Stages Of Cognitive Development In Life Various Stages Of development In Life B.Ed Books and Notes

Various Stages Of Development In Life

1.   Prenatal Period

2.   Postnatal Period

1.   Prenatal Period

Conception To Birth





2.   Postnatal



First Two Years Of Birth


2 To 6 Years

Middle/Late Childhood

6 To 12 Years


12 To 19 Years

Early Adulthood

20 To 40 Years

Middle Adulthood

40 To 65 Years

Late Adulthood

65 Years And Older


Prenatal Period:- The nine months  period the fetus spends in the mother’s womb is known as Prenatal Period of life span.

Post Natal Period :- The period from the first time the child is born from mother’s womb and comes to the external environment makes up the Post Natal Period of life span.


Physical Development

At birth, the infant's most important movements are reflexes-automatic movements in response to specific stimuli. The most important reflexes are the rooting, sucking, and Swallowing responses, if a baby's cheek is lightly touched, he or she will turn the head toward the direction of the touch (the rooting response). If the object makes contact with the baby's lips, the baby will open the mouth and begin sucking. When milk or any other liquid enters the mouth, the baby will automatically make swallowing movements. Obviously, these reflexes are important for the baby's survival, such as in finding and food. More sophisticated movements, such as crawling and standing, develop and are refined through natural maturation and practice.

Cognitive Development

We cannot talk to infants and expect to get any answers; we must use their nonverbal behaviour as an indicator of what they can perceive. We have known for a long time that a newborn's senses function at least to a certain extent. We know that the auditory system can detect sounds because the baby will show a startle reaction when presented with a sudden, loud noise. Similarly, a bright light will elicit eye closing and squinting. A cold object or a pinch will produce crying, so the sense of touch must be present. If held firmly and tilted backward, a baby will stiffen and flail his or her arms and legs, indicating that babies have a sense of balance. Newborn infants indicate their taste preferences by facial expression and by choosing to swallow or not to swallow different liquids. When an infant is given a sweet liquid, the face relaxes in an expression rather like a smile; but when it is given a sour or bitter liquid, the face indicates displeasure.

As children grow, their nervous systems mature and they undergo new experiences. Perceptual and motor skills develop in complexity and competency. Children learn to recognize particular faces and voices begin to talk and respond to the speech of others and learn how to solve problems.

 Social Development

Because babies are totally dependent on their parents, the development of attachment between parent and infant in crucial to the infants survival. A baby has the innate ability to shape and reinforce the behaviour of the parent. Infants are normally afraid of novel stimuli, but the presence of their caregivers provides secure base from which they can explore new environments.

Development also involves the acquisition of social skills interaction with peers is probably the most important factor in social development among children. However, a caregiver's style of parenting can also have strong effects on the social development of children. Example: authoritative parents, compared to authoritarian and permissive parents, tend to rear competent, self-reliant and independent children.

 Moral Development

Around early childhood the young ones learn approved and unapproved behaviour. They must be trained appropriately thus aiding moral development. It is based on:

1) Parents who teach children right from wrong must be consistent, otherwise the child gets confused.

2) A mistake must not be appreciated, approved or smiled upon - it reinforces learning of wrong behaviour.

 3) Too much punishment wrecks havoc with the child. Praise, awards and rewards for good behaviour and rare and consistent punishment develop moral fiber.

4) The system must not be authoritarian but based on love and acceptance of the child.

The Parents who teach the children right from wrong must be consistent. Children get confused when adults teach them that what was wrong yesterday is considered right today, and hence over looked.

Inconsistency between two adults also confuse children. If the mistake of the child is punished by parents but approved and appreciated by others, specially peers, then the child has a positive attitude towards wrong behaviour. Often delinquency arises out of such behaviour. Therefore not only the mistake, but also the attitude towards it needs to be checked.

Moral Behaviour

The code of conduct and morality learnt at home is now extended to the social group. The child makes a conscious choice to be part of the peer group. Moral code is developed on the basis of general rather than specific situations. Discipline also helps in this process.

Note:- Use of rewards, punishment and consistent application of rules enable the child to develop moral behaviour.


When childhood comes adolescence, the threshold to adulthood. (In Latin, adolescere means to grow up"). The transition between childhood and adulthood " is as much social as it is biological. In some societies, people are considered to be adults as soon as they are sexually mature, at which time they may assume adult rights and responsibilities, including marriage.

Physical Development

Puberty came from the Latin word 'puber', meaning "adult"), the period during which people's reproductive systems mature, marks the beginning of the transition from childhood to adulthood. Many physical changes occur during this stage: people reach their ultimate height, develop increased muscle size and body hair, and become capable of reproduction. There is also a change in social roles. As a child, a person is dependent on parents, teachers, and other adults. As an adolescent,

he or she is expected to assume more responsibility. Relations with peers also suddenly change: members of one's own sex become potential rivals for the attention of members of other sex.

Social Development

During adolescence, a person's behaviour and social roles change dramatically. Adolescence is not simply a continuation of childhood: it marks a real transition from the dependency of childhood to the relative independence of adulthood. Adolescence is also a period during which many people seek out new experiences and engage in reckless behaviour-behaviour that involves psychological, physical. And legal risks for them as well as for others, as for example, speeding in a car, having sexual relations, and using illegal drugs.

Cognitive Development

 A focal point in adolescent development is the formation of an identity. Forming an identity has two primary components-the crisis itself and the commitment or decision regarding a specific course of action after consideration of possible alternatives. An adolescent's identity may also be influenced by gender issues such as female's greater tendency to desire to form close relationships with others. The nature friendship changes during adolescence. Girls seek out confidants rather than playmates and boys join groups that provide mutual support in their quests to assert their independence. Sexuality becomes important and many people engage in sexual intercourse in their teens.

Although adolescence brings conflicts between parents and children, these conflicts tend to be centered on relatively minor issues. Most adolescents hold the same values and attitudes concerning important issues as their parents do. Mood swings during adolescence can be dramatic, but on the whole, teenagers report that they are generally happy and self-confident. Moral Development By adolescence, the mechanism of moral code should be developed. Morality must be rooted in internal control and not external agencies such as fear, punishment and social consequences. While these factors deter the adolescent he/she learns to decide on his/her own.


It is much easier to outline child or adolescent development than adult development: children and adolescents change faster, and the changes are closely related to age. Adult development is much more variable because physical changes in adults are more gradual. Mental and emotional changes during adulthood are more closely related to individual experience than to age. Some people achieve success and satisfaction with their careers, while some hate their jobs. Some marry and have happy family lives, while others never adjust to the roles of spouse and parent. No single description of adult development will fit everyone.

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