The development of voluntary memory in preschool age

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Introduction The first five years of life are a time of incredible growth and learning. An understanding of the rapid changes in a child’s developmental status prepares parents and caregivers to give active and purposeful attention to the preschool years and to guide and promote early learning that will serve as the foundation for later learning. Developmental change is a basic fact of human existence and each person is developmentally unique. Although there are universally accepted assumptions or principles of human development, no two children are alike.

Children differ in physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth patterns. They also differ in the ways they interact with and respond to their environment as well as play, affection, and other factors. Child Development Development refers to change or growth that occurs in a child during the life span from birth to adolescence. This change occurs in an orderly sequence, involving physical, cognitive, and emotional development.

Physical Development Physical development refers to physical changes in the body and involves changes in bone thickness, size, weight, gross motor, fine motor, vision, hearing, and perceptual development. Growth is rapid during the first two years of life. The child’s size, shape, senses, and organs undergo change. As each physical change occurs, the child gains new abilities. During the first year, physical development mainly involves the infant coordinating motor skills.

Reflexes Infants at birth have reflexes as their sole physical ability. Blinking is a reflex which continues throughout life. There are other reflexes which occur in infancy and also disappear a few weeks or months after birth. The presence of reflexes at birth is an indication of normal brain and nerve development. Some reflexes, such as the rooting and sucking reflex, are needed for survival. The rooting reflex causes infants to turn their head toward anything that brushes their faces. This survival reflex helps them to find food such as a nipple.

When an object is near a healthy infant’s lips, the infant will begin sucking immediately. This reflex also helps the child get food. This reflex usually disappears by three weeks of age. The Moro reflex or “startle response” occurs when a newborn is startled by a noise or sudden movement. When startled, the infant reacts by flinging the arms and legs outward and extending the head. The infant then cries loudly, drawing the arms together.

This reflex peaks during the first month and usually disappears after two months. The Palmar grasp reflex is observed when the infant’s palm is touched and when a rattle or another object is placed across the palm. The infant’s hands will grip tightly. This reflex disappears the first three or four months after birth. The Babinski reflex is present in normal babies of full term birth. When the sole of the infant’s foot is stroked on the outside from the heel to the toe, the infant’s toes fan out and curl and the foot twists in. This reflex usually lasts for the first year after birth.

The Stepping or walking reflex can also be observed in normal full term babies. When the infant is held so that the feet are flat on a surface, the infant will lift one foot after another in a stepping motion. This reflex usually disappears two months after birth and reappears toward the end of the first year as learned voluntary behavior. Motor Sequence Physical development is orderly and occurs in predictable sequence. Infant rolls over turning from the stomach to the back first, then from back to stomach – four or five months of age. Infant gradually is able to pull self into sitting positions. Crawling – occurs soon after the child learns to roll onto the stomach by pulling with the arms and wiggling the stomach.

Some infants push with the legs. Creeping – As the arms and legs gain more strength, the infant supports his weight on hands and knees. Stand with help – as arms and legs become stronger. Stand while holding on to furniture. Walk with help with better leg strength and coordination. Pull self up in a standing position. Walk alone without any support or help.