What is development - Educational Articles
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What is development

Concept of development is not easy to define.It is a complex one. Although developmental change runs parallel with chronological age, age itself cannot cause development. The basic mechanism or causes of developmental change are genetic factors and environmental factors. Genetic factors are responsible for cellular changes like overall growth, changes in proportion of body and brain parts, and the maturation of aspects of function such as vision and dietary needs. environmental factors affecting development may include both diet and disease exposure, as well as social, emotional, and cognitive experiences. However, examination of environmental factors also shows that young human begins can survive within a fairly broad range of environmental experiences.

Rather than acting as independent mechanisms, genetic and environmental factors often interact to cause developmental change. Concept of developmet is very significant. It has unique charracteristics,

  • It happens in a kind of systemic manner. Therefor development of all human beings happen in same systematic way.
  • Early development in life is more critical than the later development. Early development gives the foundation for life.
  • Although there is a common systematic way of development there are individual different in development.
  • There could be development hazards happening during development. Development changes not go very smoothly. People affected by lots of hazards.

Child development

Child development refers to the biological and psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the end of adolescence, as the individual progress from dependency to increasing autonomy.because these developmental changes may be strongly influenced by genetic factors and events during prenatal life, genetic and prenatal developments are usually included as part of the study of child development. Related terms include developmental psychology, referring to development throughout the lifespan and pediatrics, the branch of medicine relating to the care of children.There are various definitions of periods in a child’s development.we can take those as following,

  1. Newborn (ages 0-4 week)
  2. Infant(ages 4 weeks – 2 year)
  3. Early childhood(2-5 year)
  4. School aged child(6-13 years)
  5. Adolescent(14- 20 years)

Early  childhood

You are troubled at seeing him spend his early years doing nothing.

What! Is it nothing to be happy? Is it nothing to skip, to play,

to run about all day long?

Never in his life will he be so busy as now.

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau-

In early childhood, our greatest untold poem was being only 4 years old. We skipped and ran and played all the sun long, never in our lives so busy, busy being something we had not quite grasped yet. who knew our thoughts, which we worked up into small mythologies all our own? our thoughts and images and drawings took wings. The blossoms of our heart, no wind could touch. Our small world widened as we discovered new refuges and new people. When we said ” I ” we meant something totally unique, not to be confused with any other.”Early childhood” is usually defined as before the age of normal schooling – five years in most nations, though the U.S. National Association for the Education of Young Children defines “early childhood” as before the age of eight.

Child starts walking, moving muscles, move around the skeleton and the ordination of the body with that child need extra nutrition, other sources than mother’s milk. And the child is exploring the environment and he face many infection. Therefore child needs to build up immunity in the body. When we discussing about early childhood early childhood development is a very important thing. We can divided and discussed this in to three parts. They are,

  1. Physical development in early childhood
  2. Cognitive development in early childhood
  3. socio- emotional development in early childhood

All these three parts are very important.

Physical  development in early childhood

Body and growth

At some point around the first birthday, most infants have begun to walk. During the infant’s second year, the growth rate begins to slow down, but both gross and fine motor skills progress rapidly.the infant develops a sense of mastery through increased proficiency in walking and running. Improvement in fine motor skills- such as being able to turn the pages of a book at a one time-also contributes to infant’s sense of mastery in the second year. The growth rate continues to slow down in early childhood; otherwise we would be a species of giants.

Height and weight

The average child grows 2 1/2  inches in height and gains between 5 and 7 pounds a year during early childhood.as the preschool child grows older, the percentage of increase in height and weight decreases with each additional year.girls re slightly smaller and lighter than boys.Most preschool children are fascinated by bodies especially their own, but also the bodies of family members and friends children have lots of question about how their body works. How their brain works.

Growth patterns vary individually. If we think  a moment of our childhood years. This was probably the first time we noticed that some children were taller than us, some shorter, that some were fatter, some thinner; that some were stronger,some weaker. There are more variations. A review of the heights and weights of children around the world concluded that the two important contributors to height differences are ethnic origin and nutrition(Meredith, 1978)

The brain

One of the most important physical developments during early childhood is the continuing development of the brain and nervous system. While the brain continues to grow in early childhood, it does not grow rapidly as in infancy. By the time children have reached 3 years of age, the brain is three quarters of its adult size. By age 5, the brain has reached about nine-tenths its adult size.

