A childs psychological growth depends on the childs environment. Environment consists of everything that a child comes in contact with on a frequent basis. It simply means that a child can not achieve a later stage without achieving an earlier one first. Psychological growth is also affected by physical factors. For example, advances in learning ability are influenced by the development of the nervous system. A child is a person between the age of eighteen months and thirteen years of age.
Childhood, which is one of the major stages in a persons development, can be divided into four stages based on the periods of major psychological change. These stages are the Toddler Stage, the Preschool Stage, the Early School Years and the Preteen Years. Throughout the developmental stages, there are things called critical periods and sensitive periods. Critical periods are periods in development were specific events must occur for a person to develop normally. I can give you an example of a critical period for the proper development of vision. If a child is born with cataracts and they are removed before the age of seven, that childs vision will develop normally.
If these cataracts are not removed then they can create extensive damage to their vision for the rest of their life. A sensitive period is a period in a childs development that is very important for particular kinds of development. If a certain behavior is not learned during this sensitive time it just may not develop to its full potential. For example, if a child is not exposed to language before the age of seven, he or she may fail to acquire it all together. These preschool years are significant in a childs intellectual development. There are many Psychologists with different views and theories about this subject, but I will only talk about the view of one.
This theory of the development of a child is outlined by a Swiss Psychologist by the name of Jean Piaget. Jean Piaget was known to be one on the centurys most influential thinkers. Piaget thought of children as mini scientists who conduct experiments on the world just to see what will happen. He categorized development into four different stages. They are Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, and Formal Operational. The first two years of a childs life is the sensorimotor stage.
This is the time in an infants life when they are discovering everything. They are learning about different object, shapes and actions and even the consequences of some of their actions. During this sage these infants will also learn the concept of object permanece. This means that an object does not disappear just because it is no longer in sight. My daughter, who is 14 months old, has learned this concept quite well. If she is playing with a toy and I hide it she will not loose interest because she thinks it no longer exists, she will move (sometimes throw) things out of the way until she finds the toy that I hid.
On the other hand if an eight-month-old baby was shown a toy and then it was taken from his view, he will most likely loose interest in the first toy and play with something else because to him that toy no longer exists. The next stage is the preoperational stage. In this stage a child is learning how to use language. They are beginning to use words as symbols, that can represent images or objects and one object might even symbolize another object. For example, a child may think of .