Supporting children's development
Supporting children's development

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1.1 Important relationships

Described image
Figure 3 The concentric ring

Figure 3 shows one way of representing the range of different people that Tomos comes into contact with on a regular basis and how close they feel to him. Do you notice anything about the range of people mentioned? In this case study (but not in all families) family members are the closest. After that key workers in schools such as speech therapists might be the closest. As children develop, peers become of increasing importance.

Activity 2

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Think back to your early childhood and try to remember whom you were close to when you were Tomos’s and Mali’s ages. Have a look at photographs from your early childhood or talk to relatives. If you prefer, carry out this activity from the perspective of your own children, or children you know well.

Produce a diagram similar to Figure 3 to provide a visual representation of the information or jot down some notes about the following, giving reasons for your answers if you can:

  1. Who were you close to?

  2. Are you still close to them now?

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


You may have been surprised by the range of people you identified as feeling close to, and forming a strong bond with. Maybe you identified aunts and uncles, grandparents, a step-parent, a foster carer or a non-relative who cared for you, such as a babysitter or a family friend.

For most young children, parents and immediate family are important. Other adults and children can be, too, but do not always get the credit they deserve for their parts in children’s lives.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371