Principles of Growth and Development.

Principles of Growth and Development.

Introduction :-

Human development involves change. This change occurs at various stages of development and the development pattern at each stage has predictable characteristics. However, learning depends on the process of maturing i.e. individual readiness (mental and physical) for certain activities. There is a set of principles that characterise the pattern and process of growth and development. These principles or characteristics describe typical development as a predictable and orderly process, that is, we can predict how most children will develop and that they will develop at the same rate and at about the same are individual differences in children's personalities, activity levels,
and timing of developmental milestones such as ages and stages, the principles and characteristics of development are universal patterns. 

As human growth and development is based on certain principles which are as under :

1. Development proceeds from the head downward. This is called the cephalocaudle principle. This principle describes the direction of growth and development. According to this principle, the child gains control of the head first, then the arms, and then the legs. Infants develop control of the head and face movements within the first two months after birth. In the next few months, they are able to lift themselves up by using their arms. By 6 to 12 months of age, infants start to gain leg control and may be able to crawl, stand, or walk. Coordination of arms always precedes coordination of legs.

2. Development proceeds from the center of the body outward. This is the principle of proximodistal development that also describes the direction of development. This means that the spinal cord develops before outer parts of the body. The child's arms develop before the hands and the hands and feet develop before the fingers and toes. Finger and toe muscles (used in fine motor dexterity) are the last to develop in physical development.

3. Development depends on maturation and learning. Maturation refers to the sequential characteristic of biological growth and development. The biological changes occur in sequential order and give children new abilities. Changes in the brain and nervous system account largely for maturation. These changes in the brain and nervous system help children to improve in thinking (cognitive) and motor (physical) skills. Also, children must mature to a certain point before they can progress to new skills (Readiness). Also, a child can't write or draw until he has developed the motor control to hold a pencil or crayon. Maturational patterns are innate, that is, genetically programmed. The child's environment and the learning that occurs as a result of the child's experiences largely determine whether the child will reach optimal development.

4. Development proceeds from the simple (concrete) to the more complex. Children use their cognitive and language skills to reason and solve problems. For example, learning relationships between things (how things are similar), or classification, is an important ability in cognitive development. The first level of thinking about how objects are alike is to give a description or functional relationship (both concrete thoughts) between the two objects. As children develop further in cognitive skills, they are able to understand a higher and more complex relationship between objects and thing. The child cognitively is then capable of classification.

5. Growth and development is a continuous process. As a child develops, he or she adds to the skills already acquired and the new skills become the basis for further achievement and mastery of skills. Most children follow a similar pattern. Also, one stage of development lays the foundation for the next stage of development. For example, in motor development, there is a predictable sequence of developments that occur before walking. Development is a continuous process from conception to death. In the early years of life, development consists of changes that lead the child to maturity not only of body size and functioning, but also of behaviour. Even after maturity has been attained, development does not end. Changes continue which lead to the period of life known as senescence or old age. These changes continue until death ends the life cycle. Development depends on the growth and maturity of individuals who interact with the environment.

6. Growth and development proceed from the general to specific. Growth occurs from large muscle movements to more refined (smaller) muscle movements. Development proceeds from general to specific. In all areas of development, general activity always precedes specific activity. In early postnatal life, infants wave their arms randomly. They can make such specific responses as reaching out for an object near them. In language, from genetic sounds emerge words and then specific sentences with meaning. With respect to emotional behaviour infants approach strange and unusual objects with some sort of a general fear response. Later, their fears become more specific and elicit different kinds of behaviour, such as crying, turning away and hiding or pretending to be not afraid.

7. There are individual rates of growth and development. Each child is different and the rates at which individual children grow is different. Although the patterns and sequences for growth and development are usually the same for all children, the rates at which individual children reach developmental stages will be different. Understanding this fact of individual differences in rates of development should cause us to be careful about using and relying on age and stage characteristics to describe or label children. There is a range of ages for any developmental task to take place. Rates of development also are not uniform within an individual child. For example, a child's intellectual development may progress faster than his emotional or social development.

8. Growth and development proceed in sequence. Most psychologists agree that development is sequential or orderly. Every species, whether animal or human, follows a pattern of development peculiar to it. This pattern in general is the same for all individuals. The directional sequence of development during both prenatal and postnatal stages may either be (i) from head to foot, or (ii) from the central axis to the extremities of the body. All children follow a development pattern with one stage leading to the next. Infants stand before they walk; draw circles before they make squares.

9. Principle of differentiality. Individuals differ in the rate of growth and development. Boys and girls have different development rates. Each part of the body has its own particular rate of growth. Development does not occur at an even pace. There are periods of great intensity and equilibrium and there are periods of imbalance. Development achieves a plateau and this may occur at any level or between levels. Developmental changes do not always go forward in a straight line. While the development of different physical and mental traits is continuous, it is never uniform. Since the body has to attain its adult proportions, inequalities in rates occur. The feet, hands and nose, for example, reach maximum development early in adolescence, while the lower part of the face and the shoulders develop more slowly.

Educational Implications :-

1. Development is a continuous and non-stop process at all periods and stages of human life. Therefore, we should strive to achieve perfection development in the different dimension of our personality terms of

2. Understanding individual differences reminds us, each child should be helped along the developmental process within the sphere of his/her own strength and limitations.

3. Understanding general to specific responses" helps us to plan the learning processes and arrange suitable learning experiences so as to achieve maximum gains in terms of growth and development.

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