4: Early Childhood

Learning Objectives: Physical Development in Early Childhood

  • Summarize the overall physical growth
  • Describe the changes in brain maturation
  • Describe the changes in sleep
  • Summarize the changes in gross and motor skills
  • Describe when a child is ready for toilet training
  • Describe sexual development
  • Identify nutritional concerns

Our discussion will now focus on the physical, cognitive and socioemotional development during the ages from two to six, referred to as early childhood. Early childhood represents a time period of continued rapid growth, especially in the areas of language and cognitive development. Those in early childhood have more control over their emotions and begin to pursue a variety of activities that reflect their personal interests. Parents continue to be very important in the child’s development, but now teachers and peers exert an influence not seen with infants and toddlers.


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Lifespan Development - A Psychological Perspective by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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