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2.1 Introduction

2.2. Scope of Child Development

  • 2.2.1 Development and Growth
  • 2.2.2 Stages of Development
  • 2.2.3 Areas of Development

2.3 Importance of the Study of Child Development

  • 2.3.1 Describing Universal Patterns of Development
  • 2.32 Explaining Individual Differences in Development
  • 2.3.3 Understanding Human Behavior
  • 23.4 Application Day-to-Day Interactions with Children

2.4 Importance of Infancy and Early Childhood

25 Summing Up

2.6 Glossary

2.7 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises


In the earlier Unit you have read that each child has different experiences during

childhood. The variety of experiences accounts for some of the differences among

children. What other factors are responsible for differences among children? These and

related issues are the concern of the field of Child Development. In this Unit you will

read about the scope and importance of the discipline of Child Development.


  • After studying this Unit you should be able to
  • explain the scope of the discipline of Child Development
  • differentiate between development and growth
  • explain the stages of development
  • describe the different areas of development
  • discuss the significance of the study of Child Development




Stages of Development of the Fetus - Women's Health Issues - MSD Manual Consumer Version

Think of a fertilized ovum in the womb of the mother. Is it not astonishing how the

single celled organism develops into a human baby in nine months? This baby has

complex systems like the respiratory system, the nervous system and the skeletal system

which are a part of the equipment for survival. The newborn child responds to

touch and able see, smell and cry. These capacities will help her to adjust to the

surroundings which are very different from those in the womb. Despite these abilities

the infant is dependent on the caregiver for nurturance. A child who is totally dependent

on the caregiver will slowly learn to sit, then stand and then walk. She will also learn to

feed and clothe herself and express her needs verbally. Gradually, the child will become

more independent and her interests will widen. She will make friends and participate

activities with them and help with tasks at home. She may also get involved in income

generating activities. She may choose a vocation and take courses to prepare for it.

This child will grow into an adult who will be economically independent, get married

and have children. How docs this transformation come about from a single celled

organism in the mother’s womb to a person who is a competent adult and an involved


What makes you the person you are? How is it that your own brothers and sisters are

different from you – not just in the way they look but also in their behaviour ? Why is

it that one child is popular in the neighborhood and has many friends while the other

prefers to play alone? What makes one child a leader in her group while the other is

timid and stays close to the teacher all the time? Do all children develop various skills

and abilities at the same time? Are all three year old children similar? What should be

expected from a four year old child? Is there a pattern in development by which one

can expect a three year old to behave differently from a five year old? Such questions

are the concern of the field of Child Development.

The discipline of Child Development is concerned with the changes in the behaviour of

children over time and explains why and how they occur. Thus it aims to describe and

explain development in the areas of physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive

functioning. However, childhood experiences have an impact on the ways of thinking

and behaviour in adulthood. Thus the student of Child Development is concerned with

growth and behaviour that affects the entire lifespan. This course is, however, limited to

understanding the development of children from birth to six years.

2.2.1 Development and Growth

Growth & Development Evaluation | Online Pediatrician Consultation Bangalore,Online Consultation, Online Consultation For Children Bangalore, Online Consultation Bangalore, Online Pediatrician Consultation Bangalore, Pediatrics Consultation,

The terms ‘development’ and ‘growth’ have been used in the foregoing discussion. Can

you tell what is the difference between the two? The term development has been used

to refer to changes in the body, thinking capacities and social and emotional behaviour.

Can we call all such changes ‘development’? Let us understand this through an example,

When a three month old child becomes hungry, she begins to cry. Once she is fed her

behaviour changes. She becomes quiet again. Such a short behavioural change is not

termed ‘development’.

The term ‘development’ is used for changes in a person’s physical and behavioural traits

that emerge orderly ways and last for a reasonable period of time. The three main

characteristics of these changes are that they are progressive, orderly and long lasting.

