds.), The professional practice of teaching (pp. 35-56). Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore.

Woodhead, M. (1997). Psychology and the cultural construction of children's needs. In A. James & A. Prout (Eds.), Constructing and reconstructing childhood: Contemporary issues in the sociological study of childhood (2nd ed., pp. 64-84). London, England: Falmer Press.