Child Development 0 - 16
Human development begins at conception and continues right through to adolescence after which the young adult emerges.
In order to inform best practice when working with children it’s important to understand the development of children and young people and some key concepts that affect it.
Areas of Development
Children’s development is often thought of in four areas:
Physical – This concerns the development of motor functions
Cognitive – This is the development of a child’s ability to perceive and understand the world around them. It includes skills involved in memory, abstract thought, learning and understanding
Social and Emotional – Social and emotional development centers around the child’s perception of their own identity and their place in society. It concerns their relationships and attachments, self-image, gender and psychosexual development and ideas around morality
Communication – The child acquires skills in language and non-verbal communication
Again, these areas of development are linked. The child’s cognitive ability will affect his acquisition of language skills. His ability to communicate will influence his social interaction, which in turn will affect his moral development.
Each development follows on from the last and a deficiency in one area may lead to problems arising in the child’s development across a wide range of skills.
Rate of Development
It is important to realise that although development occurs in a common order, the rates at which a child develops can vary. This can influence the approach that must be taken when working with children as we must take into account each individual’s stage of development and adapt our approach accordingly.
The rate of development is influenced by many factors both genetic and environmental. For example, a baby will commonly begin to smile socially at around 6 weeks old.