Children develop at their own speed
Children develop at their own speed, but will usually follow an expected pattern. It is important to understand the expected pattern of child development, because it helps practitioners recognize any delay in child’s development and then provide additional support.
There are seven areas of learning and development that must form educational programs in yearly year’s settings. All areas of development are important and inter-connected. Three prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children enthusiasm for learning and building their ability to learn, form relationships and succeed.
Physical Development involves providing opportunities for children to be active and interactive; develop their movements, control and coordination. Children need to know the importance of healthy diet, physical exercises, manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. Independence is also gained through Physical Development.
Individual children develop at different rates. For example, according to an expected stage of physical development we can see that babies from birth to 12 months begin lift and turn their head, begin to sit up at around 6 month. So, a baby must have head control before they sit unsupported. Some children begin to crawl between 7 and 10 month, but some not until they reach 12 months old, and some children never crawl, they progress walking. Between the age of 12 and 18 months, most children will begin to stand unaided and then walk. 2-3 years old children have limited awareness of danger; they develop and refined their gross motor skills as they able to run, climb and to use pedal tricycle. Children age 3-5 years are gaining more control of their fine manipulative skills, their gross motor skills are refining. It is very important to provide opportunities to ride a tree-wheels bike and opportunities for outdoor physical activity, such as walks in the park, ball games or visiting playgrounds. Children are developing their coordination: hand-eye and foot-eye coordination at the age 5-7 years; their fine manipulative skills are refining and they have more control over mark making and handwriting.
Communication and Language Development involves giving children opportunities develop their confidence skills in expressing themselves, to experience a rich language environment, and to speak and listen in different situations. Communication development includes reading and writing, verbal communication – speech, and non-verbal communication – gestures and body language. For example, newborn babies communicate through their cry, but they will begin to make sounds and smile around 5-6 weeks. Age 6-12 months, babies babble when they play or lift their arms asking to pick them up. 12-18 months old children, as they get older, start to use simple words and continue to use non-verbal communication by pointing to objects. At 2-3 years age, vocabulary is developing and children may have around 200 words, by 2 and half years, children may string two-word sentence, some of children can start to string simple sentences together.3-5 years old children enjoy using speech to communicate, they start asking questions, their speech will now be recognisable to most adults. Children 5-7 years old are very sociable and use communication to make friendships, will listen to others and enjoy telling stories and jokes. From age of 7 years old, children will understand written communication, and from 9 years old, children’s communication becomes more grammatical.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development involves helping children to develop self-confidence and self-awareness; to form positive relationships with adults and children, playing cooperatively, taking turns, sharing ideas about how to organise their activity; and to manage feelings and behaviour, showing own feelings, talking about their own and other’s behaviour and its consequences, knowing that some behaviour is unacceptable.
For example, babies demonstrate close relationship with their main carer from birth to 6 months, they smile spontaneously. Babies of 6-12 months age enjoy playing and begin distinguish friends from strangers, but at around 9 months babies may experience separation anxiety and become significant interesting in other children at age 12-18 months. 2-3 years old children are more independent and start expressing their preferences, temper tantrums is common at this age. Children 3-5 years old begin to engage co-operative play, they will join in and play with other children, understand adult phrase and recognition for positive behaviour. Most 5-7 years old children will have close relationship groups, they are very independent, but still depend on their parents to meet their emotional needs. Pre-teenager, 7-12 years old is starting to know own mind. They are concentrating longer, are able to motivate themselves to reach short period goals. Pre-teenagers start aware of their bodies and seek privacy. Some may become shy or blush. 12-19 years are not stable emotionally, moving between childish needs and adults desires. Teenagers gradually detach themselves from their parents, but they still have lack clearly defines roles in society. Adolescence is when the feeling of insecurity, anger and frustration begin.
Looking at child development practitioners need to be focussed on Cognitive Development and Moral Development.
Cognitive Development – is child’s intellectual development, the way in which the brain process information, it includes memory, problem solving and imagination.
As example, babies from birth to 6 months recognise smells and sounds of their mother, but at age of 6 to 12 months will explore the world around them by manipulating objects with their hands and mouthing them. Babies at age 12-18 months are more aware of their routine for the day; are able to play with more complex toys as posting objects.2-3 years old children enjoy playing with bricks, complete simple jigsaws, begin to engage with imaginative play as making tea or caring for babies. 3-5 years old children enjoy activities as painting, looking at books, drawing; more imaginative play.
Moral Development is strongly linked to Personal, Social and Emotional Development and covers the choices and decisions that children make; how children react and behave towards other people.
The moral development is not applicable for children till they get 2 – 5 years old, as they become more capable of following some rules and enjoy adult approval for demonstrating positive behaviour. Children of 5-7 years old begin to understand rules and boundaries as they begin to enjoy different games and rules. Children 7-9 years age enjoy being given responsibility and respond well when they know what is expected of them.9-11 years old children are beginning to think about the feeling of others and become more aware of the consequences of their actions. Children 11-13 years old have a good understanding of the importance and need for rules. Young people 12-19 years old have very good understanding of what is right and what is wrong. They become less concerned about adult approval and turn instead to their friends.
There may be reasons a child is not meeting development stages, they may have a
physical disability or a learning disability.
Summary, all areas of children’s development are inter-related and influence each other. A child can develop averagely physically, but his communication and social skills are slower. Child’s ability to learn information is influenced by his ability to interact appropriately with others. The development charts giving ages of certain development skills should be used as guidance. Children development should be assessed as a whole and individually. A child should be regarded as a whole person with each aspect of development joining together to contribute to that whole.