The term ‘progressive’ implies that these changes result in acquisition of skills and

abilities that are complex, finer and more efficient than the ones that preceded them. To

understand this, let us consider the advancement that takes place from crawling to

walking and from babbling to taking. Walking requires the child to move upright and

balance one foot after the other. This requires greater coordination of the muscles and is

more complex than crawling. Walking is also more useful as it frees the hands for other

activities and increases the range of vision. Similarly, talking grows out of babbling and

is certainly more complex and effective communicating with others.

The term ‘orderly’ suggests that there is an order in development. Every development

is built upon the previous one and cannot occur before it. Thus a child has to be able

to crawl before she can walk and walk before she can run. Similarly, the adult’s

ability to handle complex situations is built upon the child’s capability of doing

simpler tasks. The ability to take decisions in adult life develops out of the childhood

experiences of selecting which game to play or which book to read. Development,

therefore, is a process through which a person learns to function with greater ease and


Growth’ refers to physical increase in the size of the body. Increase in weight, height

and the size of internal organs is growth. Growth refers to a quantitative change, that is,

a change that can be measured. However, we do not merely grow in size. If that were

so, a newborn baby would simply be a bigger baby at the age of 20 years. Something

else happens along with increase in size — there is a change in form and an increase in

the complexity of body parts and their functioning, thinking abilities and social skills,

among many others. In other words, we do not merely grow, but also develop.

Development thus refers to both quantitative as well as qualitative changes. It i

changes not only in structure but also in function. Development may be defined as

orderly and relatively enduring changes over time physical and neurological structure,

thought processes and behaviour that every organism goes through from the beginning

of its life end. Growth only one aspect of the larger process of development

Development continues even when physical changes are not visible. Physical growth

slows down considerably after adolescence but development does not. There is

development in the complexity of thought and social skills, as also in the use of

It includes o the language.

Stages of Growth | Child Development | Goodfellow Occupational Therapy

2.2.2 Stages of Development

The human life span has been divided into the stages of infancy, childhood, adolescence

and adulthood. You have become familiar with these words in the text. In these stages

there are characteristic differences in the thought processes and skills of individuals. Let

us now briefly read about these stages.

The period from birth to two years of age is referred to as the period of Infancy. In

this period the child is totally dependent on the caregiver for the fulfilment of her needs.

After birth, this is the period of most rapid growth and development. The child’s skills

and abilities increase. By the end of infancy she is able to walk, run, communicate her

needs verbally, feed herself, identify family members, recognize herself and venture

confidendy in familiar surroundings.

Confidently exploring the world around her

The period of childhood is from two to twelve years of age. Development at this stage

not as rapid as during infancy. During this period the child refines the skills she has

acquired during infancy and learns new skills as well. This is the period when

coordination of

the parts of the body improves. During childhood she also learns the

ways of behaviour that are considered appropriate by the society. The child meets many

people outside the family and forms attachments with more people. As the child grows

and her thinking capacities mature, she realizes that she can do many things. She can

play on a swing, make a bouse from sand, draw, paint or sing a song. This gives her a

feeling of confidence. During this period she becomes more independent though adult

guidance is constantly needed.


The period of childhood is divided into two stages: the period of early childhood

(2-6 years) and middle childhood (6-12 years). The period of early childhood is also

referred to as the preschool age because at this age the child is learning skills that will

help her to do tasks associated with schooling. The preschooler has mastered the words

to ask questions about things and people. She learns about numbers, colours, shapes and

the reasons for everyday events. All these concepts

develop from actually seeing things

and doing various activities. Doing a task is important for learning about it. She learns

to make friends and values relationships with people. Children’s ability to imagine

receives a major spurt during this period. This can be seen in their play. They enjoy

playing games that require them to pretend and make-believe. Preschoolers cannot play

together for long. After some time they start playing independently again, though they

may be with each other. You will read more about this aspect of play of children in


The child in the age group 6-12 years has matured a great deal and is expected to

behave more responsibly than the preschooler. Parental expectations of the child increase.

The child moves out of the home to help the family members in their work and may

even go to school all by herself. Middle childhood is the period when the child becomes

involved in Icarning skills that will help her to take up a vocation later on. The child’s

store of information grows at a fast pace. Her thinking develops rapidly and her interest

in the outside world grows by Icaps and bounds. There is active interaction with children

of the same age. They are able to cooperate with each other during play and are able to

follow the rules of the game. Playing team games is a development of this period.

