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Child development Definitions of stages of growth in childhood come from many sources.

Theorists such as Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Erik Erikson have provided ways to understand development, and recent research has provided important information regarding the nature of development. In addition, stages of childhood are defined culturally by the social institutions, customs, and laws that make up a society. For example, while researchers and professionals usually define the period of early childhood as birth to eight years of age, others in the United States might consider age five a better end point because it coincides with entry into the cultural practice of formal schooling. There are three broad stages of development: early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. The definitions of these stages are organized around the primary tasks of development in each stage, though the boundaries of these stages are malleable. Society's ideas about childhood shift over time, and research has led to new understandings of the development that takes place in each stage. Early Childhood (Birth to Eight Years) Early childhood is a time of tremendous growth across all areas of development. The dependent newborn grows into a young person who can take care of his or her own body and interact effectively with others. For these reasons, the primary developmental task of this stage is skill development. Physically, between birth and age three a child typically doubles in height and quadruples in weight. Bodily proportions also shift, so that the infant, whose head accounts for almost one-fourth of total body length, becomes a toddler with a more balanced, adult-like appearance. Despite these rapid physical changes, the typical three-year-old has mastered many skills, including sitting, walking, toilet training, using a spoon, scribbling, and sufficient hand-eye coordination to catch and throw a ball. Between three and five years of age, children continue to grow rapidly and begin to develop fine-motor skills. By age five most children demonstrate fairly good control of pencils, crayons, and scissors. Gross motor accomplishments may include the ability to skip and balance on one foot. Physical growth slows down between five and eight years of age, while body proportions and motor skills become more refined. Physical changes in early childhood are accompanied by rapid changes in the child's cognitive and language development. From

the moment they are born, children use all their senses to attend to their environment, and they begin to develop a sense of cause and effect from their actions and the responses of caregivers. Over the first three years of life, children develop a spoken vocabulary of between 300 and 1,000 words, and they are able to use language to learn about and describe the world around them. By age five, a child's vocabulary will grow to approximately 1,500 words. Five-year-olds are also able to produce five-to seven-word sentences, learn to use the past tense, and tell familiar stories using pictures as cues. Language is a powerful tool to enhance cognitive development. Using language allows the child to communicate with others and solve problems. By age eight, children are able to demonstrate some basic understanding of less concrete concepts, including time and money. However, the eight-yearold still reasons in concrete ways and has difficulty understanding abstract ideas. A key moment in early childhood socioemotional development occurs around one year of age. This is the time when attachment formation becomes critical. Attachment theory suggests that individual differences in later life functioning and personality are shaped by a child's early experiences with their caregivers. The quality of emotional attachment, or lack of attachment, formed early in life may serve as a model for later relationships. From ages three to five, growth in socioemotional skills includes the formation of peer relationships, gender identification, and the development of a sense of right and wrong. Taking the perspective of another individual is difficult for young children, and events are often interpreted in all-or-nothing terms, with the impact on the child being the fore-most concern. For example, at age five a child may expect others to share their possessions freely but still be extremely possessive of a favorite toy. This creates no conflict of conscience, because fairness is determined relative to the child's own interests. Between ages five and eight, children enter into a broader peer context and develop enduring friendships. Social comparison is heightened at this time, and taking other people's perspective begins to play a role in how children relate to people, including peers. Implications for in-school learning. The time from birth to eight years is a critical period in the development of many foundational skills in all areas of development.

