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Principles of Human Growth & Development

Principles of Growth & Development

There is a set of principles that characterizes the pattern and process of growth and development. These principles describe typical development as a predictable and orderly process. Following are the principles involved in child development:

  1. Development Follows a Pattern or a Sequence-

    Rate of development is different for each child. However, the development of all human beings follows a similar pattern, similar sequence or direction. Sequential pattern of development can be seen in two directions.

Cephalocaudal Sequence- According to this principle, the child first gains control of the head, then the arms, then the legs. Infant gains control of head and face movements within the first two months after birth. In the next few month, they are able to lift themselves up using their arms. By 6 to 12 months of age, infants start to gain leg control and may be able to crawl, stand or walk.

Proximo-distal Sequence- According to this principle, human development takes place from centre to periphery or from centre to extremities.

  1. Development Involves Change-

    Human being is never static. From the moment of conception to the time of death, the person undergoes changes. The major changes include changes in size and proportions acquisition of new mental, motor and behavioural skills. e.g. a child shows language development and better ability to reason and remember.

  2. Development Proceeds from General to Specific-

    In all the phases of pre-natal development and post-natal life, the child’s response are from general to specific. General activity proceeds to specific activity that means the infant is able to grasp an object with the whole hand just after the birth before using only the thumb and forefinger. The infant’s motor movements are very generalised, undirected and reflexive, waving arms or kicking before being able to reach or creep towards an object.

  3. Development is Correlated or Integrated-

    All types of development i.e. physical, mental, social and emotional is related to one another. E.g. child who is physically healthy is likely to have superior sociability and emotional stability. The child develops as a unified whole, Each area of development is dependent on the other and thus, influences the other developments,

  4. Development is a Continuous Process-

    Development does not occur in spurts, it continues from the moments of conception until the individual reaches maturity. It takes place at a slow regular pace rather than by leaps and bounds. Although, development is a continuous process yet the tempo of growth is not even, during infancy and early years of growth moves swiftly and later it slackens.

  5. Development of Individuality-

    Interaction between heredity and environment influences lead to individual differences in the social and mental development of a child. These differences are caused by the genes one inherits and the environmental conditions like food, medical facilities, psychological conditions and learning opportunities.

  6. Development Occurs at Different Rates for Different Parts of the Body-

    The development of different physical and mental traits is continuous but all parts of the body do not grow at the same time rate. In some parts of body, growth may be rapid while in others, growth will be slow. e.g. brain attains its full maturity around the age of 6 to 8 years; feet, hands and nose reach their maximum size in early adolescence, whereas heart, liver and digestive system grow during adolescence also.

  7. Development Proceeds Stage by Stage-

    The development of the child occurs in different stage. Each stage has certain unique characteristics, which are as follows:

There are individual differences in the rate of growth and development. Therefore, the age limit for different stages should be regarded as just approximate. All children pass through these stages of development at or around the age levels suggested for them. Speech gradually develops from, babbling, monosyllabic sounds to complete sentence formation.

  1. Early Development is More Important than Later Development-

    Early childhood experience, have more impact on the development of child. It includes nutritional, emotional, social and cultural experience. 10. Development is Predictable- It is possible for us to predict at an early age the range within which the mature development of the child is likely to fall. However, mental development cannot be predicted with the same degree of accuracy.

  2. Social Learning Theory/Fractional Reinforcement Theory-

    This theory formulated by N. E. Miller and J. Dollard is given in 1941. According to this theory, people learn by watching what others do. By initiating the observed actions, the individual learns the action. Positive reinforcement is provided to children so that they repeat the expected behaviour. Reinforcement and punishment have effects on both behaviour and learning.

  3. Development do not Proceeds at the Same Pace for all (Theory of Maturation)-

    This theory was developed by Gesell. According to this theory, children go through similar stages of growth, although each child may move through these stages at their own rate. e.g. all children learn to walk around the same age but some may learn faster than the others.

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