The next stage is referred to as the period of adolescence (12-18 yrs.) The beginning of

this period is marked by puberty. Puberty refers to the stage around 11-14 years of age

when there is a spurt in physical growth. This results in a rapid increase in height and

weight and the emergence of secondary sexual characteristics. Examples of these are the

development of facial hair in boys and development of breasts in girls. The onset of

puberty is carlier for girls than for boys. These rapid physical changes lead to a need for

emotional readjustment.

At this age the peer group becomes very important and the adolescent follows the rules

and the codes of her group. Feelings of loyalty and pride for the group are very strong.

At times the values of the peer group may become more important than those of the

family. There are conflicting expectations of the adolescent. Sometimes she is expected

to behave as an adult and at other times she is treated like a child. During this stage she

also has to choose a vocation or prepare for marriage. During adolescence thinking

develops further and becomes more complex. The individual can understand and deal

with varied situations. She can think of abstract problems and work out their solutions.

All this helps her to prepare for the roles and responsibilities she will be expected to

carry out as an adult.

After the age of 18 years the person is referred to as an adult. There may be different

criteria for considering a person an adult. One may be the ability to support oneself

economically and another may be getting married and starting a family. But individuals

from some families continue to remain financially dependent on their parents till early

twenties. In others, both marriage and work may have to be taken up before adulthood.

There are also social and legal definitions of adulthood. For example, an Indian can vote

in the elections at eighteen years. Legally, girls may get married at 18 years and boys at

21 years of age. However, adulthood typically involves either working or preparing for

one’s livelihood. By now physical changes are complete and the person is mature. It is

important to remember that these divisions of the life span are not rigid. It is not as if

the child suddenly changes from an infant to a preschooler or from a child to an

adolescent. Change is a gradual and continuous process and transition from one phase of

life to another will be different for every individual. You will read in detail about the

periods of infancy and early childhood in this course.

Check Your Progress Exercise 1

1) Explain the meaning of the term ‘Child Development in the space provided below.

2) Read the sentences given below carefully and fill in appropriate words in the blanks:

a) Development implies as well as ……. changes while growth refers only to changes that can be ………..

b) The three main characteristics of changes that can be termed development are………..,…….. and ……….

3) Fill in the blanks with appropriate words:

a) After birth, infancy is the period of growth.

b) The period of childhood is divided into preschool years spanning ………… to ……… years and middle childhood

spanning………….. to ……… years.

c) …………..  is characterized by the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics.





1 / 25

The ratio of two number is 9 : 16 and their HCF is 34. Calculate the LCM of these two numbers.

2 / 25

Find the product of two consecutive numbers where four times the first number is 10 more than thrice the second number.

3 / 25

If a sum of money doubles in 5 years at simple interest, then what is the rate of interest?

4 / 25

If 2a+b = 8 and 8a-b = 2; Then which of the following is correct ?

5 / 25

The average of a group of 20 numbers is 30 and that of another group of 30 numbers is 50. What is the average of all the numbers in both the groups? 

6 / 25

The Ajanta Cave Paintings are a testimony to the golden age of ________ in India.

7 / 25

Which of the followings has been dubbed as ‘India's maiden human spaceflight programme’?

8 / 25

The Classical dance form ‘Kuchipudi’ belongs to which Indian state?

9 / 25

Which ruler of Vijayanagar Empire got the title of Andhra Bhoj?

10 / 25

Which planet is made up of thick white and yellowish clouds of sulfuric acid?

11 / 25

Directions: Questions are based on the degree of comparison (positive comparative and superlative). Fill in the blanks with the most appropriate word/words from the given alternative circle accordingly in your answer sheet.

Lata has the _______ amount of milk.

12 / 25

Select the most appropriate ANTONYM of the given word.


13 / 25

Select the most appropriate option to fill in the blank.

He ______ done it.

14 / 25

Select the most appropriate synonym of the given word.


15 / 25

I _________ Mumbai six times in 2015.

Choose the correct tense form that fits the blank.

