Meaning of Child Growth and Development
The process of child growth and development has been methodically studied and analyzed for centuries. The intention is to provide parents and teachers with knowledge of the child’s growth. This will allow them to provide a positive environment which is conducive and allows the child to attain his maximum potential. Here we will explore certain principles of child growth and development. So let’s get started!
Principles of Child Growth and Development
It is essentially that every teacher know the basics of a child’s growth and development pattern. This is an advantage in effective teaching . And allows the teachers to guide the students through these stages. The field of psychology has provided us with some common principles of child growth and development that are helpful. Let us take a brief look.
1] Growth and Development will follow a certain Pattern
A baby doesn’t just start walking before learning how to crawl. Just like this, the entire process of child growth and development follows a specific sequence or pattern. Even physical growth and development follows a cephalocaudal sequence. The development of the body as well as other functions start from the head and then progress to the limbs.
2] Development progresses from General to Specific
We can observe that in children the development progresses from generalized behavior to localized behavior. For example, in the beginning a baby will just move his entire body randomly. Then over time we will be able to control his hands to grab at an object and coordinate his leg movements to crawl, walk etc.
3] Development is a Continuous Process
Both the physical and mental growth and development of a child is a slow and continuous process. It does not happen in leaps and bounds. There are benchmarks that are important, like when a baby walks for the first time. But the entire process from birth to maturity is slow and gradual.
4] The Tempo of Growth is Uneven
A child’s growth and development while continuous are not even processes. There are periods of accelerated growth and then some periods of slow growth and development. Generally, growth is rapid in the few months after birth and then during early adolescence.
Also, mental and physical growth do not occur at the same pace. We reach mental and physical maturity at different ages. The brain attains its full size between ages six and eight. Physical development continues well into the teenage years.
5] Growth is a Highly Complex Process
All aspects of child growth and development are closely inter-related. The physical growth of a child is intimately related with his mental development and also vica-versa. Even emotional stability and growth play a factor in his development.
6] Growth is a Product of Heredity and Environmental Factors
Growth does not depend on heredity alone, but also the environment in which the child grows up. Both factors go hand-in-hand. So along with the genes of the parents, the climate. social conditions, environment at home, etc. are all factors in the growth of a child.
7] Growth Curve of Each Child is Unique
It is not possible to quantify how much an individual differs from another. But we can safely say that not all individuals are the same. Similarly, the development and growth of children are also unique to themselves.
Studies have shown that the differences in intellectual capabilities are greater than physical differences among children. And even more different are their personalities and special aptitudes. This all bears down to the fact that all children grow in their own individual ways.
8] Growth is Quantitative and Qualitative
These two aspects of growth are inseparable. The child grows not only in size but also in mental capacity, emotional stability, maturity etc. You can measure his growth in height and weight etc. But his growth in maturity and intellect cannot be measured in numbers.
So bearing in mind these essential principles of child growth and development, the teacher must understand the individual variations in growth. And they should provide a conducive environment for the child to grow and develop without demanding unreasonable targets.