The 5 Periods of Child Development
Child development is characterisized by five different development periods. All of these periods are unique and important factors in the growth of a child. Here is a brief outline and explanation of each developmental period in a child's life.
The first period of development starts at infancy; this includes birth up until two years old. This period is a time when children develop " basic human traits-emotional bonds to other human beings, nonverbal communication and language expression, motor exploration of the physical environment, and systematic approaches to learning about people, places, and things" (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 18). As an infant, children are extremely dependant on the caregiver, but they are equipped with certain abilities that they know will achieve a response. Children are able to cry in order to receive attention; and through positive responses from the caregiver infants develop a need to learn. Infants learn through the concrete things in their surroundings such as the toys they play with and the noise the telephone makes. As infants grow they develop a sense of confidence as they also develop a desire to learn and explore. Infants develop so much at this young age that they are hard to keep up with.
Early childhood is the next level of a child's development; this area includes children from two to six years of age."Early childhood is a period of incredible creativity, fantasy, wonder, and play"(McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 19). Communication and language skills increase drastically during this period of time. Grammer and vocabulary usage develops out of life experience at this time. Physical changes also occur during this period; children become more agile and playful, and they exude higher levels of energy. During the early childhood period of development children are very "endearing, trusting, and affectionate", and they are more prone to "self-centered impulses" (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 19). Early childhood is a developmental period that is filled with energy and learning.
Middle childhood is the period of time when a child is six to ten years old. This is a time where children focus less on fantsy and more on real world issues. Strong social bonds between peers occur, and friendships are a main part of learning. "Children also begin to compare their performance to that of others" at this period of development (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 19). Athletic skills increase and children become aware of what is expected of them at this age. Middle childhood development is the beginning of a child's perception of adulthood.
Early adolescence is the developmental period of time when a child is ten to fourteen years old. This is a period of many physical changes because puberty is occurring during this time. During this time adolescents are very focused on what their peers think of them. Many cognitive increases occur during this time including "expansion in abilities to think logically, abstractly,and exhaustively" (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 21). Early adolocense is a time where children will take into further consideration the world around them and develop a better sense of self-power.
The last phase of development for children covers the ages of fourteen to eighteen. This period is refered to as the late adolescent development period. This is a time of making decisions for children. Children of this age range still consider peer relationships a high priority. During this point in time" individual differences in academic achievement are substantial" and children of this age face many confusing decisions (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 22). These young adults will have to use all the knowledge they have gained and relationships they have built up until this point to make the decisions they will be faced with at this age.
As a teacher, or a person who deals with children on a constant basis, it is extremely important to be aware of all the different levels of development for children. In order to effectively reach children the different characteristics of each developmental period should be fully understood.
McDevitt, T., & Ormrod, J. (2004). Child Development: Educating and Working with Children and Adolescents (2nd ed.). : Prentice Hall