16 / 25

ପୁଣି ଦେଖାଯାଏ, କେହି କେହି ସ୍ନେହ ଓ ମମତାର ଅଧୀନ ହୋଇ ସେମାନଙ୍କ ସ୍ନେହାସ୍ପଦ ବା ମମତାବଦ୍ଧ ଲୋକମାନଙ୍କୁ ସର୍ବଦା ଅନୁକୂଳ ଭାବରେ ସମାଲୋଚନା କରନ୍ତି ଏବଂ ସେମାନଙ୍କ ଦୋଷଗୁଡ଼ିକ ଉପରେ କୌଣସି ମନ୍ତବ୍ୟ ପ୍ରକାଶ ନ କରି ସେଗୁଡିକୁ ଲୋକସମାଜରୁ ଲୁଚାଇ ରଖନ୍ତି। ମାତ୍ର ସମାଲୋଚନା କ୍ଷେତ୍ରରେ ସକୀର୍ଣ୍ଣତାର ଆଶ୍ରୟ ନେଇ ସର୍ବଦା ଅନୁକୂଳ ମତ ପ୍ରକାଶ କରିବା ଏବଂ ବିଶେଷତଃ ବ୍ୟକ୍ତିମାନଙ୍କର ଅସତ୍ୟ ଚିତ୍ର ପ୍ରଦାନକରିବା କେବଳ ହିନତା ଛଡ଼ା କିଛି ନୁହେଁ। ମିତ୍ରର କାର୍ଯ୍ୟଗୁଡ଼ିକ ଯେତେ ନୀଚ ହେଲେ ସୁଦ୍ଧା ମହତ୍‌ ଏବଂ ଶତ୍ରୁର କାର୍ଯ୍ୟଗୁଡିକ ଯେତେ ମହାନ ହେଲେ ମଧ୍ୟ ଅପ୍ରଶଂନୀୟ ଏହିପରି ମତ ପ୍ରକାଶକରି ସମାଲୋଚକମାନେ ସ୍ଥୁଳ ମସ୍ତିଷ୍କତାର ପରିଚୟ ଦେଇଥାନ୍ତି। ଏହି ହୀନତା, ଏହି ସଂକୀର୍ଣ୍ଣତା ଯେତେଦିନ ପର୍ଯ୍ୟନ୍ତ ଜାତୀୟ-ଜୀବନରେ ସ୍ଥାନ ପାଉଥିବ, ତାହାର ବିକାଶ ସେତେଦିନ ପର୍ଯ୍ୟନ୍ତ ସୁଦୂର ପରାହତ ହୋଇ ରହିଥିବ। ଏହାଛଡା ଆଉ କେତେକ ଲୋକ ଏତେ ଭୀରୁ ଓ ଦୁର୍ବଳ ଯେ ସେମାନେ କୌଣସି ବ୍ୟକ୍ତି ସମ୍ବନ୍ଧରେ ନିଜ ନିଜର ସ୍ବାଧୀନ ମତ ବ୍ୟକ୍ତକରିବାକୁ ବଡ଼ କୁଣ୍ଠିତ ହୁଅନ୍ତି। ବ୍ୟକ୍ତିମାନଙ୍କ ପ୍ରତି ସେମାନଙ୍କର ଆସ୍ଥା ଏତେ ଅଧିକ ଯେ, ସେମାନେ ଭୟରେ ବିବେକବାଣୀର ଉଚ୍ଛ୍ଵାସ ବନ୍ଦକରି ସେମାନଙ୍କ ସମ୍ବନ୍ଧରେ ଶିଥିଳ ମତ ପ୍ରକାଶକରିଥାନ୍ତି ଏବଂ ଏହି ଶିଥିଳତାବଶତଃ ଅନେକ ସମୟରେ ଅସତ୍ୟକୁ ସତ୍ୟ ବୋଲି ଗ୍ରହଣ କରିବାକୁ ବାଧ୍ୟ ହୋଇଥାନ୍ତି। ମାତ୍ର ଏପରି ଦୁର୍ବଳତା ଶୀଘ୍ର ପରିତ୍ୟଜ୍ୟ। ଅବଶ୍ୟ ଏଥିରୁ ବୁଝିବାକୁ ହେବ ନାହିଁ ଯେ, ଆମ୍ଭମାନଙ୍କୁ ମାନ୍ୟଗଣ୍ୟ ବ୍ୟକ୍ତିମାନଙ୍କ ସମ୍ବନ୍ଧରେ ଅଯଥା ଲଘୁମତ ପ୍ରକାଶ କରିବାକୁ ହେବ। ଦୋଷର ସମାଲୋଚନା ଶ୍ରେୟସ୍କର, ମାତ୍ର ଏହା ବୋଲି ଅଭକ୍ତି, ଅଶ୍ରଦ୍ଧା ଓ ଅହଂକାରରେ ଚାଳିତହୋଇ ଲୋକମାନଙ୍କ ମହତ୍ତ୍ଵ ନଷ୍ଟ କରିବା ସର୍ବଦା ଅବିଧେୟ। ଉପରେ ଆମ୍ଭେମାନେ ଅନ୍ୟମାନଙ୍କ ସମ୍ବନ୍ଧରେ କିପରି ମନ୍ତବ୍ୟ ଦେବାକୁ ହେବ, ତାହା ଆଲୋଚନା କରିଅଛୁ। ମାତ୍ର ଏହାଛଡା ମାନବ ସ୍ୱୟଂ ନିଜର ଜ୍ଞାନ, ଧର୍ମ ଓ ଚରିତ୍ର ପ୍ରଭୃତି ଆଲୋଚନା କରି ନିଜ ସମ୍ବନ୍ଧରେ ମତ ପ୍ରକାଶ କରିଥାଏ। ଏହାକୁ ଆମ୍ଭେମାନେ ''ସ୍ଵଗତ ମନ୍ତବ୍ୟ ପ୍ରକାଶ'' ବୋଲି କହିପାରୁ। ବର୍ତ୍ତମାନ ଦେଖାଯାଉ, ଏହି ସ୍ବଗତ-ମନ୍ତବ୍ୟ ପ୍ରକାଶରେ କି କି ପ୍ରଣାଳୀରେ ଗତିକରିବାକୁ ହେବ।

