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Children go through distinct periods of development as they move from infants to young adults. During each of these stages, multiple changes in the development of the brain are taking place. What occurs and approximately when these developments take place are genetically determined. However, environmental circumstances and exchanges with key individuals within that environment have a significant influence on how each child benefits from each developmental event. Ages and Stages is a term used to broadly outline key periods in the human development timeline. During each stage growth and development occur in the primary developmental domains including physical, intellectual, language and social-emotional.
Raising a baby, especially for the first time, is both exciting and challenging. This is a time for developing the bonds that will last a lifetime providing the child with the inner resources to develop self-esteem and the ability to relate positively to others. It is also the time for parents to begin to discover who this new person really is. When a child takes the first step on his or her own, a new phase in development begins. At this stage, children are now free to roam around their world. It is a time for active exploration of their environment.
During this developmental stage, a major challenge is developing what psychologists call emotional regulation. This is also a stage of rapid physical and intellectual development preparing these children for starting school which includes interacting cooperatively with peers while at the same time being able to compete physically and intellectually. A child’s parent is in the position to be a coach providing just the right combination of encouragement, support, and guidance. Preschoolers are emerging from toddlerhood to a new world of exploration and formal learning. Most have started or will start preschool or prekindergarten and complete this period of development by entering formal school either kindergarten or first grade. Because kindergarten has become more academic and often mirrors what used to be first grade, children often start kindergarten around the age of six. Preschoolers are open to learning numbers and letters and in beginning reading and simple math.