Teaching Elementary School Health Education/Growth and Development/I Will Learn About the Growth and Development of Infants and Children

Infancy consists of the period from birth to about two years of age. The first years of life are a time of incredible growth and development. Although there is uniformity in the growth and development of most children, no two children develop exactly alike. Children differ in physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth patterns. They also differ in the ways they interact with and respond to their environment as well as play, affection, and other factors. An understanding of infant growth and development patterns and concepts is necessary for parents and caregivers to create a nurturing and caring environment that will stimulate optimal growth in young children.

Types of DevelopmentEdit

Physical Development refers to physical changes in the body and involves changes in weight, height, motor skills, vision, hearing, and development of the senses and perceptions. Physical growth is rapid during the first two years of life. WIth each physical change, a child acquires new abilities. By repeating motor actions, an infant builds physical strength and muscular coordination.

Cognitive Development refers to the development of cognitive skills such as reasoning, language acquisition, problem solving, and knowledge acquisition. Children learn through their senses and through mulitple interactions with people and things in the environment. As children grow and interact with their environment, they go through various stages of cognitive development.

Emotional Development is the expression of feelings about one's self, others, and things. Social development is relating to others. These two types of development are placed together because they are closely interrelated growth patterns and are referred to as social-emotional development. Social-emotional development includes developing feelings of self-esteem, trust, and friendship. It also includes developing skills to socialize and interact effectively with others.

Developmental MilestonesEdit

Developmental milestones are the physical or behavioral signs of development or maturation in infants and children. Observing developmental milestones helps to determine the growth and development progress of an infant over time.