Development does not occur in spurts. Growth continues from the moments of conception until the individual reaches maturity. It takes place at slow regular pace rather than by leaps and bounds. Although development is a continuous process, yet the tempo of growth is not even, during infancy and early years growth moves swiftly and later it slacken. (iv) Different aspects of growth develop at different rates Neither all parts of the body grow at the same rate nor do all aspects of mental growth proceed equally. They reach maturity at different times. Development also depends on maturation. Maturation
refers to the sequence of biological changes in children. These orderly changes give children new abilities. Much of the maturation depends on changes in the brain and the nervous system. These changes assist children to improve their thinking abilities and motor skills. A rich learning environment helps children develop to their potential. Children must mature to a certain point before they can gain some skills. For instance, the brain of a four-month-old has not matured enough to allow the child to use words. A four-month-old will babble and coo. However, by two years of age, with the help of others, the child will be able to say and understand many words. This is an example of how cognitive development occurs from simple tasks to more tasks that are complex. Likewise, physical skills develop from general to specific movements. For example, think about the way an infant waves its arms and legs. Ina young infant, these movements are random. In several months, the infant will likely be able to grab a block with his or her whole hand. Ina
30 little more time, the same infant will grasp a block with the thumb and forefinger.