Child Development Stages

In this piece of coursework, I am going to study the general development of a child from birth to eight years of age. I aim to be able to discuss and compare their development against the general recognized norms of a child’s development and factors that influence development. The different types of development that I will be examining are the physical growth and physical development, the intellectual development, linguistic development and lastly the emotional and social development of a child. To increase my awareness and knowledge of a child’s development, I am going to analyse and assess a case study based on a child called Marie.

Case study

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Marie is a seven year old girl who lives with twin sister and her mother who is her primary care giver. She has two other siblings, a brother and sister who are older than her but she was not brought up with them as they were put into care when they were three and four years old as their mother could not handle them. However Marie sees her siblings regularly.

Marie never had her father as a permanent part in her life as when she was three years old her dad moved away. He lived with her until she was eighteen months old before he split with her mum.

Marie went to playschool at three years of age and she also moved at the age of three. She has moved to many different primary schools and houses. Marie mixed well with all her peers but mainly females at every school. She has good health apart from a small case of Asthma and a slight eye problem. Her asthma is kept under control with asthma pumps and her eye problem is kept under control wearing glasses.

At the age of six Marie moved house again which interfered with her upbringing as she was out of school for a while and when she went back, she had to make new friends, which became harder to do as she became more self-conscious about herself.

Marie’s birth weight was 4 pounds 5.25 ounces, which is below the ‘norm’ for 7-8 pounds. Marie’s height at birth was approximately 40cm, which again is below the average ‘norm’ of 48-50cm, because of this Marie to be put into an incubator and she was brought home after 10 days.

My interpretation of this case study is basically, Marie has had a hectic childhood life because she has moved around a lot. She hasn’t got two parents which isn’t quite the “norm” and she has had to make friends and leave friends throughout her childhood because she had moved a lot. There has also been a lot of drama in her life with her father leaving and also having a brother and sister in care. She has become self-conscious because she knows she hasn’t any roots as such, she doesn’t have any base from which to direct herself. She will be starting to notice things around her now, with children having two parent families and knowing their siblings.

Key stages of development

There are four broad stages of growth development in a child, these are;

* Infancy (0-1 years)

* Toddler (1-3 years)

* Pre-school (3-5 years)

* School-age (5-8 years)


Infancy is the first stage of childhood. It is generally the period from birth to twelve months, (1year). The first two months of infancy, is called the neonatal period. This represents a time when changes are very rapid, and many critical events can occur. The next stage within infancy is middle infancy. This is a period of rapid growth and weight gain; this is the medical term used for babies who are two months to twelve months. During this period, a baby should be able to meet the milestones that are set, illustrating the development of a baby. Parents need to follow these milestones so that they can follow and assess their child to observe if they are meeting the recommended guidelines or not. For example, in the middle infancy period, a baby should be able to lift its head, roll over, clench their hands etc. if a child is not meeting the milestones, parents can contact professionals to analyse and help the child.


Toddler is a term used for children aged from 1-3 years. This is the stage of life when a child learns to walk and talk. At the age of one a child should be able to walk with help or alone, sit down without help, have one to eight teeth. At the age from two and a half to three years of age, a child should begin to make interest in being toilet trained. A child at this toddler stage should have developed verbal skills and taking an active interest in the world around them. Toddler stage is very important as it the time between infancy and childhood when a child learns and grows in many ways.


Pre-school is for children who are aged three to five years old. Pre-school education aims to encourage children to learn, play and interact with adults and other children. It is important that all children are able to move freely around activities and make choices and this is why pre-school is available to all parents; it is for young children to develop important skills that will be needed when they attend primary school. In general pre-school is to prepare children for primary school. They will know how to socialise with one another and these skills will help and encourage them to make peers when they start primary school.

School age

School age is a term used for children aged five to eight who attend an institution called Primary school. Primary school is where children will be encouraged to interact and play with peers which will help their social skills. School age is when children receive the first stage of compulsory education. This type of education enables children to develop many advanced skills which will enable children to be prepared and ready for the second stage of education which is secondary school.

There are five key areas of development that helps a child develop. These five areas are usually known as an Acronym called PILES;

* Physical development

* Intellectual development

* Linguistic development

* Emotional

* Social development

Physical development

This term physical development is separated into two separate strands. One is for development; this involves gaining fine motor skills and gross motor skills. These two types of developments include the large and small muscles groups. Gross motor skills is the use and development of the large muscles, for example walking, running and climbing. Fine motor skills refers to the small muscles that are used in precise and deliberate movement that enable functions such as writing, grasping small object etc. The second strand of physical development is the Growth. This is about the physical changes in the child, the increase in size, height and weight, these factors are categorised under the physical growth of physical development. This type of development can also be described as aging, the way the body changes as we get older.

Intellectual development

Intellectual development consists of learning to read, write, draw and use memory. Toys and games help develop children’s intellectual ability as they an interactive focus point for the concentration and co-ordination. Children also need interaction with adults and other children in order to stimulate this type of development. This type of development is also known as another term called cognitive thinking.

Linguistic development

This is the acquisition of a baby or child’s first language. In order to develop this key state a child needs regular interaction with adults and other child as they will help them to develop their vocabulary as they will be constantly talking to the child. Some talking toys also help children to develop this key area.

Emotional development

Emotional development is quite a difficult key area of development to measure, but it provides the foundation for mental health and well-being. This type of development starts when children form an attached relationship with their main care giver. As we become older we gain a range of other relationships such as friendships and family relationships. Children can develop and feel many different emotions such as happiness, anger, sadness and many more. Parents should be concerned and pay a great deal of attention to a child’s emotional development, as this key area is highly important because the emotional development will basically influence the way in which they think, feel and act later on in their lives.

Social development

Social development refers to the process by which a child learns to interact with others around them. This key area most often refers to how a child develops relationships with family and peers. In order for a child to be advanced this type of development, they need interactions from their main carers and other children. Lots of social interaction can impact positively on a child development.

Physical Growth

This term physical growth refers to the increase in height, weight and other body changes that occur as a child matures, for example, hair growing, bone structure developing and teeth formation. From the first day that a baby is born, health care workers visit your Newborn every couple of weeks to keep track of weight, length and head size. Growth is good sign of general health, and from health professions keeping records of these different areas of growth, they will be able to detect if the baby is healthy or not. Newborns come in a range of different sizes. Most full-term babies that are 37-40 weeks weigh 7-8 pounds which is considered the average weight. The average length/height of a newborn ranges from 19-21 inches which is 48-53 centimetres, these are the general norms of a Newborn.