The brain and the head grow more rapidly than any other part of the body. Some of the brains increase in size is due to the increase in the number and size of nerve endings within and between areas of the brain. These nerve endings continue to grow at least until adolescence.

consider a child who is learning to read and is asked by the teacher to read aloud to the class. Inputs from the child’s eye is transmitted to the child’s brain, then passed through many brain systems, which translate the patterns of black and white into codes for letters, words,and associations.the output occurs in the form of messages to the child’s lips and tongue.

Swiftly the brain becomes an enchanted loom, where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern always a meaningful patern- though never an abiding one

-Sir Charles Sherrington, 1996-

Visual perception

Visual maturity incrases during the early childhood years.only towards the end of early childhood are most children’s eye muscles adequately developed to allow them to move their eyes efficiently across a sereis of letters. And preschool children are often farsighted, not being able to see up closs as well as they can far away.

Depth perception contonues to mature during the preschool years, however because of young children’s lack of motor cordination,they may trip and spill drinks, fall from a jungle gym, or produce poor artwork.some children develop functional amblyopia, or “lazy eye”which usually results from not using one eye enough to avoid the discomfort of double vision produced by imbalanced eye muscles.

Motor development

Running as fast as we can, falling down, getting right back up running just as fast as we can………..building towers with blocks……scribbling,scribbling, ad more scribbling,..cutting paper with scissors your preschool years you probably developed the ability to perform all of these activities. Considerable progress is made in both gross and fine motor skills during early childhood.

Gross motor skills

The preschool child no longer has to make an effort simply to say upright and move around, as children move their legs with more confidence and carry themselves more purposfully, the process of moving around in the enviorenment becomes more automatic(poest & others, 1990)

At 3 years of age, children are still enjoying simple movements such as hopping, jumping, and running back and forth, just for the sheer delight of performing these activities. The run-and-jump will win no olympic gold medals, but for the 3- years old the activity is a source of considarable pride and accomplishment.

By 4 years of age, children are stillenjoying the same kind of activities, but they have becomes more adventures They still often revert to marking time on each step.By 5 years of age, children are even more adventure somr than when they were 4.it is important for preschool and kindergarten teachers to develop programs that encourage young children’s gross motor skills.

Fine motor skills

At 3 years of age, children are still emergimng from the infant ability to place and handle things. Three years olds can build suprisingly high block towers, each block being placed with intense concentration but often not in a completely straight line. When 3 years old play with a form board or a simple jigsaw puzzle, they are rather rough in placing this pieceseven when they recognize the hole a pieces fits into, they are not very precise in positioning the piee. They often try to force the piece in the hole or pat it viorously

At 4 years of age, children’s fine motor coordination has improved substantially and become much more precise.sometimes 4- years- old children have trouble building high towers with blocks because in their desire to place each of the blocks perfectly they may upset those already stacked.by age 5, children’d fine motor coordination has improved further.hand,arm, and ody all move together under better command of the eye.

37-48 months49-60 months61-72 months
Approximate circle cuts paper, pasts using pointer finger builds hree- block bridge, builds eight-block tower Draws 0 and + , Dresses and undresses doll Pours from pitcher without spillingStrings and laces shoelace, Cuts following line, Strings ten beads, Copies figure x, Opens and places clothespins (one handed) Builds a five-block bridge Pours from various containers Print first nameFolds paper into halves and quarters, Traces around hand, Draws rectangle, circle,square,and triangle Cuts interior piece from paper Copies two short words
The development of fine motor skills in early childhood


Energy needs

Feeding and eating habits are important aspects of development during early childhood. What children eat affects their skeletal growth, body shape, and susceptability to disease. Recognizing that nutrition is important for the child’s growth and development.energy needs of individual children of the same age, sex, and size vary. Reasons for these differences remailn unexplained.difeerences in physical activity, basal metabolism, and the efficaency with which children use energy are among the candidates for explanation.

Eating behavior

Among the most important considerations for improving young children’s eating behavior are knowing about basic dadaily routings, understanding the implications of fat Nd sugar intake, and recognizing a number of problems in eating behavior that may appear throuh the course of devalopment.


Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development theory

We can discuss early childhood stage of development by using jean piaget’s cognitive development theory .first we will see who is this jean piaget.

