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Fifteen-month-old Amara is by all accounts a bright and engagingtoddler She comes from a warm culturally-enriching home environmentwhere she is surrounded by loving adults who care for her and promoteher development into a unique increasingly independent individual Herdays are spent with her mother Michelle who watches both Amara andtwelve-month-old Elias the son of a friend Kalimah In this idealintimate child care setting Amara is already being exposed to socialinteractions with both peers and adults at a tender age Her developmentis also fostered by the integration of culture into her life Both theEnglish and Spanish languages are spoken at home with English being thepredominant tongue and Spanish taking the form of reading books andsinging songs Through this combination of unique social experiencesAmara is becoming a bright developmentally advanced child In the hourin which she was observed in the preschool at Boston University sheshowed many signs of strong cognitive and social development settingthe stage for her entrance into early childhoodAmaras social and emotional development is largely measured by thequality of her relationship with her mother By Mary Ainsworthscriteria she is very securely attached to her mother using her as asecure base from which to explore in an unfamiliar playroom Berk2008 p 270 As she investigates the playroom she frequently returnsto Michelles lap for a hug or a kiss or to show her a toy she isinterested in As such she views her mother as the central point of theroom and uses her as a base from which she starts her exploration of hersurroundings The strong bond between them is evident in their socialinteractions with one another and Michelles responsiveness and warmthtowards Amara Amaras secure attachment to her mother is deeplysignificant because as John Bowlby asserts in his ethological theory ofattachment the quality of attachment to the caregiver has profoundimplications for the childs feelings of security and capacity to formtrusting relationships Berk 2008 p 269 The affectionate bondbetween mother and child will influence the childs relationships withothers in
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