Growth and Development
Changes During Growth and Development
The human being is never static. From the moment he is conceived to the time of death, he undergoes, constant changes. At every stage of development, some changes just begin, others at their peaks and some are in the process of decline. Different types of changes influence the development in different ways. Such changes may be divided into four major categories by Distance Learning Montessori Training:
- Change in size : This include physical changes in height, circumference, and internal organs; and mental imagination. As the child grows, his height, weight and circumference measurements also increase. Similarly, internal organs and structures grow in size in order to take care of increasing needs of the body. Increase in body size is accompanied by modifications of the composition of the body. Gain in weight in babyhood, for example, comes not from increase in fat tissue alone but also from increase in neural, bone, glandular and muscle tissue.
Besides these physical changes in growing child, mental development also shows changes in magnitude. For example, the child’s vocabulary increases and his ability to reason, remember, perceive and the use of creative imagination show an expansion during the growing years.
- Change in proportion : Changes in proportion are also observed both in physical and mental development. A child’s bodily proportions are completely are different from those of an adults. It is only when a child reaches the age of puberty that is proportion tends to approximate those of an adult. Regarding mental development, it has been found that in early childhood imagination dominates the behavior of the child with little or no reference to reality. Gradually imagination gives way to a realistic, commonsense type of imagination. In the same manner, changes also occur in his interest of the child. For example, at first his interests are concentrated on himself and his toys. Gradually, as he grows older, he shifts his interest to other children and the activities of peer groups.
- Disappearance of old characteristics : Among the important physical features to disappear are the thymus gland, often called the ‘gland of babyhood” located in the chest, the pineal gland, at the base of brain, the Babinski and Darwinian reflexes, baby hair and the first set of the teeth. When certain physical features, such as the thymus glands and baby hair and teeth, lose their usefulness, they gradually atrophy, as do some psychological and behavioral traits, babyish locomotion and the speech, like babbling and other types of baby-speech and childish impulses. Similarly the babish types of movement like creeping and crawling and the sensory keenness to taste and smell also disappear.
Acquisition of New Characteristics : Some new mental and physical features develop from learning. Many features may also emerge from the native traits, which were not fully developed at birth. Among the physical features, first and the second teeth appear in the early infancy, whereas the primary and secondary sex characteristics make their appearance during late childhood and early adolescence. According to Pre-Primary Teachers Training new mental features include sex urge, curiosity, moral standards, religious belief, etc.
The process which operates in bringing about these various changes in the development at every stage of life are known as “evolution: i.e. the development of new traits and ‘involution’ i.e., the disappearance of old traits.