Discuss the growth and developmental stages of a normal five-year-old preschooler

The aim of this case study is to discuss the growth and developmental stages of a normal five-year-old preschooler. Observations were made on the physical and motor and language development. Those observations were analyzed and compared with the theoretical development of a normal preschooler. The child’s cognitive and psychosocial development was also assessed and the observations were linked to Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development and to Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory. .

Emily is a five-year-old girl and the participant of this case study. She is part of a family in the upper socio-economic level. Emily’s parents both work full time and therefore, preschool is a large part of her average week. Emily is also the last-born child in the family and has two siblings, who are three and five years older then her. The family home is on a large block, which offers many opportunities to play and explore the environment.

The following observations on Emily’s development took place in the family home with supervision of both her parents. Emily’s parents gave approval and verbal consent to those observations and they have been informed extensively about the aim of the case study and its necessary observations. Emily is very familiar with the observer of this case study, therefore, it was possible to interact with and observe her in a broader scope.

Physical development Physical development includes biological aspects, like height, weight, development of deciduous teeth and gross and fine motor skills, which will be discussed under a separate heading. In theory, preschool children are between 99 cm and 122 cm tall and grow approximately 7 centimeters a year. They gain approximately 2 kilogram of weight each year (Oesterreich, 1995). Their body proportions change during this growth, legs lengthen, which accounts for a larger proportion of their height, baby fat disappears and becomes replaced by muscle tissue and the relation of head size to body size becomes more adult-like. However, the physiological development evolves more slowly in the preschool years, than in infancy (Kaplan, 1998).

When observing Emily, it was found that she stands approximately 110 cm high, appears slender and well proportioned. All her deciduous teeth are present except for one, which has been lost in the normal process of shedding. Motor development Motor development is significantly developed and advanced in the preschool period. The development and advances depend on brain and body system maturation as well as on increasing skill that comes through practice (Leifer, 1999). Large muscles are developed considerably, thus enabling a preschooler to run, jump, climb and skip (Kaplan, 1998). Practice in skipping for example, will improve the motor skills further and lead to increasing skills, such as skipping with alternating foot patterns.

Emily is able to run fast and skillfully, making it possible for her to keep up with her siblings. One of Emily’s favorite activities that need a good development of gross motor skills is jumping on the trampoline. It is very astonishing how high and gracefully a five year old can jump. She is also able to ride her tricycle quite easily and shows interest in riding a bicycle with training wheels. She practices a lot riding the bicycle, which is encouraged by her older siblings. She was introduced to water and swimming at a young age, which benefited her greatly so she is now able to swim without help from others. Here again, her siblings and parents played a great role in giving her the opportunity to learn swimming and the support and environment she needs for this activity.

There are many more outdoor activities that are skillfully mastered by Emily, such as throwing and catching balls, skipping and climbing trees. Many of those activities need the interaction of both, large and small muscles to be mastered successfully, e.g. catching a ball. In-house activities that Emily is engaged in include helping her mother with food preparation, setting up the table for meals and helping to put clean sheets on the beds. She enjoys those activities and acts very independently, sometimes not willing to listen to any advice on how to do it better.

This unwillingness is a remarkable sign of egocentrism, which still sometimes occurs in preschoolers (Kaplan, 1998). In contrast to the large muscle skills, like running or jumping, the fine muscle skills refer to the use of hands and fingers in the manipulation of objects, such as drawing with a pencil. Control over the fine motor skills is called hand-eye coordination (Kaplan, 1998).

Fine muscle skills are not so well developed as large muscle skills in a preschooler (Kaplan, 1998). However, a five year old is able to draw pictures that represent people, animals and objects (Oesterreich, 1995). Some children might be more …

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