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Concept of Child Development
Basic Principles of Development
Dr. Mary Wong Siew Lian
Stages of Development
Jabatan PIPK
Basic Issues Concerning
Application in Primary School

Child development is an area of study Researchers who study child
devoted to understanding constancy development have one aim in common:
and change from conception through to to describe and identify those factors
adolescence that influence the consistencies and
changes in young people from
Child development is a part of a larger, conception to adolescence
interdisciplinary field known as
developmental science, which includes
all changes we experience throughout
the lifespan

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT Differences between Growth & Development

Growth refers to quantitative changes Many changes during development are

such as change in body weight and simply matters of growth and maturation
Maturation refers to changes that occur
naturally and spontaneously and that are to
Development refers to qualitative a large extent genetically programmed
changes which cannot be measured
quantitatively although it is obvious Such changes emerge over time and are
that change has taken place due to the relatively unaffected by environment,
emergence of characteristics that were except in cases of malnutrition or severe
previously absent illness; much of physical development falls
under this category

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Other changes are brought about through
Quantitative in nature Qualitative in nature
learning, as individuals interact with their
environment Physical size, weight Physical increase in psychomotor
number of teeth skills use of limbs fine motor skills
and gross motor skills such as
Such changes make up a large part of a crawling, running, jumping
persons social development Intellectual changes in Intellectual - development in skills such
ability to think about many as language, numbers, thinking,
However, development of thinking and things understanding concepts, memory
personality is influenced by both maturation Social start to interact with Social aware of differences in males
and interaction with the environment people outside the family and females, gender roles, group
circle friends, teachers discipline, adapting to peers
Actually, how much emphasis is placed on Emotional growth in Emotional Able to control emotions
maturation and how much on interaction emotions of such as love, control anger, jealousy, love
anger, likes, dislikes,
with the environment remains a controversy

Definition of Growth and Development

Human development can be divided into a
number of different domains of development:
Crow dan Crow (1980) development refers physical, emotional, social, and cognitive
to quantitative changes that lead to
improvement in the intellectual, spiritual, Physical development deals with changes in the
moral and social aspects body
Emotional development awareness and control
Karl E. Garrison (1944) development is the of feelings and how to react to these feelings in a
result of interactions between physical given situation
development and learning Social development changes in the way an
individual relates to others
Cognitive development changes in thinking

These four domains are not distinct; they

When babies think and act more
combine in an integrated, holistic fashion to
competently, adults stimulate them more
yield the living, growing child
with games, language, and expressions of
delight at their new achievements
The domains influence one another

This raises their self-confidence and causes

For example, new motor capacities such as
them to learn more things (____________)
reaching out, sitting, crawling, and walking
(_________), contribute greatly to the
infants understanding of their
surroundings (__________)

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BASIC PRINCIPLES OF DEVELOPMENT Development is relatively orderly
People develop abilities in a logical order
People develop at different rates Infants learn to sit before they learn to stand
This is obvious in any classroom some and walk; they babble before they learn to
students are larger, some are smaller; some talk; see the world through their own eyes
reach puberty faster, others reach puberty before they begin to imagine how others
later see it

Some are better coordinated or more mature In school, students learn to understand
concrete things before they begin to
in their thinking and social relationships
understand abstract things
while others are much slower to mature in
these areas

Neurological development contributes

significantly to the acquisition of physical Proximodistal
skills in young children midline to extremities

Physical development proceeds in

cephalocaudal and proximodistal directions

Cephalocaudal development describes the

progression of body control from the head
to the lower parts of the body
(head to foot)
For example, an infant will achieve head,
upper trunk, and arm control before lower
trunk and leg control

Proximodistal development describes According to this principle, each change in

progress from the central portions of the the childs development should result in an
body (i.e., the spinal cord) to the distal or increasingly refined level of skill
peripheral parts (extremities) development
In this developmental progression, gross
motor skills and competencies precede fine
motor skills

This developmental progression continues

throughout early childhood, with upper
trunk control being achieved first, then arm
control, and finally finger control

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Development takes place gradually Development progresses in a step-by-step
Very rarely do changes take place overnight fashion
Increase in height and weight take place It is orderly, sequential, and proceeds from
gradually over a period of time the simple to the complex
A student learns to master a new skill Each achieved behavior forms the
gradually over a period of time foundation for more advanced behaviors
Periods of development include: prenatal,
infancy and toddlerhood, early childhood,
middle childhood, and adolescence

