Learning Aim A (A1)


Physical development across the life stages

Physical growth and development continues throughout a person's life however this development is not always smooth for example during puberty there periods of sudden growth Growth and development are different concepts

Life stages

  • Infancy 0 - 2

  • Early childhood 3 - 8

  • Adolescence 9 - 18

  • Early Adulthood 19 - 45

  • Middle Adulthood 46 - 65

  • Later Adulthood 65+

Principles of growth and development

Growth and development are different concepts.

Principles of growth

As height increases so does weight, this is referred to as a principle of growth. Although growth is continuous it is not always smooth. When thinking about growth, height and weight should be considered. Height and weight charts help health professionals identify any issues a child may have and ensure they are meeting milestones. If a child is growing as expected their weight will rise following the centile lines marked on their growth charts.

There are four principles of growth

  • Growth rates are not constant

  • Different parts of the body grow at different rates

  • Growth rates vary between children

  • Boys tend to grow faster than girls

Principles of development

Development happens:

  • From head to toe, and infant development start in their health and development then continues throughout the body.

  • From the inside out,  infants learn to use their gross motor skills first phone to use their fine motor skills

  • In the same sequence but at different rates

  • Holistically, areas of development are dependent on and influence each other

Development can be seen as a journey. As the journey progresses children reach key milestones also known as developmental norms and describe what a person should be able to do at a certain age

There are four main areas of skills acquisition:

  • Physical

  • Intellectual

  • Emotional

  • Social

Although every child passes the same milestones every child is unique and develops at their own rates. Developmental aspects can not me assessed without looking at other aspects.

Infancy (0-2)

Developmental milestones

Newborn babies are helpless when it comes to muscle coordination and control. Developing gross and fine motor skills allows increasing and more complex movements. By age two infants are more independent as they have developed their skills.


Gross motor skills

Fine motor skills


Primitive reflexes

Holds their thumb

1 month

Lifts chin, some head control

Opens hand to grasp a finger

3 months

When lying on front can lift head and chest

Briefly grasp a rattle

6 months

Roll over and sit up for short time

Moves objects from hand to hand

9 - 10 months

Crawls and begins to cruise (walk holding onto things)

Uses finger and thumb to hold objects

12 - 13 months

Stands alone, walk without help

Places and manipulates toys using pincer grasp

18 months

Climbs onto furniture

Builds small block tower

2 years

Throws bigger ball, moves on sit on toys

Draws lines and circles, turns page in a palmer grasp

2.5 years

Jumps from low step, kicks ball

Uses spoon and fork, build larger tower



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