Child development

1. Understand the development and learning of babies and young children.

1.1 Explain the pattren of developments in the first three years of life and the skills typically acquired at each stage.

Babies and toddlers show amazing progress in all aspects of their development from birth to three years, considering they are born with simple reflexes and are quite helpless and dependent. It is essential to have a good understanding of the development stages in this group in order to support their development.

The changes that occur in a child’s development in the first few years of life are truly remarkable. Practitoners note children’s development as they begin to smile, laugh, sit, crawl, babble and talk. Children begin to socialize and play cooperatively with other children. They acquire important skills to get along with others such as turn-taking, sharing and following instructions, as well as skills that will help them academically such as drawing, counting, reading, and writing.(REF: Early child development usually follows a sequence, as the child needs to master one skill before he/she can acquire the next, but all children develop at their own rate. At times, a child may take a long time to master a new skill; at other times, he/she may seem to skip a skill in the expected sequence in his/hers speed of development. Through careful observation, assessment and communication with the child’s key worker, they can draw a clear picture of the child within their setting.

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1.2 Explain:
How development and learning are interconnected
How and why variations occur in rate and sequence of development of learning That learning may take place in different ways
The importance of play

Development and learning are closely tied. Children need to develop certian skills in order for them to learn, but also the desire to learn something or achieve a goal can motivate a child to develop the necessary skills. A good example of this is walking, for a baby to begin to walk, a level of coordination and growth is required, but the baby must also have the desire to walk. during the process of learning to walk, the child will develop balance, strength in the legs, and improved coordination. Once the child can walk, a whole new world can be discovered as the child can now reach things and see things from an different level. Therefore, Learning to walk has improved both the child’s physical development, and his or her cognition. It is not fully understood why some children appear to learn faster than others, but it is thought that there both genetic and environmental factorsat play. Some children have learning difficulties that prevent them from learning in the same way – or at the same rate – as other children. The causes of learning difficulties vary and include chromosomal conditions, medical conditions and others that are not yeat understood, however, although the term ‘ learning difficulties’ is used, it does not mean that such children will have difficulties in learning in every area of their lives. So some children will learn some skills, for example the ability to draw or socialise, at the same rate as others. Some children are seen as ‘bright’ very early on. Adults may notice how quicky the remember things and how fast they are to learn new skills. For these children, it would seem that they are able to process information more quickly and effectively than other children of the same age.

This is thought to be linked to the presence of a stimulating environment combined with a strong genetic component. Children can learn in a variety of ways. They can copy adults and other children, they can also learn from thier own experiences as they will repeat activities that fascinate them or are enjoyable. Interestingly, most of what babies and toddlers will learn comes from ‘doing’ rather than being ‘taught’ by adults. As children can learn in variety of ways, it is important for us to provide them with a range of different opportunities and experiences. Play is essential for children’s development. through play, children can delelop a variety of skills that support every area of development. Good play opportunities allow children not only to have fun and to explore, but also to learn about materials, concepts and how to socialise. Play begins very early on in babies’ lives as long as they have an adult who can engage with them. As children grown an develop, they are able to choose and create their own play;

Physical – A range of physical skills, including fine and gross motor skills, are developed as children make movements, balance or sit in order to play with toys or engage in games with adluts. Cognitive – Children learn concepts and about the world around them by playing with materials, resources and learning by trial and error what things can do. Language – Play gives children a reason for taking and communicating. At first this is with adluts, but as children can play together, they talk to each other. Emotional – Play is fun. It makes children feel happy and also helps them to feel powerful and learn about feelings; when they engage in role play they also learn about different perspectives. Social – From playing with adults, babies learn social skills such as talkingturns and co-operating. They so learn to ‘read’ faces. With age and language skills. children also learn to play with other children.

