Tuesday, April 14, 2009


To give adequate and appropriate education or teaching to the child, we must know their different stages of development such as physical, mental and social and spiritual. We shall briefly study as follow:

3.1. 1-3 Years

3.1.1. Physical Development

The medical professions tell us that the first year of the infant life sees the greatest amount of growth in its body. Smiling starts within the first month and child seems to please and respond tour own smiles. In the second and third months, s/he may giggling to his/her smiling again to our great delight. Rolling can start as early as three or four months with energetic (and slim) babies, while with others it comes later. During this time parents or guardian should properly look after, otherwise the child can roll and fall down.

As the body grows, the senses are also developing. The first visual attraction for child is the light, but eventually the child begins to focus on various objects and will start following mother’s hand, if slowly move something colorful within his/her sight. Hearing also begins to function and develop within the first few days after birth. Sitting up start around the time the baby is six months old, but obviously the time varies from one baby to another. Parents should not force the child to sit up, rather must help the child to do slowly.

Crawling comes as the next stage in physical development and begins from around the age of eight months. In the first years of its life, the book muscles and backbone are stabilized and strengthen, to enable sitting, then crawling and finally standing. Some children may walk by their first birth day. The digestive system is able to assimilate solid foods and approximately half the adult height is attained. By the time a child is three years old, the child acquires ability to walk, run, jump, climb, stairs, in an erect posture, talk eat observation and imitation. Personality development is only through imitation, particularly their parents and adult who have close association with the child.

3.1.2. Mental development

Many parents think that during this age the child does not know anything. Horace Bushness says “half of the child’s behavior are formed during and early period.” Mental development is an aspect of personality. It begins right from the birth.

By the end of the first month, the child can recognize faces especially that of the mother whom s/he sees more than a dozen times a day while she is feeding, holding or changing his/her. By the age of one s/he is using his/her mouth activity not so much to cry as to bite and put things into it. The child can also discover physically, his/her head, mouth, hands, etc. Up to the years most of the children learn through senses. At this stage, the child is able to speak few vocabularies, simple songs, tunes, actions, and the response to those are observe. Imitation is an essential form of learning. The child copies how parents talk, dress up, walk, eat, work and every thing what they do. So John S. Mbiti, rightly comment that “… the parents are the greatest people in the world: the boy wants to be like his daddy, the girl like her mother, you are the centre of the world for them….”

During this stage their thinking has not yet fully developed. They are pre-conceptual in thought. But they can use simple words, and symbols. They also believe that everything is true. So parents or adults must not tell them lie. Parents can start giving Christian education to them. We must teach good words, like daddy, mummy, thank you, good night and so on. We can tell them Bible stories, chorus, Bible verses and so on. But parents must not tell them frightening things, like Satan, devil and other bad words because they can develop coward nature in future.

Parents should show their love and affection to their children. Too much criticism and over controlling will spoil the character of the child. He/she must have freedom to play and share to the parents. This will help their physical and mental growth.

Mrs Mary Downs says, Movement is, for the young child, an important factor is self discovery… movement also assist a child in achieving and maintaining their orientation in space an important factor in their development of concepts of time, space and direction. Children, who are not allowed to be active and move, do not develop confidence in themselves and hence do not learn.

So children should move freely in the home. Parents should always open to share with their children. This will lead the child to have god relationship with other people. As a whole, mental development includes such abilities as attending, perceiving, observing, remembering, imagining, thinking, solving problems and growth of intelligence as well as of language.

3.1.3. Social development

Social development means socialization or social interest in individual. it involves the development of a new type of behavior of change in interest and the choice of a new type of companies and friends. One becomes sociable through interaction in society. From society one learns cultures, customs, manners, language and morals, etc.

The behavior of the baby at birth in the first few months is called pre-social behavior. The baby does not distinguish people and object. Kart Buhlers experimental study affirms that during the first tow months baby came to learn/know loud noises, bright lights, and strong touch. However, the child does not differentiate between human voice and other noises.

