What is child development? Why study child development?
Child development involves the scientific study of changes in the child’s biological, social, cognitive and emotional behaviour across the span of childhood. Every child's development is unique and complex. Although children develop through a generally predictable sequence of steps and milestones, they may not proceed through these steps in the same way or at the same time.
Psychologists and development researchers have proposed a number of different theories to explain the process of child development. Some focus on the developmental milestones, or specific achievements, children reach by a certain age and others on specific aspects of child development such as personality, cognition, and moral growth. The areas that will be discussed in this essay are physical development, cognitive development, language development and social and emotional development.
“Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes through his movements.”- Dr. Maria Montessori (http://www.dailymontessori.com/maria-montessoriquotes/) Physical development pertains to the body such as development of the nerves, muscles, tissues, organs, bones, hand-eye coordination etc. These developments occur at a faster rate in the initial years and later slow down. Physical development in children follows a directional pattern. Development goes from top to bottom hence babies learn to hold their heads up before they begin to crawl. The centre of the body develops before the outer region and so muscles located at the core of the body develop and become stronger than the hands and feet. Large muscles develop before small muscles for e.g. the muscles of the hands and feet develop before that of the fingers and toes which is why children learn to walk before they do to write. Physical development can be divided into two, growth and appearance, motor development.
Growth and Appearance: Infants tend to grow...
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