Development through life stages

Each month a fertile woman produces an egg from one of her two ovaries, which lie on each side of the uterus (womb). The egg is released, and travels down to the fallopian tube. The egg then travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus. Male semen contains several million sperm, but only one will be needed for conception, and that single sperm cell contains the father’s genetic contribution to the baby. Each sperm contains 23 chromosomes and each egg contains 23 chromosomes. The sperm can swim, and need to be able to do so as they have to move through the cervix, into the uterus and along the fallopian tubes.

During sexual intercourse millions of sperm are ejaculated by a man. The sperm swims through the uterus and fertilises the egg in the fallopian tube. The sperm and egg combine to form a ball of cells. At one to one and half days the egg starts to divide, the collection of the cells is called an embryo. At 3 weeks after fertilisation, the embryo grows to be 0. 5cm long and starts to develop brain, eyes, ears and limbs. The embryo continues to develop and grow until at week 8 all major organs have formed and has a recognisable heartbeat and there is a human looking face with recognisable features.

The embryo is now around 3 – 4 cm long and is now called a foetus. Growth and development of the foetus continues and at 20 weeks the foetus is half the length of a baby at birth and about half of its birth weight. At 9 months (40 weeks) the foetus is ready to be born it is around 50cm long and weighs around 3. 5kg, so at 9 months fully formed the baby is born. Infancy 0 – 3 years Physical development From 0 – 3 years young children learn to use their bodies by learning to use gross motor skills such as crawling, walking, head control and sitting.

Children develop at their own speed and pace. By around the age of two months infants’ backs continue to strengthen, and they are able to raise their head and chest up off the ground and rest their body on their elbows when they’re lying on their stomachs. Around this time they will also be able to bend and kick their legs. Infants continue to strengthen their muscles and improve control of their bodies while they grow. At the age of 4 months, they can maintain control of their head and hold it steady while they’re sitting up with help or lying on their belly.

By 6months most babies can sit up by themselves for brief periods and can put some weight on their legs when they are held up with some support, they may be able to crawl at 7 months. Infants continue to build on their physical abilities and by around 10 months they can stand on their own for longer periods. They make progress towards walking, they pick up and put down their feet while they stand, they should begin to make their own first toddling steps around the age of 12 months. Further on in a toddlers development, they continue to become more mobile and agile, they begin to climb stairs, high chairs and furniture.

At the ages 2 – 3 toddlers begin to develop complex gross motor skills such as kicking and throwing objects for distance. They continue to refine and become more fluid in their movements, at the end of the second year they can run and walk from one place to another they are very mobile. Intellectual Development Babies not only grow physically during the first three years of their life, but also cognitively (mentally). Infants babble and gurgle, they study their hands and feet, they focus on following objects with their eyes and they turn to locate the source of sounds.

Infants explore things with their mouths and they cry in different ways to express their needs for hunger, anger and pain. Infants respond to simple directions and look for things not in sight. By 12 months most young infants speak their first understandable words. Toddlers point to objects they want, they name familiar people and faces, and they are curious and use the word “NO” frequently. Toddler’s attention span is short and they combine two words to form a basic sentence.

From 2 – 3 years young children start to express their feelings and wishes, they follow simple directions and still have a limited attention span. They have trouble making choices but want to make choices and begin to think about doing things before doing it. From 3 years they can communicate their needs, ideas and questions. According to Piaget in www. Mentalhelp. net, “infants interact with the environment through reflexive behaviours. Young infants do not think about what they are going to do, but rather follow their instincts and involuntary reactions to get what they need: food, air, and attention.

Piaget believes as young children begin to grow and develop they learn about their environment through their senses and they then begin to start engaging in intentional, goal directed behaviours. Emotional and Social Development Babies have a wide range of emotions, it’s the only way it has before learning to speak to communicate its needs. Their social development also develops from an early age, infants learn to recognise their parent’s facial expressions and voices and in turn parents learn to understand what their infant is trying to get across by smiling, screaming or crying.

Infants need plenty of care and attention; a baby that has all of needs fulfilled by its parents will develop a bond of attachment and trust with them and will be more likely to grow up to be and emotionally secure person. Attachment theory is a theory concerning relationships between humans. This theory was formulated by psychoanalyst and psychiatrist John Bowlby. This most important part of the attachment theory is that a young child needs to develop a relationship with parents for social and emotional development to occur normally.

