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4.7: Developmental Ages and Stages

  • Page ID
    117338
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    Pause to Reflect

    What do you know about the various ages and stages of child development? What interests you in working with children? Do you have a particular age group that brings you more joy? What do you know about that age group?

    Identification of the common characteristics of children at various developmental ages has been around for quite some time. Gesell (mentioned in Chapter 2 – Theories of Early Childhood Education) and Ilg conducted research to identify some of these common characteristics of each developmental age. They published a series of books that provide a comprehensive look at those developmental ages. Parents as well as early childhood professionals have found these helpful to understand how to relate to and interact with children as we socialize and educate them in our homes and our schools

    Other theories have used these to define how to interact with children, what to expect from children, and how a child’s brain develops (Refer back to Chapter 2 Theories of Early Childhood Education). For early childhood professionals, theories help us to set up our curriculum, our environments, our expectations, and build meaningful and engaging relationships with children to support the “whole child.”

    The following graphics provide an overview of these developmental ages and stages (aka milestones). It is important to note that using these age-level charts require discretion. While they help to define “typical” development, children also are unique in their developmental progress. We use them as guidelines to help inform our practice with young children.

    We must always remember:

    • The milestones to gain a deeper understanding of the age group as a whole
    • That each child, within that developmental age group, is a unique individual
    • That children exhibit a range of developmental norms over time
    • To resist the tendency to categorize or stereotype children
    • To observe each child and assess where they are developmentally
    • That each child goes through most of the stages describes, but how they do is the individual nature of who they are
    • To focus on what children can do, to build on their strengths, and to find ways to support areas that need to be more developed
    • That these milestones refer to typically developing children and are not meant in any way to represent a picture of any “one” child

    Note: You may notice that the following charts do not mention spiritual development as one of the domains. There is no specific age nor specific expectations of a child’s spiritual development. This development is ongoing as it is supported by the interactions the child has with the world around them.

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a two-month-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 2 months of age. [53]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a four-month-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 4 months of age. [54]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a six-month-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 6 months of age. [55]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a nine-month-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{4}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 9 months of age. [56]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a one-year-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{5}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 1 year of age. [57]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a 19 month-year-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{6}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 18 months of age. [58]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a two-year-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{7}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 2 years of age. [59]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a three-year-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{8}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 3 years of age. [60]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a four-year-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{9}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 4 years of age. [61]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a five-year-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{10}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 5 years of age. [62]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a six-year-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{11}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 6 years of age. [63]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of a seven-year-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{12}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 7 years of age. [64]

    A graphic showing the develomental milestones of an eight-year-old

    Figure \(\PageIndex{13}\): Developmental milestones typically met around 8 years of age. [65]

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    Pause to Reflect

    Has reading over the developmental milestones of different developmental ages changed your ideas about children? What age group may you be most interested in working with? What age group may present more challenges for you?

    Developmental Factors by Age

    Here is an additional chart to provide more context. While each child develops at their own rate and in their own time and may not match every listed item, here are some general descriptions of children by age:

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Factors Influencing Behaviors by Age [66]

    Age

    General Descriptors

    1-2 Years

    • Like to explore their environment
    • Like to open and take things apart
    • Like to dump things over
    • Can play alone for short periods of time
    • Still in the oral stage, may use biting, or hitting to express their feelings or ideas

    2-3 Years

    • Need to run, climb, push and pull
    • Are not capable of sharing, waiting, or taking turns
    • Want to do things on their own
    • Work well with routine
    • Like to follow adults around
    • Prolong bedtime
    • Say “no”
    • Understand more than he/she can say

    3-4 Years

    • Like to run, jump, climb
    • May grow out of naps
    • Want approval from adults
    • Want to be included “me too”
    • Are curious about everything
    • May have new fears and anxieties
    • Have little patience, but can wait their turn
    • Can take some responsibility
    • Can clean up after themselves

    4-5 Years

    • Are very active
    • Start things but don’t necessarily finish them
    • Are bossy and boastful
    • Tell stories, exaggerate
    • Use “toilet” words in a “silly” way
    • Have active imaginations

    5-6 Years

    • Want everything to be fair
    • Able to understand responsibility
    • Able to solve problems on their own
    • Try to negotiate

     

     

     

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    Quotable

    “I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree, just as the butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited a while, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened, the butterfly started slowly crawling out and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath. In vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear, all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand. That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm.”

    -Nikos Kazantzakis, from Zorba the Greek

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    Pause to Reflect

    How does this quote apply to children’s development? How can you as an early childhood professional honor a child’s current stage of development and not try to hurry them through? How can you respect each stage as an important milestone needed to experience fully in order to move successfully to the next, gradually when that child is ready? What happens when we try to hurry to introduce concepts to children they are not yet ready for?

     


    This page titled 4.7: Developmental Ages and Stages is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Cindy Stephens, Gina Peterson, Sharon Eyrich, & Jennifer Paris (College of the Canyons) .