All children develop but this is at different levels. In this section I am going to look at and discuss how four to five year olds develop physically and the language and communication development of four to five year olds. And then in the next section look at the same developments but for older children 8-16 years old. Physical development relates to physical movements. Becoming independent is closely linked to physical development. Communication and language development relates to the ability to talk, listen to and understand what others are saying and to be able to interpret body language including facial expressions. Also involved within this development is reading and writing skills. Communication and language development is closely linked with cognitive development. There are two main ways in which children develop physically (1) fine motor skills, these are the smaller movements that occur of the hands, wrists, fingers, toes etc. and (2) gross motor skills, these being the larger muscle movements for example running jumping etc. At age four to five children’s gross motor skills will include aiming, throwing, catching and kicking of a ball, hopping on one foot, walking a fine line, to be able to change direction when running, pedal and climb with confidence. Balancing and co-ordination skills by this age are developing very quickly, a five year old will be able to jump a rope, balance on one foot, maybe be able to ride a bike with no stabilizers, use his/her waist to bend, they will be able to touch their toes without bending their knees, speed and agility is developed, running becomes at a faster speed and they are able to respond quickly to obstacles when running. The fine motor skills that four to five year olds will develop are that they will be able to button and unbutton, string beads onto a piece of string, cut with scissors, build a block tower using at least ten blocks, being able to confidently put a twelve piece jigsaw together and hold a pencil/pen not using the clench fist grip. By five years old the child will be able to write more letters than they previously could, if taught to they will be able to write their own name, the pictures that a 4 to 5 year old draws should contain some recognisable objects, they will by this age of developed enough muscle control to cut more accurately and with precision, they will now be able to dress themselves and use a knife and fork correctly.
Self-expression and communication opens up as children begin to develop their language skills. Although as previously stated children do develop at different paces, most 4-5 year olds are beginning to use language in a much more sophisticated manner than previously and their understanding of language has increased dramatically. •
By the time a child reaches the age of 4 years old, the majority of them will be able to speak fluently enough to effectively hold short conversations with adults. By this age their speech will consist of full sentences of four or more words that are correctly strung together. Al though children at 4 may still make mistakes with grammar and struggle to use past tense correctly e.g. ‘I seed it’ instead of ‘I saw it’. At four children will have a large vocabulary including words such as colours, body parts, household items etc. The pronunciation of these words is generally correct at this age. By five, a child’s vocabulary will be increased from that of a 4 year old and will contain between 2000 and 5000 words, 5 year olds will use all these words when communicating and will recognise them also. At 5 years old the child will now have an understanding of jokes and riddles and may even begin to re tell jokes to other people. At this age if asked the child should be able to tell you basic information about themselves i.e. full name, their birthday etc. The sentence structure of a 5 year old will be more complex than that of a 4 year old, sentences used will be longer and with fewer grammatically errors....
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