From when infants are around one month to four months the baby mostly cries and smiles, it learns to identify the face and touch of the persons looking after it, it recognises the mothers voice, smell and face and also learns to convey when it’s hungry and when it wants to be comforted. From four to 8 months the child con now recognise family and friends and its surroundings, it now tries to make speaking sounds and according to its mood cry more or smile more. Further infants learn how to crawl and sit and stand up on its own, it develops a sense of self.

It also now starts to understand the concept of a daily routine and remember things and look forward to things it will do tomorrow. A young child starts to show empathy and tries to comfort you if it thinks it ought to. Young children become more and more independent and develops more self consciousness, they will shy away form people it doesn’t know. Along with an increased awareness of their surroundings, ome infants develop what’s known as stranger anxiety. Early childhood Physical Development From early childhood their growth is slow but steady; they gain control of their major muscles and have an increased mobility.

Most children have a good sense of balance and they enjoy performing physical tricks. Young children like to run, tumble, jump, skip and dance to music. They can catch small balls and can manage to do up buttons and zippers. Young children also learn how to go to the toilet properly and become toilet trained at this age. They can also print their names and can copy designs and shapes including numbers and letters. They older the children get their fine motor and large motor skills become much better, they become more active with lots of energy. Intellectual Development

From early childhood their intellectual development develops rapidly, their ability to speak and express themselves develops quickly. Their language improves and they start to combine two words together for example “mummy gone”. During play young children practice using the words and language that they have learnt they uses short phrases and begin to use sentences and are able to start asking questions. In school they start to understand the times and days of the week, they learn to count and they like jokes and silly rhymes. Their attention span becomes longer and they can follow stories.

They start to learn letters and words. They become eager and are easily motivated to try new things, they enjoy thinking and problem solving and they have interests which change often. Social and Emotional Development From a young age children think of themselves more than others until around the age of 7 and 8. They learn how to play well in groups but may need some time to play alone. Many young children have a friend and an enemy and they often prefer to play with people of the same sex. Children often tell on each other to get an adults attention and to help them understand the rules.

Young children do not like criticism or failure; they have a strong need to feel accepted and worthwhile a need to have self-worth and a high self esteem. Young children begin to care about the feelings and needs of others. They show their ability to be independent by being disobedient and being rebellious. Young children begin to build and understand friendship and begin to make relationships with other children. Puberty and Adolescence Physical Development After early childhood, children continue to grow steadily in its single figure years up until it becomes a teenager.

At this point puberty begins: Females – * Pubic and underarm hair growth * Growth is increased and accelerates over the teenage years as a result of increases in the growth hormone * Enlargement of breast and nipples * Onset of menstrual ion (periods) * Increased fatty deposit leads to curvy shape Males – * Growth spurt occurs * Enlargement of testes and penis * Pubic, facial underarm hair growth * Voice deepens and breaks * Increased muscle and bone size Intellectual Development In the teenage years, a child’s way of thinking about themselves, others and the world starts to shift to an adult level.

They begin to have an focus on things they can experience here and now, and begins to imagine the range of possibilities life holds, they begin to think about their futures and what the want to do in life. Their decision making skills improve, and also their reasoning skills and they begin to independently differentiate right form wrong and develop a conscience. They can think in an logical way and learn to reason through problems and make educated guesses. Young adults begin to distinguish fact from opinion and learn to recognize that current actions can have an effect on the future.

Young adults also start to set personal goals. Social and Emotional Development During this period teenagers experience a range of emotions and become more sociable. Friendship groups become more focused and important; the social circle becomes large and varied and includes friends of both sexes. Most have many friends of both sexes with shared interests. An interest in the opposite sex becomes strong, dating and romantic relationships are commonplace, romantic relationships can become quite intense because of exploration of sexuality. Teenagers start to have job responsibilities and careers or they start to attend college.

Young teenagers may find that they find many faults with, and is embarrassed by parents; they may be quarrelsome and reluctant to communicate and have a strong desire for independence; they want to be free of family. Young teenagers may be unhappy, uncertain and sensitive and very concerned with their body image, their self esteem may be low. The older teenagers get the easier and giving the relationship with the family is and they start to view parents as people rather than rule makers. They become generally happy and easygoing and begin to feel comfortable in their own skin: they have a secure sense of self.