In a few months, the baby is aware of his/her mother. The infant smiles in response to attention of adults and it recognizes. According to psychologists, from four months onwards baby stops crying when we talk to him/her. The child of six months can recognized and differentiated his/her mother and other fellow, and then preference is shown by wanting to be picked up only mother.

In one year baby reacts differently to smiling and showing negative responses to stronger. He/she attempts to imitate the speech of other like parents and other friends those who are around him/her. He/she can respond in simple words like no-no, yes-yes, mummy, aunty, uncle and so on. During this stage they are stubborn in order to demand adult’s attention. They are also selfish and self centered. So parents must teach the value of sharing with other people.

The social circle will widen as the child begins to walk and other children; as they play and fight with them. Parents should teach the child to grow up as a social being. Therefore, as early as possible the children will start to learn manner of eating, of conversation of receiving and giving things, of greeting people of sharing things, with other people, and acting of behaving in the presence of visitors, friends and relatives of the family.

The other primary needs of this age group will be to experience love, good manner in the home. At home that communicates love, and affection to the children, and care and concern is essential before a child can grow into our likeness when they become old.

3.1.4. Spiritual development

By virtue of being a human, the child has moral and spiritual dimension, which comes to the open gradually. Children are first imitating that which goes on around in home, like the posture of prayer, worship of God. At an early age parents can begin to disseminate religious knowledge to them, especially Bible stories.

Children will ask questions about where people come form or where they go when they die or who made Sun and moon, are religious nature. Children will ask these among his/her hundreds of other questions. Parents must give simple answer to all theses questions and related to the things s/he knows and to do his/her life. A child religious idea can be influenced by his/her experience in every life. The religious life of the home affects on child’s spiritual life because, most of the time children are confined at home with parents. Therefore, as parents we need to sow religious seeds in our child, possibly from childhood. But instead of mere teaching parents must show in their life and action.

John S. Mbiti, rightly saith that; This is done both through example and teaching, and your lives will be the greatest teacher of your religious life…. Your child will copy and imitate everything you do and say.

Today many parents of the Zou people do not think properly. Due to which many parents fail in their life.

3.2. 3-5 Years

3.2.1. Physical development

Rapid growth can be seen in this stage. The child can move without the help of parents. They used to go out to find a child in their neighbor’s house to play with other child. They are very active and cannot quiet for any length of time. This activity is necessary for physical development.

The first fullest of milk – teeth have appeared and make it possible to eat just about everything including guavas and green mangoes. When a child is about five years old, his/her height increases by about none inches from height which he/she have at the age of two years. During early childhood the weight of the child increases by about two kilos every year. But individual differences do occur: some children gain weight slightly and some do at rapid rate.

3.2.2. Mental development

The child’s vocabulary is growing rapidly. In general, girls have a greater verbal ability than boys. it is a time to send them to nursery school, and in Sunday School s/he can join beginner department.

At this age children are curious and critical to know everything. They can learn to follow a story read form a book and may want stories repeated so often that they actually can memorize the words. For them a chair can easily be turned into a horse. Fantasy and play are vital factors in the intellectual development and emotional growth of the child.

They fully trust in their parents. They try to copy life style of their parents, unity and uncle, etc. They also expect appreciation and reward. Parents should show their love and affection so that children may feel happy and secure. Parents must provide toys, games materials, etc. so that the child can play, develops his talents.

3.2.3. Social development

During infancy the young infant is very much dependent on his/her mother. But during early childhood the child tries to move from dependency to choose and action his own. His/her will is being formed and tested in relation to other people. If others in his/her environment give him/her the freedom and respect his /her needs, he/she is again a lasting sense of self-confidence and self worth. Herbert E. Hoefer says, “If the rights are protected along with the other in the family, he will learn the spirit of good will and co-operation.”

