There are 7 aspects of learning and development and although we look at these 7 aspects individually it is important to understand that development is holistic. When children learn new skills it does not just cover one aspect for example; when a young child interacts with their keyworker they are not only developing their communication and language skills but they are also developing the social skills. Depending on the interaction this could also promote mathematical development or understanding the world etc.
Children’s skills will generally develop in the same sequence, for example they will learn to sit up, then crawl and move onto walking. However all children will develop at different times and some children can miss out some stages of development for example; some children miss out crawling and go straight to walking. All children develop at different rates and this is due to the different experiences and opportunities at different times.
We continue to develop and learn throughout our lives and we generally follow a sequence of expected milestones. Educational establishments working with children from birth to 19 years, have a high level of knowledge and understanding of what is expected for the age of the children they are working with, for example; from birth to the end of reception class, teachers and nursery practitioners work with the Early Years Foundation Stage ‘learning outcomes’ . This enables practitioners to teach at the correct level for the children in their care and identify areas where a child may be excelling or struggling and needs some extra support.
The stages of child development are only examples of the norm that children can be expected to reach by a certain age. All children are different and develop at different rates.
It is very important to be aware of the difference between sequences of development and the rate of development as this is two very different things.
Sequence of development is when things happen in an expected order for example the expected sequence of learning to write your name would be as follows –
Holding a pencil –palmer grasp
Holding a pencil – tripod grasp
Recognising letters as symbols – emergent writing
Attempting to trace or copy single letters
Correctly copying single letters
Attempting to copy their name
Writing their name freehand
When talking about the sequence of development we are taking about the order of steps it takes to learn something or the order in which we are expected to more from one achievement to the next like sitting to crawling.
The rate of development on the other hand is the rate in which a particular child develops. This can vary a great deal as some children develop at a faster rate than others and likewise they can develop in some aspects of learning and development than other areas. There are general expected milestones for each area of learning and development to which we work by to enable us to understand what a child should be doing by when and when to raise concerns. The stages of learning and development set out in the EYFS are just examples of what should be expected. All children are different and one child may seem further ahead or behind than another. This is why the age bands within the EYFS overlap one another to allow for the faster and the slower developers. It is important to be aware of individual children’s rates of development and what is expected of them in order to provide adequate care for the children and refer to external agencies at the appropriate time if and when necessary.
1.3 & 2.1 & 2.2
There are a number of factors and reasons why children and young people’s development may not follow the pattern normally expected. Some of the main reasons could be;
Complex needs - If a child has complex needs or a disability then there rate of learning and development can be much slower than a child without additional needs. Children with complex