Piaget’s background

Jean piaget(1896-1980) was actually not a psychologists at first; he dedicated his time to mollusc research in fact by the time he was 21 he’d already published twenty scientat he papers on them! He soon moved to paris, and got a job interviewing mental patients. During his time working at binet’s lab, he studied the way that children reosoned. After two years of working with children, piaget finally released what he wanted to investigate- children’s development!

He spent over 10 years perfecting his theory, and it is widely acknowledged as one of the most valuable developmental theories – especially of it’s time. It’s no lie that there are many new, possibly more valid theories now, but Piaget’s theory has had a lot of influence on schools, teaching and education all over the world.


cognitive development theory


Piaget’s theory is based on stages, whereby each stage represents a qualitatively different type of thinking. Children in stage one cannot think the same as children in stage 2, 3 or 4 etc. Transitions from one stage to another are generally very fast, and the stages always follow an invariant sequence. Another important characteristic of his stage theory is that they are universal; the stages will work for everyone in the world regardless of their differences (except their age, of course, which is what the stages are based on!)

Piaget acknowledged that there is an interaction between a child and the environment, and this is a focal point for his theory. He believed a child cannot learn unless they are constantly interacting with their environment, making mistakes and then learning from them. defined children as “lone scientists”; he did not identify any need for teachers or adults in cognitive development. Children have all the cognitive mechanisms to learn on their own, and the interaction with their environment allows them to do so. In jean Piaget’s theory there are four main stages of development.

  1. the Sensorimotor stage
  2. the preoperational stage
  3. the concrete operational stage
  4. the formal operational stage

sensorimotor stage

under this concept hope to discuss mainly what are the sensorimotor reactions of a infant.the first stage of Piaget’s theory lasts from birth to approximately age two and is centered on the infant trying to make sense of the world.information is received through all the senses. During this stage, an infant’s knowledge of the world is limited to their sensory perceptions and motor activities. Behaviors are limited to simple motor responses.children utilize skills and abilities they were born with, such as looking, sucking, grasping and listening to learn more about the environment.

There are 6 sub stages of this one stage.to begin, the child uses onle reflexes and innate behavior. Towards the end of this stage, the child uses a range of complex sensorimotor skills. The sub stages as follows,

Substage 1. The use of reflex (children becomes victims of the enviorenment)

Age range:  birth-1 month

Infants are born with inherited reflexes, and it is through the reflexes that the infant begins to make meaning and build understanding. Reflexes are highly stereotype automatic behaviors that occur in response to specific stimuli. reflexes include sucking and grasping, as well as eye movements, vocalization, and orientation to sound.

Substage 2. 2 primary circular reactions

Age range:1 month-4 months

Circular reactions are repetitive behaviors. Primary circular reactions are behaviors that occur unexepectedly from reflexes. A reflex will engage the child is some form of behavior. If the child finds that behavior pleasurable, the child will repeat the behavior.

 Sustage3. Secondary circular reactions

Age range:4 months-8months

Secondary reacions, unlike primary circular reactions, are not based on reflexes; therefore, secondary circular reactions are not contained within the body. However, similar to primary circular reactions, secondary circular reactions occur from an unintentional occurrence, but the occurrence involves the child interacting with the external environment.

Substge4.coordination of secondary circular reactions

Age range:8months-12months

Before this stage, everything occurred by chance. Now the child is starting to understand that one circular reaction can be used to get another circular reaction. Behaviors that the child displays are now for a reason. At this stage the child begins to gain a sense of cause and effect.

Substage5.teritary circular reactions

Age range:12 months-18months

At this stage, an action occurs deliberately. The child displays a behavior purposely and continues the action is because it is pleasurable.difference between this stage and previous stage is that the action is repeated with some variations.

 Sub seage6.Coordination of tertiary circular reactions

Age range:18 months-24 months.

It is the last stage that children internalize behaviors and begin to build mental symbols! This stage is when children are able to participate in pretend play.

pre-operational stage

Those are the sensori motor reactions in the infancy stage.now we will see how this changes will happens in the early childhood stage.the term these reactions develop further in to early childhood is called as “pre-perational stage” according to the cognitive theory of Jean Piaget

The preoperational stage ranges from ages two to seven children in this stage can mentally represent events and objects and engage in symbolic play. Their  thoughts and communications are typically egocentric.