Increased awareness of, and ability to detect, developmental delays in very young children has led to the creation of early intervention services that can reduce the need for special education placements when children reach school age. For example, earlier detection of hearing deficits sometimes leads to correction of problems before serious language impairments occur. Also, developmental delays caused by premature birth can be addressed through appropriate therapies to help children function at the level of their typically developing peers before they begin school. An increased emphasis on early learning has also created pressure to prepare young children to enter school with as many prerequisite skills as possible. In 1994 federal legislation was passed in the United States creating Goals 2000, the first of which states that "All children will enter school ready to learn" (U.S. Department of Education, 1998). While the validity of this goal has been debated, the consequences have already been felt. One consequence is the use of standardized readiness assessments to determine class placement or retention in kindergarten. Another is the creation of transition classes (an extra year of schooling before either kindergarten or first grade). Finally, the increased attention on early childhood has led to renewed interest in preschool programs as a means to narrow the readiness gap between children whose families can provide quality early learning environments for them and those whose families cannot. Middle Childhood (Eight to Twelve Years) Historically, middle childhood has not been considered an important stage in human development. Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory labeled this period of life the latency stage, a time when sexual and aggressive urges are repressed. Freud suggested that no significant contributions to personality development were made during this period. However, more recent theorists have recognized the importance of middle childhood for the development of cognitive skills, personality, motivation, and inter-personal relationships. During middle childhood children learn the values of their societies. Thus, the primary developmental task of middle childhood could be called integration, both in terms of development within the individual and of the individual within the social context. Perhaps supporting the image of middle childhood as a latency stage, physical development during middle childhood is less dramatic than in early childhood or

adolescence. Growth is slow and steady until the onset of puberty, when individuals begin to develop at a much quicker pace. The age at which individuals enter puberty varies, but there is evidence of a secular trend - the age at which puberty begins has been decreasing over time. In some individuals, puberty may start as early as age eight or nine. Onset of puberty differs across gender and begins earlier in females. As with physical development, the cognitive development of middle childhood is slow and steady. Children in this stage are building upon skills gained in early childhood and preparing for the next phase of their cognitive development. Children's reasoning is very rule based. Children are learning skills such as classification and forming hypotheses. While they are cognitively more mature now than a few years ago, children in this stage still require concrete, hands-on learning activities. Middle childhood is a time when children can gain enthusiasm for learning and work, for achievement can become a motivating factor as children work toward building competence and self-esteem. Middle childhood is also a time when children develop competence in interpersonal and social relationships. Children have a growing peer orientation, yet they are strongly influenced by their family. The social skills learned through peer and family relationships, and children's increasing ability to participate in meaningful interpersonal communication, provide a necessary foundation for the challenges of adolescence. Best friends are important at this age, and the skills gained in these relationships may provide the building blocks for healthy adult relationships. Implications for in-school learning. For many children, middle childhood is a joyful time of increased independence, broader friendships, and developing interests, such as sports, art, or music. However, a widely recognized shift in school performance begins for many children in third or fourth grade (age eight or nine). The skills required for academic success become more complex. Those students who successfully meet the academic challenges during this period go on to do well, while those who fail to build the necessary skills may fall further behind in later grades. Recent social trends, including the increased prevalence of school violence, eating disorders, drug use, and depression, affect many upper elementary school students. Thus, there is more pressure on schools to recognize problems in eight-to eleven-yearolds, and to teach children the social and life

skills that will help them continue to develop into healthy adolescents. Adolescence (Twelve to Eighteen Years) Adolescence can be defined in a variety of ways: physiologically, culturally, cognitively; each way suggests a slightly different definition. For the purpose of this discussion adolescence is defined as a culturally constructed period that generally begins as individuals reach sexual maturity and ends when the individual has established an identity as an adult within his or her social context. In many cultures adolescence may not exist, or may be very short, because the attainment of sexual maturity coincides with entry into the adult world. In the current culture of the United States, however, adolescence may last well into the early twenties. The primary developmental task of adolescence is identity formation. The adolescent years are another period of accelerated growth. Individuals can grow up to four inches and gain eight to ten pounds per year. This growth spurt is most often characterized by two years of fast growth, followed by three or more years of slow, steady growth. By the end of adolescence, individuals may gain a total of seven to nine inches in height and as much as forty or fifty pounds in weight. The timing of this growth spurt is not highly predictable; it varies across both individuals and gender. In general, females begin to develop earlier than do males. Sexual maturation is one of the most significant developments during this time. Like physical development, there is significant variability in the age at which individuals attain sexual maturity. Females tend to mature at about age thirteen, and males at about fifteen. Development during this period is governed by the pituitary gland through the release of thehormones testosterone (males) and estrogen (females). There has been increasing evidence of a trend toward earlier sexual development in developed countries the average age at which females reach menarche dropped three to four months every ten years between 1900 and 2000. Adolescence is an important period for cognitive development as well, as it marks a transition in the way in which individuals think and reason about problems and ideas. In early adolescence, individuals can classify and order objects, reverse processes, think logically about concrete objects, and consider more than one perspective at a time. However, at this level of development, adolescents benefit more from direct experiences than from abstract ideas and