If on the other hand, s/he is made to feel ashamed of his/her first efforts to act and if s/he is made to doubt that s/he has a respect place in his/her family, the child will easily carry over into the rest of his/her life deep lack of a self-confidence and self worth. The child will be an angry, rebellious person, judging and rejecting others as s/he was judge and rejected.

The other important norms of social behavior during this period are negativism, quarrelling, puzzle, co-operation, sympathy and social approval. The child should develop attitudes of co-operation, sympathy and social approval. Parents and teacher should provide a god environmental for the children. Daily experiences and the various contacts that they made upon will certainly help in the development of their social dimension.

3.2.4. Spiritual development

Children of this age can join in family worship in an attitude of prayer, even if everything said is not understood. In this stage, a beginning should be made is family prayer. Sunday School and Child evangelism service should be paid attention. But they do not have enough idea about God. They understand God as life exactly their parents. So, parents and teachers should teach Bible stories, religious beliefs, praying, reciting the creed, giving arms, going to church and the daily implication and application of one’s religion. These will lead the child that religion is relevant and meaningful in all aspect of life.

Children pray in their own religious language. They are more natural and talk as if to a human being. They pray to God that their physical needs are, but the feeling about prayer is very strong and natural one. It is important to realize that the child of this age has not much develop a sense of right or wrong of judgment, or parents should not be loving and have a mind to accept them as they are unlovable the behavior may be.

3.2.5. Moral development

Parents should teach the child responsibility towards himself/herself – such as cleaning his/her teeth, doing homework, tidying up the room; towards his/her parents – love, obedience, respect, co-operation; towards society at large –friendliness, truthfulness, kindness, love, politeness and so on. We must help the child to develop a relationship with animal and things.

The child will start stealing and telling lies at home, even though for the child these acts will not mean anything bad. But this is an opportunity for parents to teach moral value of truthfulness and respect of other people’s property. This will become increasingly important when the child goes to school, so that s/he does not continue taking other children’s things. When s/he finds other property we should not allow to bring it home.

Ill treatment of other children or animals is a problem with a number of children. This is partly to assert their individuality, and partly as an outlet for some frustration, jealousy and hatred may lead to it.

Self control can be taught like the demand of having food just before we eat together, and table manner and so on. Other aspect like toilet habits will come later and gradually. If the child leaves stool in the sitting room, you are not going to teach his/her self control by beating up there and then. Instead the child should see you cleaning it and putting it away. Show the child where you yourself go to leave your stool, and the child will start copying you.

3.3. 6-8 Years

3.3.1. Physical development

Physical growth and development during later childhood is somewhat slower in comparison to early childhood. At the age of six the child enters school. That is why some child psychologists call this stage as the primary school child.

During this stage of later childhood, children develop and refine their sensory motor skills. That is why boys become interested in outdoor games. In stead of response we find a regular increase with age during later childhood. There is a similar increase in strength with age. They are very active, full of energy and constantly on the move. During this stage they are interested to take part in simple games, such as swimming, cycling, and jumping and so on. They sometimes neglect to eat food properly, because they are so immersed in their play. So some psychologists consider later childhood as the play period. Play is children’s way of life. Children will see play and playmates as if their life depended on it and perhaps it does. The power of play is extraordinary, and is an extremely serious matter. Piaget sees play as a part of the stages of intellectual development which children must pass through in developing from egocentric infants to adults with objective and rationalistic outlooks. Not allowing play can seriously hinder children’s growth.

It is very important that as parents you should play with your children, from the time they are babies onwards. This helps development and it brings you into a happy relationship with them. Do not just play for them, but with them and if possible let them show how to play as this give them a sense of accomplishment and pride. Parents must also create all kinds of games inside or outside the house, to keep your child busy and help them to keep entertainment. The child want to feel and be the centre of life in the household, and games and playing are one way of realizing this important development. Playing is an aid to all aspects of development, and you must give it much thought and time so that it can properly fulfill this function in your child’s life. When s/he goes to school a lot of problem with other children there, but you will have time after school and at weekends to play with him/her.