Characteristics of the pre-operational stage:the pre-opeational stage occurs between ages two and six.language development is one of the points of the period. Piaget noted that children in this stage do not yet understand concrete logic,cannot mentally manipulate information and are unable to take the point of view of other people,which he termed ego centrism. Further more ego centrism refers to the child’s inability to see a situation from another’s point of view. According to Piaget, the egocentric child assumes that other people see, hear and feel exactly the same as the child does.perception of the world in relation to oneself only. Children struggle to perceive situations from another point of view or perspective, as shown by Piaget and inhelder’s three mountain task.

During the pre-operational stage,children also become increasingly adapt at using symbols,as evidence by the increase in playing and pretending for example, a child is able to use an object to represent something else, such as pretending a broom is a horses. Role playing also become important during the pre-operational stage. Children often play the roles of “mommy,”daddy,”doctor” and many others.

Another key feature which children display during this stage is animism. Animism is the belief that inanimate objects have human feelings and intentions. In this stage memory and imagination are developed as language use matures.

In this stage at 2-4 years of age, kids cannot yet manipulate and transform information in logical ways,but they now can think in images and symbols.about the ages 4 and 7.

children tend to become very curious and ask many questions;begin the use of primitive reasoning.

concrete operational stage

In this case we should understand  about the concrete concept also.according to Piaget’s cognitive development theory next stage is called as concrete operational stage.intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects.the child develops an ability to think abstractly and to make rational judgments about concrete or observable phenomena.this stage sees another shift in children’s cognitive thinking.it is apply named “concrete” because children struggle to apply concepts to anything which cannot physically be manipulated or seen nevertheless, the child continues to improve their conservation skills. And children begin to understand that other people actually have different views to themselves.however, as this stage is concrete, Piaget suggests children will struggle to apply any prior knowledge to abstract situations.important processes during this stage are;


Seriation—the ability to sort objects in an order according to size, shape, or any other characteristic. For example, if given different-shaded objects they may make a color gradient.

Transitivity- Transitivity, which refers to the ability to recognize relationships among various things in a serial order. For example, when told to put away his books according to height, the child recognizes that he starts with placing the tallest one on one end of the bookshelf and the shortest one ends up at the other end.

Classification—the ability to name and identify sets of objects according to appearance, size or other characteristic, including the idea that one set of objects can include another.

Dec-entering—where the child takes into account multiple aspects of a problem to solve it. For example, the child will no longer perceive an exceptionally wide but short cup to contain less than a normally wide, taller cup.

Reversibility—the child understands that numbers or objects can be changed, then returned to their original state. For example, during this stage, a child understands that a favorite ball that deflates is not gone but can be filled with air again and put back into play.

Conservation—understanding that quantity, length or number of items is unrelated to the arrangement or appearance of the object or items.

That is the concrete concept. There is another stage called as formal operational stage which is the final stage is known as formal operational stage. At this point, the person is capable of hypothetical and deductive reasoning.during  this time, people develop the ability to think about abstract concepts.

Early childhood

Early childhood is a figure of individuals who are undergoing a process of development with rapid and fundamental to the next life. It is range 0-8 year.during this process of growth and development in different aspects of going through a rapid development in the span of human life. Child development refers to the biological and psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and end of adolescence.

There are few stages in the child development.  Early childhood development is a one of them. in the early childhood development we can see main 3 types of development

  1. physical development
  2. cognitive development
  3. socio-emotional development

In here I ll hope to discuss about the early childhood development using jean Piaget theory of cognitive development.in this theory there are four stages,

  1. sensorimotor
  2. pre-operational
  3. concrete operational
  4. formal operational

All those concepts are discussed in this assignment.there are more concepts and you will able to get an idea about early childhood and those concept. And i give my heartiest thank all of the people who are helped me.


At the end of this assignment my opinion is early childhood stage is a very important stage within child development. A child should develop not only physically but also he or she should develop their cognitive and socio-emotional things. Physical development is the development in the child physically.a child’s cognitive development is about a child developing or constructing a mental model of the world.

In jean Piaget cognitive development theory he has explained how a child develop his mental process through the ages. This theory is concerned with children, rather than all learners. The goal of the theory is to explain the mechanism and process by which the infant and then the child, develops into an individual who can reason and think using hypotheses.cognitive development was a progressive recolonization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience. In sensorimotor stage children related to the senses. In pre-operational stage the main characteristic is ego centrism  is when one is over preoccupied with their own internal world.and then I have discussed further what happen from pre-operational stage to concrete operational stage.

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