principles. As adolescents develop more complex cognitive skills, they gain the ability to solve more abstract and hypothetical problems. Elements of this type of thinking may include an increased ability to think in hypothetical ways about abstract ideas, the ability to generate and test hypotheses systematically, the ability to think and plan about the future, and meta-cognition (the ability to reflect on one's thoughts). As individuals enter adolescence, they are confronted by a diverse number of changes all at one time. Not only are they undergoing significant physical and cognitive growth, but they are also encountering new situations, responsibilities, and people. Entry into middle school and high school thrusts students into environments with many new people, responsibilities, and expectations. While this transition can be frightening, it also represents an exciting step toward independence. Adolescents are trying on new roles, new ways of thinking and behaving, and they are exploring different ideas and values. Erikson addresses the search for identity and independence in his framework of life-span development. Adolescence is characterized by a conflict between identity and role confusion. During this period, individuals evolve their own self-concepts within the peer context. In their attempts to become more independent adolescents often rely on their peer group for direction regarding what is normal and accepted. They begin to pull away from reliance on their family as a source of identity and may encounter conflicts between their family and their growing peer-group affiliation. With so many intense experiences, adolescence is also an important time in emotional development. Mood swings are a characteristic of adolescence. While often attributed to hormones, mood swings can also be understood as a logical reaction to the social, physical, and cognitive changes facing adolescents, and there is often a struggle with issues of self-esteem. As individuals search for identity, they confront the challenge of matching who they want to become with what is socially desirable. In this context, adolescents often exhibit bizarre and/or contradictory behaviors. The search for identity, the concern adolescents have about whether they are normal, and variable moods and low self-esteem all work together to produce wildly fluctuating behavior. The impact of the media and societal expectations on adolescent development has been farreaching. Young people are bombarded by images of violence, sex,

and unattainable standards of beauty. This exposure, combined with the social, emotional, and physical changes facing adolescents, has contributed to an increase in school violence, teen sexuality, and eating disorders. The onset of many psychological disorders, such as depression, other mood disorders, and schizophrenia, is also common at this time of life. Implications for in-school learning. The implications of development during this period for education are numerous. Teachers must be aware of the shifts in cognitive development that are occurring and provide appropriate learning opportunities to support individual students and facilitate growth. Teachers must also be aware of the challenges facing their students in order to identify and help to correct problems if they arise. Teachers often play an important role in identifying behaviors that could become problematic, and they can be mentors to students in need. Conclusion The definitions of the three stages of development are based on both research and cultural influences. Implications for schooling are drawn from what is known about how children develop, but it should be emphasized that growth is influenced by context, and schooling is a primary context of childhood. Just as educators and others should be aware of the ways in which a five-year-old's reasoning is different from a fifteen-yearold's, it is also important to be aware that the structure and expectations of schooling influence the ways in which children grow and lear

Social and Emotional Development

Emotion and behavior are based on the child's developmental stage and temperament. Every child has an individual temperament, or mood. Some children may be cheerful and adaptable and easily develop regular routines of sleeping, waking, eating, and other daily activities. These children tend to respond positively to new situations. Other children are not very adaptable and may have great irregularities in their routine. These children tend to respond negatively to new situations. Still other children are in between.