Development is characterized by increasing All development is interrelated

specificity of function (differentiation) as
well as integration of these specific Although it is convenient to discuss
functions into a larger response pattern development in terms of discrete
developmental areas, such as motor skills,
A good example of this principle is the development in other areas such as social-
infant startle reflex - when an infant is emotional or communication functions does
startled, his entire body tenses and his not cease, nor is it necessarily separate from
arms move out to the side; with age, this other areas
reflex becomes integrated into more
specific behavioral patterns such that a The student or child practitioner must
startled preschooler will tense only the recognize how different areas of
shoulder and neck muscles development are interrelated to understand
how a particular child develops

Development is influenced by heredity and


Although there has been much discussion by Prenatal (0-9 months)

experts in the field about which is more Infancy & toddlerhood
important, there is no doubt that they both
(birth-2 years)
play a role in a childs development
Early childhood (2-6 years)
A childs genetic inheritance (i.e., heredity) Middle childhood (7-12 years)
provides the basic foundation for many
physical and personality attributes, but the
Adolescence (13-19 years)
influences of social, cultural, and familial
variables (i.e., environment) also contribute
to development

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Period Age Changes Period Age Changes
Prenatal 0-9 A one-celled organism (zygote) is transformed into Middle 6-11 years With the start of school children learn about
months a human baby with remarkable capacities for childhood the wider world, acquire new skills and
adjusting to life in the surrounding world knowledge
Infancy & Birth Dramatic changes in the body and brain Hallmarks of this period are: improved athletic
toddler- 2 years Emergence of motor, perceptual, and intellectual abilities, participation in organized games,
hood capacities; the beginning of language, social ties more logical thought emerges, mastery of
In the second year of their life (toddlerhood), basic literacy skills, advances in self-
children learn to walk and become more understanding, morality, and friendship
Adolescence 11-18 years This is a transition to adulthood
Early 2-6 years The body becomes longer and leaner, motor skills Puberty leads to an adult-sized body and
childhood are refined, children become more self-controlled sexual maturity
and self-sufficient Thought becomes abstract and idealistic
Make-believe play blossoms, supporting Schooling is increasingly directed towards
psychological development; thought and language preparation for higher education and the
expands rapidly , a sense of morality becomes world of work
evident, and children build social ties


Is development continuous or
Is development continuous or
discontinuous? Continuous a process of gradually adding
more of the same types of skills that were
Does one course of development there to begin with
characterize all children, or are there many
possible courses? Discontinuous a process in which new
ways of understanding and responding to
Are genetic or environmental factors more
the world emerge at specific times; children
important in influencing development?
change rapidly as they step up to a new level
of development and then change very little
for a while

With each step, the child interprets and Does one course of development characterize
responds to the world in a qualitatively all children, or are there many possible
different way thinking, feeling, and courses?
behaving that characterizes specific periods
of development Children grow up in distinct and different
contexts; these unique combinations of
Stage theories of development (e.g., Piaget, personal and environmental circumstances
Erikson, Kohlberg, Havighurst) - children can result in different paths of change
undergo periods of rapid transformation as
they step from one stage to the next
A shy child who fears social encounters
Continuous development theorists argue that develops in very different contexts from those
change is gradual and ongoing and cannot be of a sociable age-mate who readily seeks out
delineated into stages other people

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Children in non-Western village societies Environmental immediate settings in the
encounter experiences in their families and home, child-care center, school, and
communities that differ sharply from those neighborhood, and circumstances such as
of children in Western cities community resources, societal values, norms
and priorities, cultural practices, and
Differences in development exist due to historical time period
personal and environmental differences
(factors that influence growth and

Personal heredity and biological makeup

APPLICATIONS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL What can teachers do to foster development

in children?
Middle childhood (6-11 years) what are
the changes that children of this age go Provide opportunities for children to learn
through? so that there is development in the various
areas social, cognitive, spiritual,
Learn about the wider world outside the emotional and physical
Acquire new skills and knowledge inside Guide them in acquiring new skills and
and outside the classroom
Advances in self-understanding, self-concept
Be aware that children come from different
Widening social circle backgrounds and cultures and therefore
Exposure to moral issues develop at different rates

Be aware that children have different

genetic makeup and therefore may also
development at different rates due to that
dont compare and expect them all to
perform in the same way

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