Unit 1 Understanding children’s development
At birth there have already been huge changes rom two tiny cells as theegg and sperm joined at conception to a complex new baby at birth.Then rom being a tiny helpless being at birth, by the age o 16 years thechild changes to a highly complex young person who has all the basicskills or lie, including talking, running, writing and the ability to thinkin abstract ways.Weight increases rom 3–4 kg at birth to an average o 65 kg or ayoung man.From a length at birth o about 35 cm, height changes to more than155 cm.From being a relatively immobile baby, the child is able to walk, run,skip and climb.From not being able to talk, the child becomes an ablecommunicator.From being ully dependent, the child learns to dress, eed and thinkor him or hersel.From wide arm movements and automatically grasping everythingthat is put into the hand, the child learns to pick up and use a pencildeveloping to pens, computers and other technical equipment.Growth and development are connected, but are very dierent. Growthis the very visible increase in size o a child. It can be seen in many ways,including weight gain, increase in height and increase in headcircumerence. Children grow very quickly; ask your parents i they havekept a record o your weight and height gain.
Principles o development
There are three basic principles o human development that apply toeveryone rom birth.
Development starts rom the head and works down thebody.
A new baby cannot hold up his or her head alone. Yet, within a ewmonths, the baby will be able to sit alone. This is because control o the spine and central nervous system develops rom the top o thehead down to the base o the spine. You can see this controldeveloping in a baby as he or she starts to hold the head withoutsupport. Similarly, a new-born baby waves his or her arms aroundvaguely, yet in nine months’ time will nd the tiniest crumb or pieceo Lego easy to pick up with the thumb and nger. This is becausethe nervous system also develops rom the spinal cord out to theextremities (hands and eet).
All development happens in the same order, but can occurat dierent rates.
A baby has to hold his or her head up, learn to sit with support, andthen without support, beore he or she can stand by holding on to