At about 9 months of age, infants normally become more anxious about being separated from their parents. Separations at bedtime and at places like child care centers may be difficult and can be marked by temper tantrums. This behavior can last for many months. For many older children, a special blanket or stuffed animal serves at this time as a transitional object that acts as a symbol for the absent parent. At 2 to 3 years of age, children begin to test their limits and do what they have been forbidden to do, simply to see what will happen. The frequent "nos" that children hear from parents reflect the struggle for independence at this age. Although distressing to parents and children, tantrums are normal because they help children express their frustration during a time when they cannot verbalize their feelings well. Parents can help decrease the number of tantrums by not letting their children become overtired or unduly frustrated and by knowing their children's behavior patterns and avoiding situations that are likely to induce tantrums. Rarely, temper tantrums need to be evaluated by a doctor (see Behavioral and Developmental Problems in Young Children: Temper Tantrums). Some young children have particular difficulty controlling their impulses and need their parents to set stricter limits around which there can be some safety and regularity in their world. At age 18 months to 2 years, children typically begin to establish gender identity (seeSexuality: Gender Identity). During the preschool years, children also acquire a notion of gender role, of what boys and girls typically do. Exploration of the genitals is expected at this age and signals that children are beginning to make a connection between gender and body image. Between 2 and 3 years of age, children begin to play more interactively with other children. Although they may still be possessive about toys, they may begin to share and even take turns in play. Asserting ownership of toys by saying, "That is mine!" helps establish the sense of self. Although children at this age strive for independence, they still need their parents nearby for security and support. For example, they may walk away from their parents when they feel curious only to later hide behind their parents when they are fearful. At 3 to 5 years of age, many children become interested in fantasy play and imaginary friends. Fantasy play allows children to safely act out different roles and strong feelings in acceptable ways. Fantasy play also helps children grow socially. They learn to resolve conflicts with parents or other children in ways that help them vent frustrations and maintain self-esteem. Also at this time, typical childhood fears like that of "the monster in the closet" emerge. These fears are normal.

At 7 to 12 years of age, children work through numerous issues: self-concept, the foundation for which is laid by competency in the classroom; relationships with peers, which are determined by the ability to socialize and fit in well; and family relationships, which are determined in part by the approval children gain from parents and siblings. Although many children seem to place a high value on the peer group, they still look primarily to parents for support and guidance. Siblings can serve as role models and as valuable supports and critics in what can and cannot be done. This period of time is very active for children, who engage in many activities and are eager to explore new activities. At this age, children are eager learners and often respond well to advice about safety, healthy lifestyles, and avoidance of high-risk behaviors. Physical Development

Physical growth begins to slow at around age 1. As growth slows, children need fewer calories and parents may notice a decrease in appetite. Twoyear-old children can have very erratic eating habits that sometimes make parents anxious. It seems as though some children eat virtually nothing yet continue to grow and thrive. Actually, they eat little one day and then make up for it by eating everything in sight the next day. Children who are beginning to walk have an endearing physique, with the belly sticking forward and the back curved. They may also appear to be quite bow-legged. By 3 years of age, muscle tone increases and the proportion of body fat decreases, so the body begins to look leaner and more muscular. Most children are physically able to control their bowels and bladder at this time. During the preschool and school years, growth in height and weight is steady. The next major growth spurt occurs in early adolescence. During the years of steady growth, most children follow a predictable pattern. Doctors report how the children are growing in relation to other children their age and monitor the children's weight gain compared to their height. Some children can become obese at an early age. Doubling the child's height at age 24 months fairly accurately predicts adult height. Birth 2 Years Infants are exploring their world through sucking, grasping, gazing, etc Need consistency and will develop trust if they can rely on their parents Aware that objects exist even when out of sight (object permanence)

Example: when a toy is placed under a blanket, child knows that the toy is still there Child mirrors another persons behavior after it has occurred (deferred imitation) 2 7 Years Can move around and explore the world, giving him/her more independence (autonomy) The control the child has can give him/her self-esteem Becomes curious about people, models adults, and becomes aware of gender differences Takes on new responsibilities and learns new skills Thinking is based on how the child sees the world; children believe that everyone thinks like they do (egocentrism) Begins to play by pretending an object is something else (symbolic play) Example: a block can be used as a telephone Focuses on one part of an object at a time (centration) 7 11/12 Years Begins school and wishes to succeed Learns important skills and gains status among classmates Thought becomes more organized Can understand that something can have the same properties, even if it looks differently (conservation) Example: an equal amount of water is poured into a tall, skinny glass and a short, wide glass. The glasses look very different, but they still hold the same amount of water. Can reverse the steps he/she has taken (reversibility) Example: 5 + 2 = 7 and 7 2 = 5 Can sort dissimilar objects into groups that make sense (classification) Can put items in a particular order (seriation) Example: arranges toys according to height 11/12 19 Years Concerned with appearance Development of a personal identity Thinks about the future (goals, occupation, a partner, etc.) Capable of identifying a problem, coming up with several suggestions, and testing them Uses planning to think ahead The adolescent can put together all the possible outcomes before beginning the problem (abstract thinking) Age Physical development (gross and fine motor) Birth to 4 weeks Lies on back with head to one side Head lags when pulled up to sit

