Child Development

Child development refers to the biological, psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the end of adolescence, as the individual progresses from dependency to increasing self-sufficiency. Because these developmental changes may be strongly influenced by genetic factors and events during prenatal life, genetics and prenatal development are usually included as part of the study of child development. Developmental change may occur as a result of genetically-controlled processes known as maturation, or as a result of environmental factors and learning, but most commonly involves an interaction between the two. The optimal development of children is considered vital to society and so it is important to understand the social, cognitive, emotional, and educational development of children. The first five years create the foundation for the child to accomplish key developmental advances in mind and body. From the first day of life to the first day in kindergarten, a child grows at a phenomenal pace that is unequalled at any other time of life. It is during these years that the brain undergoes its most dramatic growth. Recent research confirms that the first five years are particularly important for the development of the child’s brain, and the first three years are the most critical in shaping the child’s brain architecture. Early experiences provide the base for the brain’s organizational development and functioning throughout life. Language blossoms, basic motor abilities advance, thinking starts to become more complex, and social/emotions evolve. By examining the first five years old life, starting from prenatal care, one can understand the type of child they are beginning to raise.
In understanding child development, it is first important to explore the prenatal stages that will develop the child that will walk, learn and mature into a functioning member of society. The process of prenatal development occurs in three main…

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