Child Growth and Development

Topics: Jean Piaget, Child development, Developmental psychology Pages: 12 (4154 words) Published: August 6, 2013
Growth and Development

As far as human beings are concerned life starts with conception in the mother’s womb as a result of a process of fertilization in the ovum. The mother’s womb becomes a means of growth and development of a new life and only after nine months the baby comes into this world as a new born. The period spent in the mother’s womb is termed as pre-natal. The process of growth and development are the medium and means of bringing about changes in the organisms.

Growth and development are two very important terms which are used most of the times interchangeably and are regarded as synonyms. They refer to the changes produced by the interaction of one’s genetic and environmental factors as well as to the changes in physical, mental, social, emotional and moral aspects involving ones individuality.

Growth can be defined as an increase in size, length, height and weight or the changes in quantitative aspects of an organism. The body and its several parts become larger, heavier and longer as the child is growing but it could be possible in some cases that the body is not able to keep up with the pace of the child’s size and movement and we may think that the child is clumsy. We then say that the child has grown but not developed. Development refers to the working and the functioning of the organism and the individual. Growth can be measured but development can only be observed.

Development describes the growth of humans throughout the lifespan, from conception to death. The scientific study of human development seeks to understand and explain how and why people change throughout life. This includes all aspects of human growth, including physical, emotional, intellectual, social, perceptual, and personality development.

(1) The term growth is used in purely-physical sense generally refers to an increase in size, length, height and weight. Changes in the quantative aspects come into the domain of growth.
(2) Growth is one of the parts of development process. In strict sense development in its quantative aspect is termed as growth.

(3) Growth may be referred to describe the changes which take place in particular aspect of the body and behavior of an organism.

(4) Growth does not continue throughout life. It stops when maturity has been attained.

(5) The changes produced by growth are the subject of measurement. They may be quantified and are observable in nature.

(6) Growth may or may not bring development. A child may grow (in terms in weight) by becoming fat but this growth may not bring any functional improvement (qualitative change) or development.


(1) Development implies overall changes in shape, form or structure resulting in improved working or functioning. It indicates the changes in the quality or character than in quantitative aspects.

(2) Development is a wider and more comprehensive term. It refers to overall changes in the individual. Growth is one of its parts.

(3) Development describes the changes in the organism as a whole and does not list the changes in parts.

(4) Development is a continuous process. It goes from womb to tomb. It does not end with the attainment of maturity. The changes however small they may continue throughout the life span of an individual.

(5) Development implies improvement in functioning and behavior and hence brings qualitative changes which are difficult to be measured directly. They are assessed through keen observation in behavioral situations.

(6) Development is also possible without growth as we see in the cases of some children that they do not gain in terms of height, weight or size but they do experience functional improvement or development in physical social, emotional or intellectual aspects.


Stages of Child Development
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