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Early Childhood

Fact Sheet

Physical Development
During the preschool years your child will grow tremendously. The body becomes longer and leaner. Large muscles develop before small muscles. Muscles in the body's core, legs and arms develop before those in the fingers and hands. Children learn how to perform gross (or large) motor skills such as walking before they learn to perform fine (or small) motor skills such as drawing. Children at the preschool age learn how to run, skip, hop, and much more. They also learn how to control these muscles. Large motor skills are generally mastered before fine motor skills. Both fine and gross motor skills need a lot of practice and parents must provide the opportunities. Development goes from the top down, from the head to the toes. This is why babies learn to hold their heads up before they learn how to crawl (Berk, 2013).

Language Development
Language development is crucial for this age group. Children are starting to sound out words and understanding phonetics. The child is in tune with the language and what sounds to listen for. Phonological development is largely complete by the age of five (Berk, 2013). Children start to express themselves during the preschool years. They feel that they have a voice and their friends will listen to what they have to say. Socialization is important for language development. Children are capable of expressing their feelings, and slowing their friends to get to know them. Language development becomes part of the childs daily lives.

Cognitive Development
During the preschool years children are retaining so much information on a daily basis. They are learning about size, shapes, numbers, classifications, comparison, and space (Charlesworth, 2011). Giving the preschool child the opportunities to exercise these concepts can be fun and entertaining. Watching children play with different color blocks and then divide them up by color is significant. Seeing a child separate playing cards of shapes and numbers is also a huge accomplishment. The child is recognizing the difference between the two categories and putting the cards into the right categories. Giving the children time to play with different objects, and teaching them the difference, will help them throughout life. Understanding that items are different is a great milestone. Imaginative play will also allow the child to take on the role of different characters; to act out what they have learned and assimilated.

Self Regulation
During early childhood self- regulation is enforced by mom, dad and the teacher. We want the children to understand the importance of self- regulation. When children enter grade school they are expected to line up before class. They are expected to raise their hand before being called on, Teachers do not want to hear the child blurt out the answer or say me, me, me. The expectations from the teacher are generally respected by the students.

Social/ Emotional Development

At this point in time, children are usually running around interacting with all their friends out on the playground. They understand the empathy and know when their friends are happy or sad. They will greet their friend know what to do to make them happy or to cheer them up. Empathy and sympathy are practiced on a daily basis with their friends. Children at this age love to tell you about their day and what they did during recess and lunch. Parent involvement is still important for the child. They want the love and comfort that you have given them for the past several years.

Atypical Development
During the preschool years, teachers may start to notice that a child has a speech delay or speech impediment. When children have speech delays, the parents need to take the child to the doctor. There could be a number of factors as to why the child has the speech delay. The child may be hard of hearing in one or both ears. The child may have a speech impediment that prohibits them to sound out the letters correctly. Early intervention is important for speech delay. The child could start going to speech classes which will teach the child how to pronounce the phonetics of the words properly.

Social and Culture Factors Other cultures require children to participate in daily duties at a young age. Many children that are at this age are out in the fields helping their parents and helping raise younger siblings. School may not be of importance to the family at this time because they need the help from the children. Children who are helping out their parents do take on a lot of responsibility. Socially the child is still developing because there are other children from different families helping. Not an ideal situation for these children, but I think they make the best out of the situation. Different cultures value education differently and this will affect the child. Influence
To influence the childs learning at the preschool level. I would suggest enrolling your child in a preschool. Exposing your child to routine, socialization and the preschool setting is important for the child. You want to expose the child to school, so they can start friendships, and create a bond with their peers. Taking your child to a preschool will influence them in all areas of development; socially, physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Preschool allows your child to

use their imagination and prepares the child for their academic success for many years to come. If the parents cannot afford preschool, or choose to keep their children at home; here are some suggestions that will help your childs development. First I would set up a schedule at home for the child. Devote a certain amount of time to academics for the child. You can accomplish this by asking your child open ended questions while out running errands, or while taking a walk through the neighborhood. Parents should talk to friends that do have their children in preschool to get an idea of what the children are learning, so they can prep their child. For the child to get socialization, set up play dates with friends so they the children can interact with their peers. Also going to the park and allowing the children to play with other children present is also good. They will build confidence in approaching peers and striking up a conversation. Have your child do art work at home. Set up an area in the house where the child can paint, use play dough, and most importantly use their imagination. Simple things at home will make a difference for the child.

References Berk, L. E. (2013).Child development. (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Charlesworth, R. (2011) Understanding Child Development Webster State University