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Child Growth & Development
Authors: Jandy Jeppson with Judith A. Myers-Walls

"What is most appealing about young folks, after all, is the changes, not the still photograph of finished character but the movie, the soul in flux."      -- Thomas Pynchon, contemporary American author

As you know, children change constantly. You think you know them and what they like — then they change. You can see them grow taller. You can see them do new things. Other changes are not so easy to spot. Children’s brains develop as they have new experiences. You cannot see the brain developing, but you can see what new things the child can do. Children also learn about emotions, getting along with people, how to talk and listen, and much more.

As a childcare provider, you have special responsibilities for the growth and development of the children in your care. Your job is to give children experiences that will help them grow. You also should watch for problems in growth and development. You—along with the children’s family members, teachers, and friends—know the children best. You can work together to plan learning experiences and to help a child when something is not right.

Articles in this section of the Provider-Parent Partnerships website describe child growth and development in many areas. The information will help you know what to expect. It will help you explain to parents why their children act the way they do. Toys, games, and activities are easier to choose if you understand the stages of child development. That understanding also can help you and the parents to feel less stressed. If you know that most children do some things at a certain age, you will know that you don’t need to change that behavior. You will understand that it is not your fault that the child is doing that.

By understanding normal development, you can tell when a child’s development is not right. Because you see many different children in your work, you might notice things that parents will not notice. It can be very hard to tell a parent that there might be a problem, though. This section will give you guidelines to help you talk to parents about their children’s development.

Remember that you and the parents need to work together to understand and support children’s development. You will understand a child better if you talk to the parents about what the child does at home. The parents will understand the child better if they talk with you about what the child does in childcare. Teamwork can be a powerful tool to help children grow and develop in positive ways!



How Children Think and Learn
      Brain development
 Brain development
     • Children and colors
 Children and colors
     • Understanding same and different
          Same and different

     • Shapes
 Learning about shapes
 Learning about size

How Children Feel and Get Along with Others
      • Children and fears
            • Children's age-related fears
             Uncommon fears
            Ways to help children cope with their fears
               Helping children overcome fears
             Talking with parents about normal age-related fears
             Talking with parents about uncommon fears
             Books about fears for children

Gender Development
     Ages and stages
     • Avoiding gender stereotypes 
  Children as boys or girls       
     • Dealing with difficult gender issues           
     • Influences on children’s gender development
  Tips for healthy gender development
     • Tips           
     • Learning activities
     • Resources

Sexual Development
   Sexual development: What should children know?

When Children Have Special Needs
     • Communication disorders
            •  Hearing disorders
            •  Speech and language disorders
  What are the signs of a speech or language disorder?
                     Encouraging children to talk
 •  What are some types of speech and language disorders?
                •  Identification and evaluation of speech-language disorders

For more information, contact Judith A. Myers-Walls, PhD, CFLE at

Please feel free to link to, print off, redistribute, or reprint
  any of these materials as long as the original credits remain intact.

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