The term growth means an increase in a measurable quantity such as an increase in size and weight. The term development means a gain of skills and abilities; this can happen over a long period of time. They usually happen in a specific order for example, from head to toe.
Typical development is when an individual meets milestones at the correct time.
Physical Development
Physical development relates to anything linked with muscle co-ordination.
In the first 3 months of a baby’s lifetime they start to develop a range of fine motor skills. Fine motor skills use small muscles that allow finer more deliberate movements. For example, a baby will start to use the rooting, sucking and grasp reflex. The rooting reflex occurs when a baby turns its head when you touch its cheek; the grasp reflex occurs when you place a finger in a babies palm and they grasp it tightly; the sucking reflex occurs when a baby tries to suck on their own hands or fingers. At this life stage babies may also experience some gross motor skills. Gross motor skills use the larger muscles in the body. The main gross motor skill that babies of this age accomplish is that they move their arms and legs randomly and sporadically. This sudden movement is the beginning of something called locomotion. Locomotion is the ability to move from one place to another. This is the start of locomotion because by moving their arms and legs they are setting themselves up to start crawling.
The next age range is 3-6 months. In these 3 months of a baby’s life they develop a lot of fine motor skills. They begin to play with their fingers and watch hands a lot. This could be because they are interested in how they move and what they can do. They also may hold a rattle using a grasp and also they will start to reach out for toys that they can see. They also move objects from one hand to the other and put objects in their mouth. By putting objects in their mouth it is a way of them exploring objects and their surroundings. The gross motor skills of babies during this age range have also significantly developed. They now have more control over their limbs and are able to wave their arms around, this also means that they are able to lift their arms up to indicate that they want to be lifted up. This shows that they have leant that if they do this they will get what they want. Another gross motor skill that babies in this age range are able to do is lift their head up and finally they are able to roll over.
By 9 months old babies are gaining a lot of strength. Their pincer grasp is now well developed. This is evident as they enjoy deliberately picking up an object and then dropping it. This shows that they have more control over their fine motor skill movements. They are also now able sit unaided showing that they have started to engage their core muscles and balance. In this age range some major gross motor skill milestones should be met such as starting to crawl. This shows that their locomotion has developed meaning that they are able to be more independent and start to move around unaided on their own terms.
At 12 months old babies have developed a lot physically. They are still gaining a lot of fine motor skills. For example, they will now start to use the pincer grasp to pick up small objects. The pincer grasp uses the thumb and index finger to grasp something. They will also start using their index finger to point to objects and build a tower using 3 blocks. They will start to scribble on paper, but will find it easier to use crayons as they are chunky. Finally, they will be able to hold a cup/ bottle with a handle. Gross motor skills have also improved as they will also be able to stand alone and cruise around furniture.
At 18 months a baby will develop more precise movements. This is because they are starting to learn how to accurately control their movements. They have developed their palmer grip and are now able to grasp a crayon. They have also started to use hand eye coordination as they are able to put shapes in a sorter. Hand eye coordination is the ability to use information taken through the eyes to organise movement through the hands. At 18 months most babies will take their first step which is a major gross motor skill. This enables them to become independent and competent in their locomotionskills. They also start to squat down instead of just sitting.
Between 2 and 2.5 half years toddlers begin to draw and try to copy circles and dots. They also start to feed themselves using a spoon which requires them to grasp the spoon and hold it up. They will also start to develop a preferred hand when writing and also start to use the tripod grasp. This is when you hold an object using the first two fingers and thumb. With gross motor skills they will start to run and climb on furniture. This shows that their muscles are becoming more refined and developed. They also begin to kick and throw a ball. This shows that their dynamic balance is developing well.
At 3 years toddlers are more developing their fine motor skills and perfecting them rather than learning new ones. For instance, they start to hold a crayon using a tripod grip and they are more confident when drawing circles. They are also now able to steer and pedal a tricycle, run forwards and back, walk upstairs with confidence and finally aim when kicking and throwing a ball. This shows that they have developed their hand-eye coordination well and are now using it properly.
At 3-4 years old toddlers start to use their fine motor skills to start fastening up buttons. They also use scissors, and can build a tower of 9-10 blocks. They use their gross motor skills to be able to walk along a line, aim and throw a ball and finally they start to hop on one leg. As they are able to hop it means that they are able to use their static balance to control their balance.
At 4-5 years children are preparing to go to school. They start to form letters, write their own name, colour in pictures and finally they are able to complete a 20 piece jigsaw puzzle. Their gross motor skills have improved allowing them to skip using a rope, run quickly and avoid obstacles and throw and catch a ball accurately.
The final age range is 5-8 years. Their fine motor skills are now very well developed. This means that children at this age are able to cut shapes out accurately, draw in detail, tie shoelaces and execute refined small muscle activities. Their gross motor skills are also very developed meaning that they can hop, skip and jump with confidence, balance on a beam, chases and dodge others and finally ride a bike.
Intellectual development
Intellectual development is about learning and building skills.
In the first 3 months a baby will begin to smile and turn towards sound. This shows that they recognise where the noises are coming from. They will also begin to follow objects with their eyes. At birth a baby will have around 100 billion brain cells, these will continue to grow and mature as the baby grows and has new experiences.
At 4-6 months a baby will begin to smile and laugh. They will also explore their hands and feet. They will also put objects in their mouth as a way to explore their senses and they will begin to listen and respond when spoken to. At this age a baby’s brain will be around 30% developed.
At 7-12 months a baby’s intellectual development continues to grow. They are able to vocalise some words, place objects in containers and they also recognise their own name. As they recognise their own name it shows that they are developing their memory. They are using the first 2 stages of memory, encoding which is organising the information to be stored and storage which is keeping the information safe.
At 1-2 years toddlers are able to use their intellectual development to imitate others and their actions, start to solve problems, begin to play pretend, understand ideas and speak more words. At the age of 2 a toddlers brain is 80% developed.
At 2-3 years toddlers begin to learn new skills, their language and vocabulary increases and they gain more independence. At the age of 3 the brain is twice as active as that of an adult. This shows that they are making more connections in there and making their brain more developed. As they are learning are skills they are continuously building there memory and making themselves more knowledgeable.
At 3-5 years children have longer attention spans, they share and take turns and they also ask many questions as they are curious about the world. This shows that they are developing their thinking skills. There are 3 main processes in developing thinking skills. The first part is gathering the information,the second part is understanding information. This enables children to form clear concepts and the last part is productive thinking. This is using the information to analyse and understand it. This is what happens when a child thinks of a question and then gets the answer as they have to process it and understand what it means. At the age of 5 a child’s brain will be 90% developed.
The final age stage is 5-8 years. At this age they use their intellectual abilities to develop a greater confidence and play cooperatively. They are also very curious about things that are happening. In this age range children develop abstract concepts. They need to have previous knowledge to enable them to link or attach new knowledge too. For example, you could explain to a child what a fairground is like. You could tell them that there are rides,lights and music. The child may then link it to other knowledge they may have to have an understanding of it. The second part of abstract concepts is patterns. For exa


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