Early Childhood Development Stage
Early Childhood Development Stage
Developmental psychology is that field of psychology that deals with examining what remains constant and what changes take place in the in human behavior throughout their life. These changes or constancies are observed from the time a person is conceived to the time of death. It is a field that focuses on a broad range of functions ranging from cognitive development, motor skills, moral understanding, executive functions, social change and many more areas of human functionality.
There are many stages of psychological development, including infancy, early childhood, pre-school age, school age, adolescence, early adulthood, mid-adulthood, and adulthood. All the stages are important in one way or another to the individuals, and very key changes take place in the functionality of an individual (Benson & Haith, 2010). The early childhood stage, I believe, is the most important phase of development in an individual’s life cycle, however. Extremely important milestones take place here, which determine the life the individual will live in future, as a grown up.
The early childhood stage is the stage of development between the age of 2 to the age of 6 or 7 years. This is the stage just after infancy, where a human being begins to understand his environment and what is around them. In this stage, there are some changes that take place which includes the physical growth and development, cognitive growth and development and Social-emotional growth. The physical development includes improvement in the gross and motor skills. They now stop the stop using the wide-legged stance that are robot-like and a hallmark of a new walker. They now develop the ability to jump, run, and hop. Children in this age can play games that involve throwing and catching with larger balls. They are also expected to draw the simple shapes like circles, triangles, and squares.
The rate in which a child increases their weight slows down in this stage, typically between 2 and three years. They will only grow about 3.5 inches, and gain about 4 pounds. When they get to the ages of 4 to 6, the rate in height increase slows even further, and they grow only 2.5 inches and on average, gain 5 to 7 pounds. As a result, most children in the ages just after 2 eat less food, which causes alarm to the parents, but should not, because it is normal.
The child in this stage now can think, but only literary. They will ask many questions on why things happen as they do, and will ask a question on the reason things happen as they do. This is a stage where they attribute human characteristics to objects, e.g. a bad stone, when it trips them. All this rapid change in thinking is attributable to the changes in their brain size. Their brain grows rapidly during this period, such that at the age of 2, a child’s brain has gotten to 55% of its ultimate adult size. By the age of 6 it would have grown to way more than 90% of the adult’s brain size.
Children at this stage now begin to understand a sense of self. They develop relationships with other people and become more sociable. They develop their emotional being, which includes attachment, expressions, and personality. They now manifest certain fears, such as fear of monsters and the dark. At around three years old, they realize they are a girl or boy and start behaving that way. As boys, they will become more aggressive while girls will tend to be more caring as an expression of who they are. Both boys and girls can get more aggressive, however, but the manifestation is what makes the difference. While boys get more physically aggressive (Deiner, 2013), girls become more aggressive socially, which includes name-calling and ignoring people.
Children at this age, however, can get quite stubborn. From 3 years old all the way to the age of 6 will tend to be tense more, negative in their talk and behavior and are very likely to disobey when given instructions. It is here where parents may wonder what had happened to their once sweet child. It is here that they will try out everything, in their quest to know why everything happens. They become more daring, and may engage in harmful activities, e.g. climbing walls, and may end up getting hurt or fall. It is in their quest to explore that they tend to disobey, because of the perception that the instructions they are given e.g. “don’t play in the rain” is just meant to limit their fun.
Interview with four-year-old Shawn
Shawn Rodgers is a 4-year-old boy from Beverly, Massachusetts. He comes from a family of 4, with his elder sister being a 4th grader. Shawn was the best interviewee for this stage because 4 is the age that is the epitome of early childhood. Shawn will be joining kindergarten next year, and he says he is excited to join school next year, where he looks forward to meeting new friends and learning new things. During the entire interview, we had to take breaks in between because Shawn had problems concentrating when he saw his friends playing nearby.
For him, the play is the most important thing, evident from the multiple scars on his knees and elbows. While at home, his mom gives him drawing assignments to keep him busy, when his sister is busy with her homework. He tells me that he doesn’t like it when his mother limits his playing time, and often sneaks out to go play, but faces the consequences when his mother finds out.
From the 30 minutes interview with Shawn, it was evident that this part of psychological development is one of the most important phases. It is one Shawn has learned how to draw and color, and can even undertake few activities in those lines. They become more acquainted with their environment, as they develop their gross motor skills as well as heir fine motor skills. They become more relational, which is evident because of how Shawn longs for school to meet new friends. Rebellion is also a part of this stage, and most of them have a hard time following simple instructions, especially if they perceive the instructions to be infringing on their desire to play. They like to explore new things, and sometimes get hurt in the process, just like Shawn. Shawn told me that he had the scars while climbing trees and walls, just to feel how birds feel when they are in raised positions.
Indeed, they ask many questions, and I had to tell Shawn that he would ask me questions once I was done, because it had turned out that he was the one interviewing me, because of the many questions he was asking. Some characteristics, however, depend on other factors, because Shawn was taller than the average 40 inches 4-year-olds have, and it seems his growth rate is higher than what scientists provide. He loves eating, explaining why he is tall.
Any child between the ages of 2-6 will learn a lot of things that will be beneficial to them later on in life. They can, however, get out of hand if not properly tamed because they tend to be more hyperactive. It would be good if you gave them fine motor skill tasks, to keep them busy so as to contain them.
Benson, J., & Haith, M. (2010). Social and emotional development in infancy and early
childhood. London: Academic.
Deiner, P. (2013). Inclusive early childhood education: Development, Resources, practice (6th
ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.