Developmental Stages of Infants and 6 to 10 Year Olds

Photo by Chayene Rafaela on Unsplash

As a teacher, it is extremely important to understand the development of children. There are many different levels of development, and there are many different stages of development a child goes through before a child becomes an adult. From infancy to late adolescence it is important to understand the physical, emotional, cognitive, intellectual, language, reading, writing, social and interpersonal developments a child will go through in order to be an efficient teacher. Middle-childhood and infancy are both important developmental stages that have some things in common, but they are not completely the same.

Infancy is the developmental age group that encompasses children from birth to two years of age; middle childhood is the age group that includes children of the ages six to 10 years old. During infancy children tend to grow and change physically very rapidly. The “emergence of reflexes” and a “general decline in crying” also occurs during this age group (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p.106). During infancy there is an increase in ability of movement and children will start, crawling, sitting, and walking. Infancy is also the time when children will gain the ability to use the small muscles of their hands and eyes” (Mcdevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p.106). Middle childhood children will develop physically by growing steadily in weight and height; this is also the time when children will begin to lose their baby teeth and gain their adult teeth. During middle childhood children will also develop a “refinement and consolidation of gross motor skills and integration of such skills into structured play activities” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p.106). Middle childhood is the time where children will engage in organized sports; they will also increase the capability of their fine motor skills. Infancy is the beginning of physical development for children, and during middle childhood physical attributes become more complex.

Emotional development starts from birth. Infants exhibit strong amounts of attachment to those who take care of them, and may show some distress when they are separated from their caregiver. Throughout infancy a child increases their “repertoire of ways to communicate feelings” and gain a “beginning ability to soothe themselves” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p.400). During infancy children will develop a sense of self and may exhibit some possessiveness over toys. Middle childhood is a time where children develop an “increasing number of bonds outside of family” and an “increasing ability to regulate emotions” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p.400). During this age group children will start to compare their own abilities to those of their peers, and many children of this age group seem to have good self-esteem. During infancy children are starting to develop emotions, and during middle childhood children are starting to understand their emotions.

Congnitive development in infants is shown through an increase in “physical exploration of environment” and a “growing awareness of simple cause effect relationships” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 178). During this age children also exhibit the ability to characterize the world in their minds. During middle childhood children start to show “ conservation, multiple classification, and other forms of adult logic”, but they have a “limited ability to reason about abstract or hypothetical ideas” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 178). Middle childhood children become capable of participating in sports and games that require “coordinating multiple perspectives” (McDevitt &Ormrod, 2004, p.178). Cognitive developments in infants are very simplistic, and cognitive developments in middle childhood children are more advanced.
Intellectually infants have short attention spans and are easily distracted. During infancy children do well with “recognition memory, visual preferences, and eye-hand coordination” and their performance on assessments bases highly on “examiner’s ability to establish a positive relationship with the infant” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p.258). Middle childhood is the age group where there is a noticeable difference in the understanding of academic subject matter amongst students. During middle childhood children show “success on test items that involve defining concrete words, remembering sentences and short sequences, understanding concrete analogies, recognizing similarities among objects, and identifying absurdities in illogical statements.

Language developments occur rapidly in infants. “Repetition of vowel sounds” will start as early as one month of age and will grow into “babbling” and the combination of vowel and consonant sounds by the age of “six months” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 308). By about a year old children will be able to use single words and a rapid increase in an infant’s vocabulary will occur from the age of one year old to two years old. For middle childhood children the use of “comparative words” and “temporal word” will be successful, and pronunciation will be mastered (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 308). During this age children will also be able to maintain conversation about concrete topics; they will also understand the idea of cause and effect and narrative plots. “Linguistic word play” will also become part of a middle childhood child’s knowledge base.

Reading and writing development in infants starts with the use of colorful toy books. During infancy children are more interested in pictures and rhyme schemes. Middle childhood children are much more advanced in reading and writing skills. They have the “ability to hear phonemes within words”, and they are beginning to read silently” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 308). Reading and writing skills start at infancy, and they continue, to develop progressively as children get older.

Social development in infancy is marked by the awareness that people have goals and desires that are unique to themselves. Infants also exhibit social development when they look to others to see how to react to situations. During infancy children also show signs of “distress towards aggression” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 444). During middle childhood children have an awareness of other people’s mental states, but they seem to “over simplify the nature of other people’s mental states”, and they have a “growing recognition that other people interpret experiences instead of taking them at face value” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 444). Children of the middle childhood age group also start to have knowledge of the government; they also start to feel empathy for others. Middle childhood is also the time when children start to feel “shame for moral wrong doing” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 308). From infancy to middle childhood there is a lot of developments that occur.

Interpersonally infants show a lot of emotion in regard to their toys. Aggression may occur during the first year “when another child takes a child’s toy”, and “in the second year pushing and shoving to gain toys” may occur” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 555). Infants also exhibit interpersonal development when they cannot control their environment, and they make take out their frustrations on the caregiver. Middle childhood children differ from infants because they have a “decrease in overt physical aggression”, and they increase in “covert antisocial behaviors” (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2004, p. 555). During this age group children also have an understanding of the intentions of others. Infants have a tendency to show physical aggression, and middle childhood children instead internalize it.

It is extremely important to understand the development of children if you are going to be a teacher. Children develop very differently during different stages, and it is important to be aware of how they develop. It is also important to be aware of the normal developments that occur at different ages. Infants and middle childhood children develop a lot during these age groups. Although they both develop a lot there is a big difference in the developments that take place. During infancy children are beginning to develop on many levels, and during middle childhood children are taking the knowledge base they already have and increasing it in many complex ways.

McDevitt, T., & Ormrod, J. (2004). Child Development: Education and Working with Children and Adolescents (2nd ed.). : Prentice Hall

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Sarah Ganly is an artist, entrepreneur, and lover of life. She is a lifelong learner dedicated to making people smile.

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Sarah Ganly

Sarah Ganly is an artist, entrepreneur, and lover of life. She is a lifelong learner dedicated to making people smile.