Running head: Early to Middle Childhood
Changes in Early to Middle Childhood
Amy J. Wade
September 29, 2014
Early to Middle Childhood
Children will make many changes between early and middle childhood. Some of those changes will be physical, there will be changes in the brain, nervous system, cognition, problem solving and judgment and they will have major milestones in social and emotional development. Physical Development
On average children in early childhood with grow two to three inches in height and about five pounds in weight each year. Boys will typically be larger than girls at this time. Body fat will begin to drop off, but girls will tend to maintain more body fat than boys. “By age 5 the top-heavy, bowlegged, potbellied toddler has become a more streamlined, flat-tummied, longer-legged child with body proportions similar to those of adults” (Berk 2007). By the end of preschool children start to lose their primary teeth. Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke are three times more likely to have tooth decay then children who are not exposed to tobacco smoke. This is because the tobacco smoke suppresses their immune system including the bacteria that causes tooth decay. “Body size (as measured by height and weight) and a variety of internal organs follow the general growth curve: rapid growth during infancy, slower gains in early and middle childhood, and rapid growth again during adolescence” (Berk 2007). Children who come from homes that are impoverished are less likely to be below average in height and weight. Boys tend to have a greater muscle mass, longer forearms than girls, but girls appear to have better balance and precision of movement. Early to Middle Childhood
Changes in the brain and Nervous System
The brain increases from 70-90% of its adult weight between the ages of 2 and 6. In preschooler’s physical coordination, perception, attention, memory, language, logical thinking and imagination improve. The left hemisphere of the brain is more active between the ages of 3 and 6, whereas the right hemisphere of the brain is more active during early and middle childhood. “Early childhood is a time of marked gains on tasks that depend on the frontal cortex—ones that require inhibiting impulses and substituting thoughtful responses” (Berk, 2007). Language skills increase in early childhood and they begin to have better control over their behavior.
The nervous system shows an increase in coordinated functioning. Motor coordination changes dramatically at this time. Their attention span improves and seems to be better sustained as children grow in this time period. As the corpus callosum continues to develop smooth coordination of both sides of the body improves and there is an integration of many of the aspects of thinking such as perception, attention, memory, language, and problems solving.
Boys seem to be ahead of girls in skills that requires force and power (e.g. throwing a ball, jumping and running), while girls seem to be ahead of boys in fine motor development. Girls seem to be able to do things that require balance and foot movement better (e.g. hopping and skipping).
Early to Middle Childhood
Social and Emotional Development
Preschoolers tend to describe themselves in a concrete manner (e.g. ”I am 4 years old, I am Sam, I can brush my teeth”), they also begin to describe themselves using emotions and attitudes to do so (e.g. “I am happy when I get to play with my friends”). Berk (2007) states that “the stronger children’s self-definition, the more possessive they tend to be, claiming objects as “Mine!”” Children also develop self-esteem in early childhood. Self-esteem is the judgment we make about ourselves and our own worth. Generally children who have higher self-esteem will perform better than children who have...
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