A brief look at developmental domains in early childhood education

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on July 10, 2010

in Cognitive Development, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Physical Development, Social Development

The early childhood years are filled with staggering growth and development. There are four main areas of development that occur all at the same time:

Physical development: In the first years of growth young children are physically developing at a rapid pace. There is both large motor (crawling, walking, running) and fine motor development (eye-hand coordination, cutting, writing, weaving) happening all at once.

Social development: Understanding how to communicate, share, make friends, and get along with others is just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to social development in the first five years of life.

Emotional development: The building blocks for a positive self-esteem and self-confidence starts in early childhood. Young children are also learning how to manage and appropriately express their own emotions such as fear, saddness, anger, and happiness.

Social and emotional often come hand in hand since how a child fairs socially often impacts his or her emotional well-being.

Cognitive development: Young children are always processing information about their world. They do so through both structured and unstructured activities, play, and interaction with others. From experiences such as these, young children develop their understanding and abilities in such areas as math, science, language, art. The mind of a young child absorbs information like a sponge.

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