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The growing child
Open-air music lesson

Watching the ways that children grow and develop is a rewarding experience for families and professionals.

Almost all children follow the same patterns of development, even if the timing is different. There are four key areas that tell us whether a child is following the normal pattern of development. These are:

  • Motor (muscle control);
  • Social and emotional;
  • Language (including reading);
  • Cognition and understanding.

Rate of development

It is important to remember that the rate of development varies:

  • From child to child;
  • Within each child.
This means that not only do children develop at different rates, but they may develop more quickly in some of the areas mentioned and be slower to develop in other areas.

We also think about growth and development in five stages:

  • Infancy – from birth to one year
  • Early years – from one to three years
  • Childhood – from four to seven years
  • Puberty – from 8-12 years
  • Adolescence – from 13-16 years.
Bulman and Savoury, 2006

Activity (1)

Watch the videos and consider how children develop rapidly between the ages of 0-5 years and the implications for early childhood experiences and environments.

Find out more

Bulman, K. and Savoury, L. (2006) BTEC First Children's Care: Learning and development. Harlow: Heinemann.