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Child Development Principles and Theories

By qqadir123 Apr 26, 2015 749 Words
Welcome everyone and thank you for your time.

To look after and work with children it is important that we understand their development. Children develop in an individual way and at varying rates. There are various stages of development such as physical, cognitive, linguistic, spiritual, social and emotional. They all are equally important and all have an impact on each other.

I'm going to talk through and give you a brief description of some of the areas of development.

Physical development refers to the development of large muscles also known as gross motor and small muscles known as fine motor. Gross motor includes stability and a childs ability to control large muscles in the body especially the arms and legs. For example many of you have already seen and observed that by the time a child attends nursery they can catch, kick, throw and bounce a ball. They can also climb on climbing frames in the playgrounds which is showing us how children use their gross motor abilities. Fine motor includes using and coordinating small muscles in the hands and wrists. At nursery children can copy a building pattern or build a tower of ten or more cubes showing their ability in learning and developing their fine motor skills. During nursery years children gain strength, agility and coordination which give them the confidence to try new and challenging tasks.

In this poster you can see the ages at which children develop their gross and fine motor skills and how these skills are linked as a child develops.

Cognitive development is development of the mind it underpins all the other aspects of development as children start to explore and make sense of the world around them. It explores how children think, perceive, recognise, reason and understand the physical and social world. Although cognitive skills are learnt naturally the bulk of them are learned or effected by experience and by the childs emotional state at the time.

Language development is the development of communication skills which include receptive and expressive speech and articulation. For example nursery children show receptive speech when telling stories about things that happen to them and use expressive speech in explaining what happened. They may begin to recognise patterns in the way words are formed and apply these consistently, unaware that many of the words have irregular form for example “I walk” becomes “I walked” children may say “I runned” or “I goed” instead of “I ran” or “I went”

In this chart you can see the seven stages of communication and language development and at what age children acquire them.


Social emotional development involves the development of feelings. It includes the childs experience, expression and management of their emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others and their development of self esteem and self concept. Also socialisation is the process which a child goes through to learn these skills. In nursery children are encouraged to play with other children in order to learn how to share and take turns when playing.

In this poster you can see the timeline at which children develop emotionally and how certain factors effect their development.


Moral and spiritual development is an important part of a childs development. It consists of developing awareness and how to relate to others ethically, morally and humanely. Children learn to understand values such as honesty and respect and acquiring concepts such as right or wrong and how to take responsibility for their actions. So in nursery instead of giving a child time out for bad behaviour we work with children in understanding what they did was wrong and how to make it right i.e. Apologising. Hopefully the child will learn that bad behaviour is wrong and not to do it again.

Another thing I wanted to quickly touch on was the importance of play and how it is vital to a childs all around development. Play provides opportunities for children such as confidence, self esteem, problem solving and reading skills. Through play children also realise their potential and feel competent and understand the world around them.

In this wall poster you can see there are different types of play and how they benefit a childs development.


Finally I will leave you with this child development chart of the first five years of a child covering some of the development stages and at what age they happen.


Thank you for your time.

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