1.3 Explain the potential effects on development, of pre-conceptual, pre-birth and birth experiences.

All babies and children show different rates of development,but some do so because of difficulties linked to experiences during conception, pregnancy and birth. We know that even before a baby is conceived, the lifestyle of the parents can have an effect on thier potential development. this is because men’s sperm and woman’s ova can be easily damaged. Parents are advised to think about stopping smoking, about taking folic acid supplements, cuttting down on alcohol and avoiding recreational drugs. They are also advised not to leave starting a family too late because not only does it become harder for a woman to conceive as they get older, but also the quality of a woman’s eggs can deteriorate over time.


At the moment of conception, when a sperm and egg fuse, a transfer of genetic information takes place. the fertilised eggs will have 23 chromosomes from the father and 23 chromosomes from the mother, which are used to determine its development. This is mixing of genetic information is often described as nature’s lottery, as some medical conditions and disabilities are the result ofthis genetic combination.


Between conception and birth, babies can be affected by the health of their mother as well as her lifestyle choices. Stress, deit and alcohol are examples of factors that can affect development. It is now recognised that the first twelev weeks of pregnancy is when the foetus is at it’s most vulnerable. During this time the foetus becomes recognisably human and all the organs are formed.


Smoking restricts the amount of oxygen the unborn baby is getting and affects the groth and development. Bbaies born to mothers who smoke are therefore more likely to be lighter at birth and also premature. Ther seems to be other long-lasting effects on health as well. These include a higher incidence of cot death and a greater predisposition to asthma. Substance abuse

the use of recreational and prescribed drugs can affect the developing foetus. Drugs enter the mother’s blood stream and the cross via the placenta into the baby. the effect of drugs can be devastating – especially in the first twelve weeks when the foetus is developing. Pregnant woman are therefore advised not to take any drugs during their pregnacy unless told to do so by a doctor.


Alcohol can enter the foetus’s blood stream in the same way that drugs can. Again this can have a serious impact, especially in the first few weeks of a pregnancy when sometimes mothers may not even know their pregnant but the baby is at a critical point of development. During the rest of the prgnancy alcohol can effect the development of the bay an so doctors advised mothers not to drink threw out their pregnancy. A specific condition known as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which is cuased by alcohol during pregnancy, has now been identifed. This condition negatively affects aspects of the children’s cognitive development including their concentration.


Some infections that a mother may pick up during pregnancy can affect the development of the foetus. The common cold is harmless, but food poisoning, rubella or sexually transmitted disease such as genital herpes can put the unborn baby at risk. Babies who have been exposed to rebella often have sight and hearing problems.

Maternal Health

Most women should have healthy pregnancies, but some woman can develop complications, including diabetes and pre-eclampsia (which can even be fatal). If left undereated, these conditions can affect the health of both mother and baby. This is why pregnant women are offered refu;ar antental check ups.

Maternal Diet

Diet is particularly important in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy when lack of a mineral called folic acid, found in green leafy vegetables, can cause spina bifida. Women who are consirdering a pregnancy are therfore urged to take supplements of 400mcg of folic acid daily untilthe twelfth week of their pregnancy. Pregnant woman can also become deficient in iron and so are encouraged to eat high in iron such as red meat, green vegetables, dried apircots and fortified breakfeast cereals.

The process of birth can present various dangers to both mother and child, which is why mothers are monitored before and during birth. Most women give birth vaginally but sometimes a Caesarean Section is given. This is when an incision of approximately 20cm is made across the lower abdomen and the baby is delivered through this opening; the mother is given an anaesthetic beforehand. A Caesarean may be planned in advance, for example when a woman is carrying triplets, or may have to be carried out at short notice if there are difficulties when giving birth. The main danger for babies during the birthing process is a lack of oxygen. During labour, the oxygen supply to the baby might be interrupted for several reasons, including the umbilical cord becoming entangled or the baby being slow to breathe at birth. In extreme cases anoxia can be fatal or leave the baby with permanent brian damage. It is important to emphasise. However, that this is relatively rare and most abies are born safely.

Cite this page

Child development. (2016, Mar 06). Retrieved from

Child development
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