Primitive reflexes, i.e. rooting, sucking, stepping, grasping 1 month Head control still unsteady Hands in tight fists Grasps objects when they touch the palm of the hand Head and eyes move together 3 months Kicks legs and waves arms Can lift head and turn when on front Watches movements of own hands, plays with own hands Holds rattle for a few seconds if placed in hand 4 months Uses arms for support when lying on stomach Turns from back to side Holds on to and shakes small items 6 months Sits with support Rolls over Pushes head, neck and chest off floor with arms when on front Uses whole hand in palmar grasp, passes toy from one hand to another 9 months Sits alone without support Reaches out for toys when sitting May crawl or shuffle Pokes at small item with index finger Uses index and middle fingers with thumb in pincer grip to pick up small items Will take and hold a small brick in each hand Lifts block but can only release by dropping 1 year Stands alone and starts to walk holding on (cruising) Mobile through crawling or shuffling Enjoys self-feeding and holds cup with help Picks up anything tiny from the floor using neat pincer grip Starting to show hand preference Clicks two cubes together Puts cubes in box when shown 18 months Can walk alone Pushes and pulls toys when walking Can walk downstairs with hand held Tries to kick a ball, rolls and throws ball Squats to pick up objects from the floor Assists with dressing and undressing Can use a spoon Uses a delicate pincer grasp for tiny objects Holds a crayon in primitive tripod grasp and scribbles Turns handles Pulls off shoes continued 10 BTEC First Childrens Care, Learning and Development Age Physical development (gross and fine motor) 2 years Walks up and down stairs with both feet on one step. Climbs on furniture Builds a tower of six bricks Uses a spoon for self-feeding Puts shoes on

Draws circles and dots Starts to use preferred hand 3 years Stands and walks on tiptoe Can kick a ball confidently Jumps from low steps Pedals a tricycle Turns single pages in a book Can draw a face Builds bridges with blocks when shown Undoes buttons Threads large beads 4 years Can aim and throw and catch a large ball Walks backwards and on a line Runs and hops Builds a large tower Can brush own teeth Cuts round an object with scissors and copies a square Buttons and unbuttons clothes Can do a 12-piece jigsaw 5 years Skips Runs quickly Easily dresses and undresses Hits a ball with a bat Draws a person with a head, body and legs, and a house Can do a 20-piece jigsaw Forms letters and writes own name Accurately uses scissors 67 years Enjoys hopping, bike riding, roller blading and skating Balances on a wall or beam Has finer manipulation of building bricks, jigsaws, etc Can sew simple stitches Ties and unties laces Builds intricate models Controls pencil in a small area and does detailed drawing 812 years Improves physical skills that have already developed Puberty starts around 10 for girls with a growth spurt and increase in body strength 1316 years Brains developing with increase in reaction times and co-ordination For girls puberty is complete at about 14 and periods start For boys puberty is 1316 and they will be stronger than girls Social and emotional development Birth to 4 weeks Responds positively to main carer Imitates facial expressions Stares at bright shiny objects 1 month Gazes intently at carers Social smile at carers (by 6 weeks) 4 months Smiles, engages and vocalises with carers

