THE DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN AGED 4 – 7 YEARS
Children have different developmental needs during their lifetime.
However they all need to be:
• Provided with safe and secure environment which support and promotes their development
• They need to have their physical and mental needs met
• They need to feel valued and have their self-esteem appropriately met
• Parents and carers need to encourage them
• It is very important that adults communicate with children so children can build healthy relationships and also to encourage their language development
• Development needs to be promoted within an anti-discriminatory environment
At these stage children’s movements become more co-ordinated and smoother. They are able walk along a narrow line, run on toes, skip on alternate foot, catch a ball by holding hands in cup-shape, can jump a distance …
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They use complex sentences and enjoy asking questions. They enjoy a range of books. They are confident to speak to others about what they want and what they are interested in. They listen and respond to stories and understand rules.
They notice what adults do and copy them when they are not around.
Development can be supported:
• When learning about healthy lifestyle it can be supported through personal, social and health education (e.g. children can choose different foods)
• For physical development – gross motor skills plan activities where children can use skills in different ways (hopping backwards, sideways, jumping on right food and then change to left…)
• For physical development – fine motor skills provide materials for mixing colours, joining things together, provide a range of left-handed tools (scissors…), plan activities such as cooking, painting, playing instruments…
• Provide activities for wheelchair users, tactile collage for sight-impaired children, paired activities for a child who is shy, specialised activities for children who have difficulty with manipulative skills
• Praise and acknowledge them
• Provide open-ended activities so children can solve the problem
• Provide opportunities for out-door play and for group play so children can build their own friendships
• Talk to children how they can manage an activity safely
• Give children some responsibility (water flowers, tidy up toys, clear the table…)
• Plan activities that broaden children’s vocabulary (show them a collection of leaves and name them…)
• Encourage children to try new skills and to be independent
• Provide opportunities for role-play so children can explore identity
• Encourage children to evaluate risks (playing outdoors…)
• Provide range of books with numbers, hidden words…
• Play games such as hide-and-seek that involve counting
• Develop close and consistent relationship with children so they can trust you and can come to you if they are upset or something is troubling them
• Be realistic, consistent and supportive in responding to children’s behaviour in order to promote their moral understanding and develop their social and emotional skills