2.2. Principles of Human Development

Brainstorming Questions
Dear student, what common features do different individuals share across development?

There are principles that characterize the pattern and process of growth and development.These principles or characteristics describe typical development as a predictable and orderly process. That is, we can predict how most children will develop and they will develop at the same rate and at about the same time as other children. Although there are individual
differences in children’s personalities, activity levels, and timing of developmental milestones such as ages and stages, the principles and characteristics of development are universal patterns.

Some of the major principles of human development are:
Development proceeds from head to tail -This is called the cephalocaudal principle. According to this principle, human development proceeds from head to lower body parts and extremities. The cephalocaudal principle applies to both physical and functional development.
Development proceeds from the center of the body outward – This is the principle of proximodistal development. According to this principle, human development proceeds from the center of the body (the proximal region) to the outer body parts and extremities (distal region).
Development depends on maturation and learning – Human growth and development are influenced by both maturation and learning.
Development proceeds from the simple to complex- Children perform simple tasks before doing complex ones. For example, children learn letters before words.
Development is a continuous process – As a child develops, he or she adds to the skills already acquired and the new skills become the basis for further achievement and mastery of skills. Most children follow a similar pattern. Also, one stage of development lays the foundation for the next stage of development.
Development proceeds from the general to specific – development occurs from large muscle movements to more refined (smaller) muscle movements. For example, in motor development, the infant will be able to grasp an object with the whole hand before using only the thumb and forefinger.
There are different individual rates of development. Each child is different and the rates at which individual children develops is different. Although the patterns and sequences for development are usually the same for all children, the rates at which individual children reach developmental stages will be different. For instance, some children walk at ten months while
others walk a few months older at eighteen months of age.
Reflection
Dear student, how do you see these principles in line with what you have been thinking?
Dear student, what aspects/types of development/ change are taking within you and in others from childhood to present?