Development from conception age

Cognitive development is the area of development connected with knowledge. Understanding and reasoning language development is very closely linked with cognitive development and delay in one area usually affects progress in another. “Cognitive development is about the process of thinking, organising information and learning abstract concepts.”

Stages of Cognitive development from ages 0-3 years.

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Stage of development


Able to explore, using senses e.g. putting rattle in mouth. Are beginning to develop basic concepts such as hunger, or if they are cold and wet. They are often able to imitate for example, copying adults, who open their mouth wide or stick out their tongue.

1 month

Will begin to recognise main carer and respond with movement. They can repeat pleasurable movements such as thumb sucking and wriggling. They can now turn regards to a nearby speakers face.

3 months

Are more interested in their surroundings. Begin to understand cause & effect; if you move a rattle, it will make a sound. They are able to laugh & vocalise with increasing tone and intensity.

6 months

Expect things to behave in certain ways for example, jack-in-the-box will pop up, but is unlikely to play a tune. They are able to talk to themselves in a tuneful, singsong voiced.

9 months

Recognise pictures of familiar things e.g. looking at pictures of their own families. They can watch a toy being hidden and then look for it. They enjoy communicating with sounds e.g. babbling to an adult.

12-15 months

Explore objects trial & error methods. They can begin to point and follow when others point. They can begin to treat objects in appropriate ways – cuddle a doll, talk into a telephone. They can seek out hidden objects in the most likely places.

18 months- 2 years

Refers to themselves by name e.g. “My name is Tom” they can begin to understand the consequences of their own actions, for example, a wet patch. Might show understanding of how others feel e.g. comforting a crying baby. Know and name the parts of their bodies, can point to them when asked.

3 years

Can match primary colours. Can sort objects into categories, but usually only one criterion at a time e.g. all the cars from a selection of vehicles, but not the cars that are red. Ask a lot of ‘why’ questions. E.g. “why is the sky blue?”

Can recite the number words, but not able to count beyond 2 or 3. Begin to understand the concept of time – talk about what happened and look forward to what is going to happen.

Can concentrate on an activity for a short period of time, leave it, and then go back to it. Begin to understand the concept of quantity – one, more, lots.

4 years

Can sort with more categories and can solve problems, usually by trial and error, and begin to understand ‘why’. They can also add to their own knowledge by asking questions continually. Memory skills are now developing particularly around their specific times such as holidays, birthdays, and familiar songs or stories. They can now include detail to drawings often based in observations. They can sometimes now confuse reality and fantasy for example “I had a tiger come to my house for tea.”

5 years

By now, they have a good sense of past, present and the future, they are becoming more literate most of them will recognise their own name and write it, respond to books amid are interested in reading. They can demonstrate good observational skills in their drawings e.g. drawing what they enjoy doing in their free time. They can understand the one-to-one principle and can also now count to 10. Their concentration is now developing better and they can concentrate on a task without being distracted for about 10 minutes.

6 years

They can now begin to understand the mathematical concept of measuring – time, length, capacity and volume. They are also interested in why things happen and can figure out a reason why e.g. tower of 15 or more blocks will fall over if they are not built up straight. They can now begin to use symbols in their drawings and paintings.

7 years

They are able to keep a number – for example, they know that there are ten sweets whether they are pushed close together or spread apart. They can express themselves in speech and writing. They can now use a computer mouse and computer for simple word processing. They enjoy the challenge of experimenting with new materials and enjoy learning mathematical and scientific concepts such as adding and subtracting numbers, and can perform simple calculations in their head. They may be interested in design models. They enjoy learning about living things and about the world around them. They are able to make reasonable conclusions and to understand cause and effect.

Stages of emotional development from ages 0-7 year




Effects and Personality

0-1 years

Basic trust versus mistrust

Babies have to decide whether the world and the people around them are safe and friendly or hostile.

If a baby’s needs are not met, they may decide the world is a hostile world, this can mean they find harder to form a relationship

2-3 years

Autonomy versus shame and doubts

Children are learning how to explore their environment and develop some control over their body and bowel movements. They may try to do things

If children are not given encouragement to explore or are made to feel guilty about themselves. This can be mean and may make them less independent when they are older

4-5 years

Initiative versus guilty

Children are increasingly able to plan and carry out activities, they also need to learn about their role which is similar to Freud’s phallic stage

Children need to feel they are independent, although they also need to learn what boundaries of their behaviours are, too much control may result fearful, dependent children whereas a permissive attitude may leave children without any guilt


Industry versus inferiority

In this stage children are comparing themselves to other children

Children, who experience failure and notice that they are as not competent in some areas as their peers, may lose confidence and feel inferior. Children in this stage who meet only in success may become over-confident and lack humility and empathy.