Typical development occurs as a child grows and changes according to a predictable sequence and timetable across several integrated, but also distinct developmental domains, or areas of specialization. High-quality early childhood care and education requires professionals whose work is grounded in an understanding of child development because knowing how young children grow and learn informs decisions about curriculum as well as managing and supporting their physical care and emotional well-being. This entry discusses the typical developmental patterns in early childhood for physical, affective, and cognitive development.

Physical development is the domain that centers on growth and refinement of the body’s mechanical systems—bones, muscles, tissues, and organs, including brain development and the child’s increasing ability to control large and small muscles, or motor skills. The affective domain ...

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