Cache Level 3 Supporting teaching and learning in schools
Summarise child development from 0-2, 3-5, 5-8 years
It has been observed that the majority of children display common changes in a number of different ways from birth through to adulthood. This process is known as development and is described by Berk (2005 – mcdl reference material) as the process of learning new skills and abilities and acquiring emotional maturity. There are 5 key areas of development that are outlined and sourced by many childcare institutions that are based on studies by American Psychologist Arnold Gesell (in Harper and Row 1977). The areas are: physical, intellectual, language, emotional and social. The developmental milestones between ages 0-2, 3-5 and 5-8 years will now be outlined. From Birth to 2 years, a baby grows, gains weight and develops mobility rapidly, learning to roll, crawl, stand and walk in succession. Jean Piaget (in Smith et al, 1998) describes this phase as the sensori-motor stage when babies use their senses to explore and create mental representations of their environments known as schemas which provide links through memory between different experiences, grouping representations together. For instance grabbing and sucking objects adds to their ‘sucking’ schema or group of thoughts. They also learn to recognise the faces of their main carers early on. Babies and children of this age enjoy stimulation from carers and brightly coloured objects. They learn through imitation and often reflect the mood being expressed around them, for instance laughing in response to laughter. By 2 years of age they also begin to enjoy fantasy games as their memory develops. Language develops gradually by physical imitation and association, beginning simple sounds and vowels, building up to simple words and by age 2 are thought to use a vocabulary of around 50 words. Emotionally and socially babies form attachments to their main carers from birth when they are initially very trusting but gradually become less so at around 6-9 months upwards which varies from child to child. By 2 years a child’s sense of identity and their memory capability increases, as well being able to play more independently and discover things for themselves.
From 3-5 years of age children are becoming increasingly confident physically, learning to balance, skilfully manipulate objects such a ball and improving their fine motor skills so that they may enjoy drawing colouring and imitating writing. Their language ability has increased, speaking in full, sentences, asking many curious questions although they may get frustrated at not being able to fully express their thoughts and needs through language resulting in ‘temper tantrums’. At this age, children become more aware of their emotions and increase their understanding of other’s emotions which is necessary for the development of friendships, requiring empathy and sharing that also establish around this time. By 5 years old many children will have started attending nursery or reception classes at primary school, are being taught literacy and numeracy and can usually understand and write simple words such as their name.
Between ages of 6-8 years old children are becoming more physically confident, agile and more willing to try new things. A child developing normally will be able to read and write independently and use a wide vocabulary to accurately describe and express their thoughts and feelings. They also will have a number of friends who they may quarrel with as they become more competitive and develop their sense of identity. There are many psychologist who have constructed theories about how and why children develop in the way they do and various theorists have found that development is affected by many social, economic and environmental factors which may extend to a period before birth which will now be discussed.
References: Chamberlain, et al (2010) tellus4national support. www.NSPCC.org.uk
Lindon. (2010) Understanding Child Development, linking theory and practice, 2nd edition, Hodder Education, London.
McGhee, (2008) www.resolution.org.uk
Radford et al, (2011) ‘Child abuse and neglect in the UK today’ www.NSPCC.org.uk
Smith.P.K., Cowie.H., Blades.M. Understanding Children’s development (1998) third edition, Blackwell , Oxford
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