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Developmental Milestones in Childhood

1. What are the major milestones related to the physical development in early, middle, and late childhood? Briefly describe these milestones.

2. What are the major milestones related to the cognitive development in early, middle, and late childhood? How does cognition change from early, middle, and late childhood?

3. What role does Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory and Vygotsky's Social Constructivist Approach play in understanding cognitive development in early, middle, and late childhood ?

4. What are the major milestones related to the socioemotional development in early, middle, and late childhood? What types of changes occur in peer relationships from early, middle, and late childhood?

5. How can families impact the development of young children?

Solution Preview

Hi,

Interesting questions! One approach to helping with questions like this is to look at the psychological literature from various sources, which you can then draw on for your final copy. This is the approach this response takes.

Let's take a closer look.

1. What are the major milestones related to the physical development in early, middle, and late childhood? Briefly describe these milestones.

Physical development occurs biologically and as the child ages, the child is motivated to explore their world and meet their goals. Briefly, physical development in early, middle, late childhood are linked to: nervous system development, body's physical properties, child's motivation to reach age-specific goals, environmental support for the skill.Between the ages of 6 and 11, your child will likely gain an average of 6-7 pounds each year, grow a little more than 2 inches each year, and increase head size by about 1 inch (http://rileychildrenshospital.com/parents-and-patients/caring-for-kids/schoolagechpt2.jsp).

The milestones for gross motor skills include: improved walking, running, jumping, learned organized sports' skills - positive and negative sports outcomes. these continue to improve through early, middle and late childhood (Santrock, 2007, from http://www.dmacc.edu/instructors/kdowdell/PSCH%20103%20Santrock%203e/santTOPch05.ppt). Specifically, milestones for fine motor skills increase through the three stages of childhood, which involves more finely tuned movements, such as finger dexterity:

- Early Childhood: pick up small objects e.g. some difficulty building towers, by age 5: arms, hands, and fingers move together.

- Middle and Late Childhood: writing and drawing skills emerge and improve, steadier at age 7, by 10-12 can do quality crafts, master difficult piece on music instrument.

From another source, which is more comprehensive:

The milestones in Early, Childhood, and Middle Childhood, which most children accomplish are:

Ages 2 to 3

Children become more comfortable with motion, increasing speed, and coordination. Most begin to:
- Run forward
- Jump in place with both feet together
- Stand on one foot, with aid
- Walk on tiptoe
- Kick ball forward

Children are able to manipulate small objects with increased control. Most can:
- String large beads
- Turn pages one by one
- Hold crayon with thumb and fingers instead of fist
- Draw a circle
- Paint with wrist action, making dots and lines
- Roll, pound, squeeze, and pull clay

Ages 3 to 4:

Movement and balance improve. Most children can:
- Run around obstacles
- Walk on a line
- Balance on one foot
- Push, pull, and steer toys
- Ride a tricycle
- Use a slide without help
- Throw and catch a ball

Children's precision of motion improves significantly. Most are able to:
- Build a tall tower of blocks
- Drive pegs into holes
- Draw crosses and circles
- Manipulate clay by making balls, snakes, etc.

Ages 4 to 5, which continue to develop more into late childhood:

Children are now more confident, and most are able to:
- Walk backwards
- Jump forward many times without falling
- Jump on one foot
- Walk up and down stairs without assistance, alternating feet
- Turn somersaults

Children develop skills that will help them as they enter school and begin writing. Most can:
- Use safety scissors
- Cut on a line continuously
- Copy squares and crosses
- Print a few capital letters

(Source: http://www.pbs.org/wholechild/abc/physical.html).

2. What are the major milestones related to the cognitive development in early, middle, and late childhood? How does cognition change from early, middle, and late childhood?

The major milestones related to cognitive development include the development of learning and thinking skills, e.g. problem solving skills, which changes qualitatively and quantitatively through early, middle and late childhood.

From one source:

For example, between ages 2 and 3, for example, a lot of learning is done through a child's own exploration, and this really takes off at this age. Cognitively, most children can:

- Respond to simple directions
- Choose picture books, name pictured objects, and identify several objects within one picture
- Group objects by category
- Stack rings on peg in order of size
- Identify themselves in the mirror, saying "baby" or their own name
- Relate what they are doing to others
- Observe and imitate more complex adult actions (for example, housekeeping play)

Between the ages of 3 and 4, as children have more experiences in the world, their analytic powers grow. For some time, they have been observing and mentally "sorting" objects according to their physical properties. cognitively, now most children can:

- Understand concepts like grouping and matching (for example, recognizing and matching colors)
- Organize materials on their own, for example by stacking blocks or rings in order of size
- Identify parts of a whole, like a slice of pie
- Draw, name, and briefly explain somewhat recognizable pictures that are meaningful to them
- Actively seek information through why and how questions
- Tell you their full name and age
- Attend to an activity for a longer stretch of time (between 5 and 15 minutes)
- Learn both by observing and listening to adults' explanations
- Show awareness of past and present.

Between the ages 4 to 5, cognitive development progresses in complexity e.g., intuitive thinking emerges. At this age, children actively seek information and new experiences from the people in their environment. Cognitively, most can:

- Play with words, mimicking and creating sounds, and make rhymes
- Point to and name many colors
- Understand order and process
- Draw a person with detail
- Draw, name, and describe pictures
- Count to 5
- Tell you their street and town

(Source: http://www.pbs.org/wholechild/abc/cognitive.html).

Intuitive thinking is a Piagetian concept applicable to, from 4 - 7 years. In this stage "children are thinking more logically than they were before hand although the logic they follow is a little faulty. A good example of this is that the children in this period of development cannot yet conserve. There ideas relating to class membership are also blossoming quite well, however, they have trouble understanding that classes can themselves belong to a bigger organisation. If given a picture of oranges and apples in which there were 7 apples and only 3 oranges, they preoperational child in the second stage will say that there are more apples than there are pieces of fruit, even though this number equals 10" (Source: http://evolution.massey.ac.nz/assign2/MH/webpage.htm).

In late childhood (about 7 to 12), thinking and problem solving abilities continue to change and increase e.g. major achievements in the use of symbols and language. Most children in this stage can also:

- Think much more systematically and quantitatively.
- Reason processes become logical and they acquire operations; "systems of internal mental actions that underlie logical thinking" (Flavell, Miller & Miller, 1993, from ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the major development milestones in early, middle and late childhood related to the physical development, (b) related to the cognitive development, including the cognitive changes and the role Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory and Vygotsky's Social Constructivist Approach play in understanding cognitive development in early, middle, and late childhood, and (c) related to the socioemotional development, including what types of changes occur in peer relationships between stages. Finally, it discusses how families impact the development of young children.

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