The Early Childhood Development

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Between the ages of two and six years, early childhood is the second developmental period. During this stage, a child experiences physical, cognitive, and social changes that are distinct from the other developmental stages. For example, one of the physical changes is an increase in the number of baby teeth, which are replaced by permanent teeth by the age of six. The brain grows to 90% of its adult size, while the body grows in weight and height, resulting in a larger posture. Furthermore, children have well-developed vision and can distinguish between objects, colors, and familiar and unfamiliar settings (Charlesworth, 2013).As a result of increased body size, their energy consumption increases due to increased physical movements. Other physical changes include increase in heads size and shape as well as a hearing acuity, thus a child can easily answer questions, explain things as well as follow instructions. By the age of six years, a child is almost an adult in terms of body and brain size.

The social changes that follow early childhood development differ as the age increases. For instance, at two years, a child begins to show empathy, enjoys participating in chores as well as imitating other children and adults around. Apart from that, the child cannot make decisions on their own and become violent when they do not get what they want. As such, they order parents or care givers to have their wishes fulfilled. At the age of four to six years, children become more friendly to their peers an hence enjoy group plays hence form social relationships. They also become independent with daily routines such as dressing and therefore take pride in simple accomplishments (Charlesworth, 2013). Additionally, children at this stage can also control their emotions hence no frequent crying. Since they cannot understand moral and ethical standards they have to be governed with rules and regulations and hence may feel unloved and fear parents and caregivers.

As with social changes, cognitive changes are dependent with age. At the age of two years, a child shows better coordination with hands and legs and hence can play with toys. They display a heighten3d curiosity about the world and can therefore attempt to name objects, as well as recognize and point out exact location of any pain. At the age of 3 and 4, the child can display understandable speech, listen to child related stories and becomes able to produce verbs and correct nouns. By the age of six, a child can understand concepts of time, money denominations such s coin as well as differentiate between numerals and alphabets since can undertake innumerable questions (Charlesworth, 2013). As well, the child is also eager to know hence becomes more inquisitive both at home and in school.

Erikson's stages of psychosocial development are a theory that outlines the various stages of development from infancy to late adulthood. The theory states that each individual must pass through these different stages, which are determined, by ecological, natural scheme as well as the cultural upbringing of the individual (Keenan, Evans, & Crowley, 2016). As such, every stage is as a result of successful completion on the previous stage and failure in one stage can therefore result in future problems. However, some failures are not permanent thus can be modified in later stages. This theory is important in the understanding of early childhood development because it outlines the different stages that early childhood covers and hence outlines the expected outcome for this stage. As such, the theory fits best in the explanation of early childhood development.

According to Erikson, early childhood development covers two stages including the will stage which occurs between the age of two and four years and the purpose stage which occurs between the age of 4 and 6 years. As the theory states, the will stage also known as autonomy versus guilt and shame focuses on the ability of the child to become what they want. As such, it is a stage where children are most inquisitive, since they are aware of their surroundings. With the help of their parents and caregivers the children become autonomous thus develop their first interests (Keenan, Evans, & Crowley, 2016). It is during this stage that children develop an ability to handle problems on their own and a sense of independence. However, if care givers are expect too much or fail to let the children perform tasks on their own the children may on the other hand feel shame and hence doubt their capabilities.

As Erikson's theory states, the second stage of early childhood development (purpose) is also known as initiative versus guilt stage. At this stage, the child is challenged by the complexity involving planning and developing a sense of judgment. As such, the child develops the ability to take initiative as they prepare for leadership as well as goal achieving roles. The children may therefore be involved in risk taking activities such as walking home from school alone as well as crossing streets on their own. If a child a child develops frustration at this stage, they may also involve themselves in negative behaviors (Keenan, Evans, & Crowley, 2016). As such, parents and other caregivers should assist children at this stage to accomplish projects that demand too much to ensure the children develop initiative and hence independence. Discouraging or dismissing their initiative taking only results in guilt making the children unable to achieve their needs and desires.

Culture can impact the development of a child in terms of the language and moral standards the culture displays. During the stage of early childhood development, a child is exposed to certain moral and ethical values depending on the culture of the parents and care givers. As such, the child is in a position to imitate the behavior of those close to them and hence adopt their moral and ethical values (Keenan, Evans, & Crowley, 2016). For instance, Japanese children may develop modesty due to their culture as opposed to Hispanic children whose culture reveres self-esteem.

Culture may also influence the language spoken by the child because different cultures prefer different languages. Children who are not exposed to the English language early enough in life tend to have problems when they start learning the language. As such, the culture of certain people may affect their ability to learn certain languages. Apart from that, culture also affects the parenting styles and hence affects the development of the child (Keenan, Evans, & Crowley, 2016). Some cultures use harsh methods to discipline their children hence bringing up fearful and timid children and vice versa.


Charlesworth, R. (2013). Understanding child development. Cengage Learning.

Keenan, T., Evans, S., & Crowley, K. (2016). An introduction to child development. Sage.

April 19, 2023

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