We have already noted that maturation and learning are very fundamental ingredients in growth and development. It is also important for us to recognize that there are some general trends in the nature of a child’s growth and development.
This is of practical importance for preschool teachers, caregivers and all those who work with children.
These trends are discussed below:
The functioning of some motor skills will come after the maturation of the structures.
For example, the structure muscles have to be developed before the ability to coordinate effectively.
It is a fact that by the time a child is 5 years old 75% of an adult brain weight is developed but this does not imply that the child has the capability of certain kinds of abstract thinking.
Rather, the rapid growth is due to the increase in size and complexities associated with the brain cell instead of supposed increase in the number of cells.
The direction of a child’s growth is from the general to the specific. Children move from general responses to more differentiated and specific responses. They learn ideas and skills which in time give way to more detailed specifics.
Read Also: Definition and Different Kinds of Learning
For example, as from the age of 6 weeks an average child gives a smile to almost everyone around him but by the time he is about 6 months old, he develops differentiation. His smile now comes only in recognition of familiar adult faces especially those of the mother and father.
A child’s growth is sequential and this has universal application irrespective of culture, nationality or social class. For example, a child must sit and, crawl before he starts talking.
The growth of a child is irregular yet orderly. Growth and development involves a much more complex interaction of many factors-physical, social, intellectual, emotional – such that any problem in one area will affect other areas.
For example, disruption in mental development of a child will affect his physical and social behaviour. This may be responsible for great discrepancy between the mental age and chronological age of a child.
In summary, a thorough knowledge of the growth, development and maturation of the preschool child will contribute to the effective teaching and understanding of the child.
Growth refers to increase in size, weight and height. Development refers to quantitative and qualitative changes occurring in the child over time.
Maturation (comes from inside) and learning (from outside faction) influence development of behaviour. There are basic trends in the growth and developments of the child.