1. Summarise the main development of a child from the age range 0-2 years, 3-5 years and 5-8 years.
Newborn babies grow extremely quickly. During ‘Infancy’, which lasts from birth to eighteen months, babies change from a helpless newborn, to a child who can lift up their own head at three months, sit up unsupported at six months, walk at sixteen months and kick and throw a ball at two years old. Newborn babies actually lose some of their birth weight to begin with, but then begin to gain on average 18-19 grams per day. From the age of three months, babies will grow 2.5-3.8 centimetres in length and gain 700-900 grams in weight, each month. From six months of age, the growth rate slows to around 450-600 grams a month and by their first birthday, babies have almost tripled their birth weight and measure around 25 centimetres. There is a very rapid change in development between the ages of one and two. They are now on the move and eager to discover the world.
This means that there safety is more at risk, as they are in to everything and can now climb stairs, open cupboards and even sometimes open front doors! Parents have to add safety precautions to their homes, such as door and cupboard locks and stair gates, to ensure the child’s safety and well being. During this time, children begin to understand that they are their own person and that they can own their own toys and possessions. They have no concept of sharing. During their second year, children understand many words, although as they can’t control their impulses, they don’t respond to commands very often and regularly have to be physically lifted down, or moved away. Toddlers are often afraid of separation and do not understand that their parent will come back, when they are left with someone else.
From three to five years, a child’s motor skills change dramatically.
At three, they can run around obstacles, catch large balls and throw them overhead, ride a tricycle and alternate feet when climbing stairs. Their fine motor skills also improve and they can do simple puzzles, copy simple shapes and stack blocks. Their language develops and they can speak in complete sentences, usually of three to five words. They understand most of what is being said. They usually like to play alone, but near other children and still do not cooperate or share very well.
At four years old, their motor skills improve further and they can now run in a controlled way, hop on one foot, easily throw and catch a ball and can brush their hair and get dressed with little assistance. Their fine motor skills also develop, so that they can print some letters, use cutlery and cut with scissors along a line. Their language skills improve and they know around 1500 words and can speak in fairly complex sentences. They can take turns, share and cooperate, and begin to understand the concept of lying.
At five years old, their motor skills have improved even more and they can now run in an adult manner, balance on a beam and use a skipping rope. They can colour within the lines and cut out simple shapes.
Their language skills develop further and they can now speak fluently, understand and name opposites and use plurals, pronouns and tenses. A five year old can distinguish between right and wrong, they mimic adults, seek praise and prefer to play with others, rather than be alone, but usually prefer playing with same sex children.
At five years old, children begin to attend school and come into contact with different ideas and ways of behaving. They have to learn new rules and this can sometimes be very confusing and tiring. They are becoming more independent and able to control their own behaviour. Arguments and tantrums become far fewer. Rules become important to the child, as they offer a way of doing things that stop the big wide world from getting too confusing. They understand more about space and time, but many can’t yet tell the time.
They can sort things by shape, size and colour.
Five year olds enjoy being active and they are good at climbing, sliding and dancing. They have a good command of their language, but still may struggle to explain complicated subjects. Between the ages of six and eight (Middle Childhood), children can dress themselves, tie shoe laces and they start to become more independent from their family. Friendships become more important and it is a very important time for self confidence to develop, through friends, school and sport. Children will start to think about the future and they want to be liked and accepted by friends. They start to show less concern for themselves and more concern for others.
2. Analyse key social, economic and environmental factors, which may influence development.
The environment that a child grows up in as a strong effect on how they develop. A loving, caring home environment can help a child to socialise well and make friends easier. A child from a large family is likely to find it easier to mix with other children and play cooperatively, whereas children without brothers or sisters, tend to find making friends and settling into new environments, more difficult. Poor living conditions, overcrowding at home, air, water and noise pollution can all have a negative effect on a child’s development. A rural environment can sometimes be a problem, if there is a high level of unemployment, or low income jobs and lack of public transport. Poverty can put children at a social disadvantage, as parents who are unemployed, or on low incomes may struggle to provide a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet.
Poorer families also often live in overcrowded, poor conditions and parents struggle to provide physical and personal resources for their children, which has a negative impact on development. Children need to be kept active and motivated to develop and grow properly. They need to be stimulated and encouraged and be given access to play areas and age appropriate toys and equipment. A lack of stimulation can result in the child progressing slower and not as well as others of the same age. A serious accident or illness can have a huge impact on a child’s growth and development and even less serious accidents and illnesses can delay development, as children can become clingy and withdrawn. Loss of a loved one also often impacts on their development. Some children are able to cope with it better and show their feelings freely, where others can try to hide their feelings to protect friends and family. Signs of aggression and withdrawal are often seen.
The separation or divorce of parents can have a social and emotional effect on their development. Children can feel anxious and scared, as if their whole world has been turned upside down. Many experience feelings of anger, guilt and sorrow and can become aggressive, argumentative, withdrawn and tearful. Children from under developed countries often suffer with malnutrition, which plays a major role in inhibiting their growth and development progress. Children from higher social / economic classes are often taller than those from lower social / economic classes. Parental interaction can have both a positive and negative effect on their development.
Parents who spend time reading and playing with their children have a positive impact on their development, whereas parents who ignore or neglect their children, can have a very negative effect on their development. Social isolation or lack of socialisation can lead to developmental problems, such as speech problems and the inability to socialise in an acceptable manner with other children and adults.
3. Describe children’s overall development needs.
Children need a wide range of things to help them develop well. They need to be involved socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. Children all need to have a safe and secure environment to live in. They need to be provided with access to play equipment and age appropriate toys. Parents / carers need to play with them and encourage and stimulate them with games, puzzles and reading together. Adults also need to communicate well with children to encourage their language development and build healthy relationships. Children should be able to develop in an anti discriminatory environment and have opportunities to mix socially with other children and adults, outside the family. Children also need physical activity to exercise and develop their growing muscles.
They need to feel valued and have a strong attachment with at least one positive adult in their life. Children also need structure and to be set clear limits to give them the security and confidence to explore the world around them safely. Children should be encouraged to participate in activities and to express themselves creatively through things such as singing, dancing, writing and drama. Children need to be loved and cared for in a comfortable, safe environment. They need to be fed a nutritionally balanced diet and to be kept safe and protected from danger. They need to be praised for their achievements and encouraged to be confident in their own abilities.