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7.5: Development and Learning

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    “Development” and “learning” are two integrated concepts that we promote as teachers. As children are “learning” new concepts and skills, they are fostering their “development”. Our goal is to encourage the development of the “whole child” (physical, cognitive, social, emotional, spiritual) by providing learning experiences based on children’s interests and abilities, a concept known as “intentional teaching”.

    Although children learn in an integrated manner (blending all areas of development together) these areas are often broken down for planning purposes. While we looked at this in chapter 5, Developmental Ages and Stages, to understand development, the same is true when planning curriculum.

    A boy is drawn surrounded by the followinng phrases: cognitive development, language development, gross motor development, fine motor development, social development, and emotional development. All these words, and the boy, are connected by arrows to demonstrate how they intersect.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): All areas of development affect and are affected by each other [69]

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\) below shows the relationship between the domains of development and concepts of learning.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Relationship between Development and Learning [70]




    Science, Technology, Math


    Language and Literacy


    Health, Safety, Nutrition, Self-Help Skills, Physical Education

    Social, Emotional, Spiritual

    Social Science, Visual and Performing Arts



    Javier and Ji are playing in the block area. They have stacked several large blocks on top of each other. Twice the blocks have fallen and each time they have modified their plan slightly to make them stay. Once stable, Ji counts the blocks and Javier turns to the teacher and proudly says, “Look at our 5 story building, you should shop here.”


    Pause to Reflect

    Can you find development and learning for Javier and Ji in each of the categories listed in the table above?

    If you are interested in further exploration, the California Learning Foundations that describe competencies and the companion California Preschool Curriculum Framework present strategies for early childhood educators. You can explore each of these:

    These will also be visited in more detail in ECE 104 Introduction to Curriculum.

    This page titled 7.5: Development and Learning is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Cindy Stephens, Gina Peterson, Sharon Eyrich, & Jennifer Paris (College of the Canyons) .