Sunday, February 13, 2011


1.1 Introduction

Generally development is a dynamic process of which something passes by degrees to another more mature or advance stage that results in expending and improving (WordWeb). Child here refers to a person within the stage of birth till puberty (The American Heritage Dictionary). Hence from here we can understand that child development is the study of process or mechanisms that happen during the biological and psychological process of growth of person within the age of birth till puberty. The growth that is focus in the study is the development of child in four areas is physical, mental or cognitive, emotion and social.In this paper the main development of child that is being focus is physical development and cognitive development.

1.2 Concepts of Child Development

Concept here refers to something that formed in the mind, a thought or notion or a general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences (The American Heritage Dictionary). Since child development is made up of child and development, we will discuss the concept of child and concept of development.

There are many concept of child. One of the many concepts is every child is unique and special. Child is very unique similar as people as there is no two person that is complete the same. Even though if a pair of children is identical twin which have the same physical feature but deep down they are still very different in term of rate of development, characteristic, personality, behavior and much more that contribute to the diversity of human kind and children. That is no one is the same that is why every child is special in their own way.

As child grows they will undergo a very eventful moment the childhood. This is a very important stage as it is the time where the child builds up their foundation for their life later on. Here they started to build up physical growing taller and wider. At the same time their cognitive also development where their memory, understanding and experience and knowledge accumulate. This is the time where they start to gain experience through interaction with the surrounding and understand the world and their environment. As time pass by they will acquire new skill and knowledge through interaction with environment.

Concept of development is development is measured qualitatively. Development is said to be a qualitative process that happen as progressive series in human being from the day being conceived to baby, toddler, children, teenager, adult, and getting older and older until we die. The qualitative progress mentioned is not something that can measured using a weighing machine or a ruler but the increase in something that cannot be measured physically and observation in improvement. As an example the development of a child can be seen as she starts off by crawling into more advance skill such as walking, running, jumping and dancing. Unlike development growth is something that can be measured using physical method such as using triple beam, weighing scale and ruler. So growth is also known as quantity process. (Based on Lecture by Miss Kamalawati, 2007)

1.3 Principle of Child Development

The word principle simply means a fundamental basic truth. There are many principles too regarding child development. They are:
1.3.1 Development proceed from head upward to leg downward (Novella J. Ruffin, 2001)
This is known as cephalocaudle principle that describes the direction of growth and development. According to this principle, a child gains control of head, followed by arms and later the legs. We can see that infant is able to lift their head within first two months of births.  Later they are able to use their arms and by the age of 6 to 12 months they are all ready to control their leg. At this time the child can crawl, stand or walk.

      1.3.2 Development proceeds from the center of the body outward. (Novella J. Ruffin, 2001)
This is the principle of proximodistal development that also describes the direction of development. According to the theory the spinal cord actually developed first before the outer part of the body. So the child’s arms actually developed first before its hand and fingers and so do the legs first before the feet and toes. In the end the finger and the toes that need to use fine motor is the last to develop.

1.3.3 Growth and development is in an orderly manner (Lecture by Miss Kamalawati, 2007)
This can be easily deduced based on observation. We can see that an infant need to know how to sit then only they can start crawling and standing. There is always a general pattern and no child can walk before they know how to crawl. This simply also happen to development. Before they start reading they need to know the alphabet then the phonetics of the alphabet. Then only they know the words and its phonetics and finally combining all this skill acquired the children can start to read. The skill and knowledge acquired can remain for a reasonable long period and perhaps for the entire life.

     1.3.4 Development depends on maturation and learning. (Novella J. Ruffin, 2001)
Maturation refers to the sequential characteristic of biological growth and development. The biological changes occur in sequential order in the brain and nervous system and give children new abilities. These changes in the brain and nervous system help children to improve in thinking (cognitive) and motor (physical) skills. Development proceeds from simple to complex. In the beginning children can only learn with the help of concrete item but as they grow and develop they are able to learn only using symbol like pictures and finally they can learn abstractly.

1.3.5 Development and learning occur as a result of the child interacting with people and objects in his or her environment. (
Children integrate their previously acquire skill into more complex, dynamic system of action. According to Piaget Theory during the developmental state children have their own mental maps build up from their past experience. When they meet up with something new they will try to assimilate into what they had learned before. In this way they will acquire more and become more matured. The growth and development of child takes place gradually and continuously. Adding up of past experience and assimilate or accommodate into new things as we can see the continuation of the process itself. The way child can acquire something new is through interacting with people and objects in his or her environment.

1.3.6 Development proceeds from the simple (concrete) to the more complex and from general to specific. (Novella J. Ruffin, 2001) Children start of with simple matter rather than complex in the process of cognitive development. In the beginning children learn simple things such as 1, 2, 3 or a,b,c when they started off at preschool. As time passes by their cognitive skill increased and started to gain more understanding so they are taught how to add and minus and even solve problems. Meanwhile the development of motor rather begins with general to specific. Infant begins with grasping item. Their first motor can be categorized as general, undirected and reflexive such as swinging their arms or kicking in the air. Growth occurs from large muscle movements to more refined (smaller) muscle movements. As they gain older they start to have aim and their movement is more directed such as kicking ball.

1.3.7 Children’s needs differ across the early childhood years. (                It is said that the needs of a child vary over the first few years of their life. This can actually be group into different stages based on their needs. During infancy the most important need of the child is nutrition. Sensory learning especially auditory and visual, control of physical actions and attachment to a significant parent or caretaker seem to be the central tasks.             
                                                                                                   During toddler period nutrition is still consider extremely important for a child in body building and cognitive building. This is stage where child’s coordination, language, ability to think and social skills advance rapidly.
         In the pre-school years, socialization and preparation for schooling take on greater importance, and the circle of peers and caregivers widens.
 During the period of entering primary school there is a period of transition. But the focus of education and peer increase. Children’s involvements in sports also advance greatly in this stage. Children continue to need holistic attention.

1.3.8   Growth and development is a continuous process.
As a child develops, he or she adds to the skills already acquired and the new skills become the basis for further achievement and mastery of skills. Most children follow a similar pattern. This can be proven from the sequence of physical development of child where a child begins to sit then crawl and stand. This sequence will not stop and will continue to grow as the child grows older. Hence we can say that growth and development is a continuous process that will not stop until a person dies.  


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