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Imagine of the children you know! Some appear to be jovial; others may not be pleasant, while others are active, and still others typically quiet. Think about twins, and in particular, identical twins! They have same genetic makeup, but not alike. They respond differently to play, affection, objects, and people within their environment. The question arising is that do children have a basic pattern of growth?
Children are not alike and differ physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally. Therefore, it is important to study and understand the growth and development of children. Since personalities of children differ, understanding the sequence of their development is basic to guiding them. Basic understanding of developmental theories assists guardians or teachers in developing a knowledgeable base for caring the young. Child development is defined as changes or growth, occurring in children from infancy to adulthood. Despite the uniqueness of each child, the basic principles of child development are a common denominator for all.
Researchers and those working with children understand the basic patterns or principles in child development. The principles are grouped into three; cephalocaudal principle, proximodistal principle, and maturation. Cephalocaudal principle refers to development that proceeds from the head downward. This principle states that the child gains control of its head, arms, and legs progressively. Within the first two months after birth, infants gain control of head and face movements. In the following months, the infant lifts itself up with its arms. Upon attaining 6 to 12 months, it gains control of legs, crawl, stand, or walk. Proximodistal principle refers to development from the infant’s central body outwards. The spinal cord develops prior other parts of the body. Arms develop before hands as the hands and feet develop before fingers and toes respectively. Maturation principles refer to biological sequences in children. The orderly changes provide children new abilities. This principle depends on changes in the brain and nervous system. These changes help an infant improve its thinking abilities and motor skills. Once the child is exposed to a rich learning environment, it develops to its utmost potential.
The principles of development enable one understand the order of child development although each child develop at different paces. A clear understanding of the principles assist observe gained abilities of each child and plan appropriate activities to aid children develop new skills. Acquiring such skills make a successful caregiver. Therefore, the study of child development facilitates understanding and successful monitoring of children.
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