Early Child Development

Early Child Development

Hatice Bekir (Gazi Faculty of Education, Gazi University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2952-2.ch010
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Early childhood is a period that is associated with the development process of children. It was determined that physical, motor, cognitive, language, emotional and social development, which was created in accordance with the characteristics of the developmental period of children in the early childhood, did not change much direction in later ages, the improvement in the same direction was higher. In the early childhood, children begin to learn the rules of society limited to their own environment. They understand language and show great development. Socialization and gender awareness begin to form. The researches revealed that behaviors and attitudes gained during this period shape the habits, attitudes, beliefs, value judgments and personality traits of the individual when they are adults. In this section, the changes in physical, motor, cognitive, language, emotional-social development of the first childhood are examined.
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Development is a concept that expresses the regular, harmonious, continuous progress and change that a person has gone through her life. Development is an interrelated issue that needs to be addressed as a whole. The situation in any development area affects other areas as well. Although individuals exhibit relatively different characteristics, it is assumed that each individual reaches a certain stage of development according to the age variable. In the preschool period, which is accepted as the critical period of development, development is affected by many factors. Development is a whole with physical, motor, cognitive, language, social-emotional fields. The development of the child in each field is interrelated. Without proper environment and proper interaction, obstacles occur in developmental areas. While each child is unique, all children follow a certain pattern of speed and development. If we understand the child correctly in the early childhood and offer the necessary support in this context, we can expect to see today's children as well-educated adults in the future. Therefore, it is a necessity and well-known fact that development is well known.

Clarifying the basic concepts in development will be useful for a better understanding of the issues. Below are some common concepts of development.

  • Growth; refers to changes in height, weight and volume in the body. Growth occurs at different speeds in different organs.

  • Maturation; It refers to the ability of the child or an organ belonging to the child to attain the ability to perform the expected movement / behavior at a certain age, so it refers to biological change. The child passes through certain maturation processes and reaches competences such as running, climbing and drawing.

  • Learning; It refers to the change in behavior that occurs as a result of the child's experiences with the environment.

  • Readiness; Maturation and learning, the child's ability to perform a certain skill depends on the readiness. Reaching a certain maturity is necessary for readiness. In addition, factors such as prior learning, health status, interests and attitudes, needs and motivation have an impact on readiness.

  • Development Task; It refers to the skills expected to acquire according to the age and developmental period of the child and the behaviors that are supposed to be doing.

  • Evolution; It can be expressed as the process of child's progress and gaining new competencies through the effect of growth, maturation and learning.

  • Development; These are observable, regular and continuous changes in the child's physical, motor, cognitive, language, social-emotional, personality, morality and sexual development in terms of growth, maturation and learning and experiences. (Bağcıoğlu Ünver, 2013).

Basic principles of development

  • It is a product of development, inheritance and environmental interaction.

  • Development is continuous.

  • The development is from head to foot, from inside to outside, from general to private.

  • Development varies according to certain life periods.

  • There is a certain order of ability / skill development.

  • There are critical periods in development.

  • The development is a whole and the areas of development are associated.

  • There are individual differences in development.

In the development of the child, all areas of development are interrelated and affect each other. For example, the child's physical development (muscles, bones, hearing system, etc.) affects motor skills and language use. Motor skills and language development are effective in the process of social interaction. In summary, development is a whole and all development areas affect each other.

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