କେହି କେହି ସ୍ନେହାସ୍ପଦ ଲୋକ ମାନଙ୍କୁ କିପରି ସମାଲୋଚନା କରନ୍ତି ?

17 / 25

ନାମଧାତୁଗୁଡ଼ିକର ଉତ୍ସ କ'ଣ?

18 / 25

.'ଅଧ୍ୟାତ୍ମ'  ଶବ୍ଦରେ କେଉଁ ଉପସର୍ଗ ବ୍ୟବହୃତ ହୋଇଛି?

19 / 25

ଏଥର ପୁରୀ ଯାଇଥିଲେ ​ଜଗନ୍ନାଥ ଦର୍ଶନ ସୁବିଧାରେ ମିଳିଥାନ୍ତା । ରେଖାଙ୍କିତ ପଦଟି କି ପ୍ରକାର କ୍ରିୟା?

20 / 25

କେଉଁଟି ପୁଂଲିଙ୍ଗବାଚକ ଶବ୍ଦ ନୁହେଁ?

21 / 25

Anil is taller than Sunny who is shorter than Baby. Anil is taller than Bose who is shorter than Sunny. Baby is shorter than Anil. Who is the shortest ?

22 / 25

If + means ×, × means -, ÷ means +, &  -  means ÷, then,

146 -  2 + 3 × 123 × 5 + 2 = ?

23 / 25

Which alphabet is 8th to the right of the 12th letter from the left in a reverse alphabet series? 

24 / 25

Select the option that will correctly replace the question mark (?) in the series.

15, 19, 35, 71, ?

25 / 25

Six friends S, T, U, V, W and X are sitting on a straight bench facing towards the North. W and T are sitting at the fourth position from the left end and the right end, respectively. U and X are not the immediate neighbours of T and W. S is sitting at the fifth position from the right end. Who is sitting at the second position from the right end?

Your score is


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