6 months Starts to show interest in other babies, smiles Becomes more interested in social interaction, depending on amount of time spent with other children and his or her personality Shows fear of strangers and distress at separation from carer Interacts differently with various family members Uses comfort object, for example a blanket Seeks attention 9 months Very interested in all around Recognises familiar and unfamiliar faces Shows stranger anxiety 1 year More demanding and assertive, emotionally volatile Temper tantrums may start Unhappy at changes in routine Expresses rage at being told no Distinguishes between self and others, but still egocentric only concerned with his or her own view of the world Shows definite emotions and is aware of the emotions of others Will play alone Starting to develop object permanence 18 months Shows stranger shyness Dislikes changes in routine Starts toilet training Starts to have tantrums when upset Has separate sense of self egocentric Little idea of sharing and strong sense of mine Moral development An important part of social development is moral development. Children observe other children and adults behaviour, gradually developing a sense of right and wrong. Reinforcement is important in moral development where certain behaviours are promoted as being right or wrong aggression is a good example of this. Pro-social behaviour An advanced stage of a childs moral development is when he or she is capable of pro-social behaviour. This refers to an act that helps or benefits others but may have some penalty to the person doing it. An extreme example of pro-social behaviour is someone rescuing a person from a burning house and suffering burns as a result. A more routine example might be a child giving their pocket money to a charitable cause instead of buying the toy they had been saving for. Can you think of other more everyday examples?

Social and emotional development 2 years Enjoys other childrens company but reluctant to share toys May show concern when another child is upset Engages in parallel play (alongside others) Remains egocentric Becoming emotionally stable, but still prone to mood swings Learning to separate from carer for short periods, for example while at nursery Knows own identity 3 years Greater social awareness Will play in twos or threes, sharing ideas May have close friends A lot of mixed play of the sexes Stable and emotionally secure Friendly to other children Increasing in independence, but still needs support from adults Fears loss of carers Strong sense of gender identity Less anxious about separation Plays alongside others 4 years Enjoys co-operative and dramatic play Understands co-operation and competition Responds to reasoning Can take turns Enjoys independence but still needs comfort and reassurance 5 years Becomes engrossed in activities Develops fears of ghosts, things under the bed Concerned about being disliked Good sense of self awareness developed 67 years Able to form firm friendships Very supportive of each other, playing complex games Plays in separate sex groups Fairly independent and confident Increasing sense of morality (right and wrong) 812 years Friendships become very important mostly same sex Concern at thoughts of others about them Often unsure about changes in settings 1316 years Body changes can upset self esteem Need to resolve changes into adulthood Some are more assured about changes in settings Wants to spend more time with friends than family Peer pressure a significant influence Infancy and Toddler (Birth to 3 Years) Physical Development (Birth - 1 year) - The development of control and mastery over one's own body in

both gross and fine motor skills is the infant's primary physical task, culminating toward the end of the first year in walking. (Age 1-2 years) - The infant perfects the gross and fine motor skills that emerged during the first year by developing balance, coordination, stability, and an improved ability to manipulate objects. (Age 2-3 years) - The child develops increased strength and uses motor skills to master challenges in the environment, such as bicycles, stairs, balls, playground equipment, eating utensils, crayons, and other objects. The child is developmentally ready to master toilet training. Cognitive Development (Birth - 1 year) - Cognition begins with alertness, awareness, recognition, and interest in visual, auditory, and tactile (touch) stimuli. As motor development improves, the infant begins to explore and manipulate objects and develops a rudimentary understanding of their properties. Infants develop object permanence toward the end of the first year. (Age 1-2 years) - The emergence of symbolic thought is central to cognitive development. This results in the ability to understand and produce language. (Age 2-3 years) - Perfection of language skills and the use of language to communicate with others is the principle cognitive task. Social Development (Birth - 1 year) - The most important social task is the development of attachment to the primary caretaker, most often the child's mother. (Age 1-2 years) - The child develops affectionate and trusting relationships with other family members and with adults outside the family. The child can also be engaged in simple games and play. (Age 2-3 years) - The child develops rudimentary relationships with other children, which are usually characterized by "parallel play," that is play in the presence of, rather than in interaction with, other children. Children also begin to imitate social roles at this time. Toilet training represents a significant internalization of social rules and expectations. PA Child Welfare Competency-Based Training and Certification Program 911-4: Foster Parenting and Child Development