The general stages of child development are classified into 3 broad categories: Early childhood, middle childhood and adolescent stage. In this article, we are going to focus on the first stage of childhood. In research and theories, the Early Childhood period is usually defined from age 0-8 years. However, due to cultural differences, some countries like in the United States may consider ages 0-5 years to be categorized under this phase.
Early Childhood Stage
Early Childhood is the most eventful stage in all areas of growth. Here you will witness how newborns develop into a young person who can walk, talk and understand the world around her. Different skills are established during this phase including physical, mental and language development.
From birth to 3 years, a child experiences rapid growth in physical appearance. They typically double in height and increases weight in bodily proportions. The face shifts into an adult-like appearance with more obvious features. Furthermore, as children grow physically, their motor skills develop. They become capable of performing more complex actions. Large muscles in the arms and legs are strengthened allowing them to walk, run, balance and extend their movements. Smaller muscles in the fingers, face and toes allow intricate actions such as smiling, drawing and other tasks using their hands and feet.
While physical growth is observed to slow down between 5 to 8 years old, motor skills are enhanced and a remarkable phase of brain development is seen within the early childhood stage. Cognitive abilities associated with thinking, reasoning and problem solving progress throughout childhood. Their memory is enhanced and senses are developed. Children begin to realize the cause and effect of their actions teaching them to interact with other people.
Through extensive study, professionals have estimated for a child to learn up to 1000 to 3000 words as a part of their vocabulary from before birth to 3 years. Yes, language development actually begins inside the mother’s womb. A fetus is capable of sound and speech recognition until they are able to use language to describe things and interrelate with people around them. Language is also credited to be the most important tool in enhancing cognitive development. With the use of words and sentences, they are able to express what their brain processes and help solve problems.
Overall, the early stage of childhood can be considered as one of the most important phases in child development. This is the phase where rapid changes in terms of physical and cognitive growth occur. Childhood is when they develop their understanding of the world around them as they learn how to interact and communicate with others.