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principles of development

Six key principles characterise the pattern and process of growth and development in childhood. These principles describe typical development as a predictable and orderly process. During childhood, one stage of development lays the foundation for the next stage of development.
1. Development requires change. By definition development is linked to change, so if an individual is not changing they are not developing. For example, in relation to physical development, a child will need to be able to hold a pencil before they are able to draw or colour.
The changes that we can see occurring to an individual usually relate to physical development, such as changes in body size, proportions and functions. In order to be able to master the climbing of stairs, a child's skills will increase from walking while holding on to something, to walking alone and then by the age of four most children will be able to walk up and down stairs with alternating feet.
Individuals also experience change in social, emotional and intellectual development including all of the things that we learn. Development in the early years of life is very important and forms the building blocks for further development as the individual progesses through the lifespan.
When linked to development during childhood, change is usually positive or progressive and permanent. 3. The pattern of development is orderly and predictable.
Many of the changes to our development are determined by genetics at conception. Genetic potential refers to the maximum potential we can achieve in relation to growth and development. While it must be acknowledged that each individual will develop differently and at a different rate, the order in which we develop specific milestones follows a predictable pattern.
An individual's ability to achieve their maximum potential (change) may also be influenced by the environment. There are two laws of human development that influence the orderly predictable nature of development.
2. Early development is essential for later development. As a child develops, they add to the skills that they have already gained and the new skills become the basis for futher mastery of skills. These are cephalocaudal and proximodistal laws of development.
There are also two general patterns that make development orderly and predictable. The first is that development occurs from general to specific and the second is that development occurs from simple to complex.
Cephaloucaudal law of development: the direction of development that occurs from the top (head) down to the bottom (toes) of the body. Proximodistal law of development: the pattern of development that occurs from the centre (or inside) of the body and extends to the body's extremities.
4. Development involves maturation and learning. The two terms maturation and learning refer to the journey that an individual takes to reach their full genetic potential.
Maturation: describes the process whereby a person gradually realises their genetic potential. Learning, on the other hand, is influenced by the experiences that we are exposed to and refers to the acquisition of behaviours and skills through interaction with the environment.
A child must mature to a certain point before they can gain new skills. For example, a four-month-old cannot use language to communicate because their brain has not matured enough to allow the child to speak. By 18 months of age, the brain has developed enough that with the help of others (learning), a child will have the capacity to say and understand words.
Maturation in the brain and nervous system help to improve a child's thinking (intellectual development) and motor (physical development) skills. 5. Growth and development are continuous.
As the first principle identified, development requires change, because individuals continue to change throughout the lifespan, development therefore continues. Development actually continues from the moment an individual is conceived until they die.
6. Rates of development are unique. Each child is different and the rate at which individual children grow and develop is also different.
Although the patterns and sequences for growth and development are orderly and predictable, the rate and time at which individual children develop and achieve milestones will be different. It is important to rely too heavily on an understanding of development aligned only to specific milestones being reached at specific ages.
There is no such thing as a normal or average child which is why an age range for developmental tasks to take place within is usually given. For example, there are differences in the rate and timing of when children learn to walk.
Some will walk at 10 months while others walk a few months older at 18 months of age. As far as the timing goes, both of these are considered normal. Some take their first steps and never look back (it appears as though they learn to walk overnight).
Others proceed more slowly, they may start by standing, progress to walking while holding on to furniture or an adult and then take a few steps alone but prefer to crawl when going longer distances (it may appear as though the child will never walk). The rate of learning to walk in both of these examples is considered normal.
Rates of development are also not uniform for an individual child. For example, a child's intellectual development may progress faster than his emotional or social development.
Created by: phoebe 4