The study of child development helps us understand the changes we see as children grow and develop. A child’s development is divided into five areas: physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and moral development (Mitchell and David 1992). Although each area will be discussed separately, it is important to remember that all these areas overlap. Together, they make up the whole person. Physical development is an increase in body size and shape. Motor development is included in physical development because it shows the development of the large and small muscles.
Changes in the brain and nervous system will affect physical and motor development. Emotional development is how the child feels about himself/herself, other people, and the world that they live in. Emotional development also involves children’s learning to distinguish different feelings and express them in culturally acceptable ways (Henniger, 1993/94). Cognitive development is how the child thinks and learns. Children learn by interacting with their environment, objects, adults and other children. Cognitive development includes growth n memory, attention, reasoning, problem solving strategies, and language abilities (Mitchell and David 1992).
Social development is how children of different ages relate to other people. In the beginning, the social world of a child consists of family members. Throughout development, they meet friends, teachers and other adults in their community. Social development is simply the act of making new friends and learning how to get along with other people. Moral development is when the child will learn the difference between right and wrong.
Piaget came up with three theories of moral development: id, ego and superego. Lawrence Kohlberg expanded Piaget’s theories and came up with six stages of moral development. A four year old child is known to be very active and energetic. They love to talk, enjoy silly humor, love learning new information about their world, and enjoy finding solutions to problems in imaginative ways (Miller, 1999).
Not every four year old child can perform these tasks at the same time. It is important to remember that each child is an individual and should be motivated to reach heir full potential. The child that I am observing is a boy named Michael. On the first day of my observation I was not sure who I wanted to observe. Michael caught my eye right away when he came over to me and asked if I would help him find snowballs. As I continued to watch him, I noticed that he is very outgoing and likes to be the center of attention.
If I was not paying attention to him when he was throwing a snowball or sliding down the slide he would call out to me and say, “Hey! Look over here at me”. Michael’s physical characteristics resembles any other four ear old boy and does not show any signs of limitations. He has brown hair and brown eyes and is average in height, weight, and body structure. His style of dress consists of jeans or comfortable sweatpants and a sweatshirt.
In the life of this four year old, physical, emotional, cognitive, social and moral development are brought together and expressed in every day play and activities (Mitchell and David 1992). In this personality study, I will look at why knowing about childhood development is important and compare Michael’s behaviors to that of other developing four year old children.