3.3.2. Mental development

During later childhood there is general development of mental ability. The child is able to grasp relationships with increase in age. Their curiosity is still in the ascent and children ask more questions, like why, when, who, what, etc. they also like to take things a part and see what makes them work. Arranging colorful objects like beads, blocks, and putting them in particularly sequences gives them pleasure. Reasoning power is increasing and many casual relationships are seen and understood.

Since the child can go to school, s/he has problems especially some subject much difficulties in learning. Parents must prepare the child psychologically beforehand, so that the child can develop a liking and longing for school. Regarding the subject matter parents and teachers should discuss and solve the problem. Let the home be always his/her place of refuge, encouragement, sympathy and love, and make him/her feel that schooling is in fact an extension of the things he/she has been doing and will continue to do at home.

Most experts in learning agree that these early childhood years are of prime importance for sensorimotor learning. All the senses must be brought into play in discovering and learning about the world. In fact it is this stimulation of all the senses that will be decisive for children’s ongoing learning and copying capabilities. Parents must surround them with opportunities, toys and manipulative materials which will contribute to the development of their sensory and perceptual development. According to Mary Evans Downs, “Children who do not have the opportunity to receive a variety of enriching experiences are handicapped in their later learning.”

3.3.3. Social Development

During later childhood the child is able to enter the adult world on account of greater physical maturity and learning communication skills. During this period they like to be independent and eat, dress and bath themselves.

As the child is already in the school, s/he comes in contact with other children. Hence s/he enjoys playing with more than two or three companions and trying to play in different games and activities. That is why, this period is known as the ‘gang age’.

K. Lovel have made certain generalizations of some of the social development of later childhood are as follow:

1. As the child increases in age s/he is able to establish stable personal relationships with others. He/she becomes less aggressive though sometimes s/he fights, verbal fight and aggression is more predominant than the physical fight at this stage.

2. When s/he goes to school s/he develops friendships with his/her peers and classmates. Though the parents are still important for the child s/he begins to develop social relationships outside his/her family circle. He/she also begins to trust his/her teachers and receives guidance from them.

3. During this stage children develop interest in team games involving competition and skill.

4. They are mostly subjective in their personal relations.

5. During later childhood, certain types of fears and anxieties also appear. These fears and anxieties are due to mysterious phenomena such as ghosts and corpses. These are the finding of Jerseld and his colleagues.

3.3.4. Spiritual development

The mental thinking in a person’s life started from this time onward. The brain cell is developed and the child can think and reason it. But their thinking is very limited not like adult. The child can calculate time, date, object, number and what was happening some few days back properly. The child can think religious ideas but to certain limits. Parents can teach them God as loving father. We must encourage the child to imitate great heroes in Bible story. The child is also interested to go to Sunday School and joining family worship service. We must give chance to participate in Sunday School and family worship service.

Parents should not teach doctrinal things and others highly theological themes; but rather used simple and clear words. The child also always thinks heaven and hell especially when some people are dying. Their minds are disturbed, so parents should tell clearly from this time onward. Moreover, children do not understand the meaning of sin. Parents or Sunday School teachers should not force to confess his/her sin and repent. The child can read the Bible so parents should give a Bible to the child so that s/he can read by himself/herself.

3.3. 9-11 Years

3.4.1. Physical development

This period is called Later Childhood. Children in this age are physically active, running, jumping, playing and so on. This is a period of comparative stability for children of both boys and girls. The problem becomes more complicated because al children do not grow at the same rate. Some children are small frothier age while others are too big. A child who is rather small for his age is treated like a baby by the elders. He/she will always remain dependent on other and also hesitant to accept responsibility in life.

The physical growth of girls grow more rapidly than boys up to early adolescence, so some girls will look don on a boy of her won age group as mere baby. Sometimes boy will show inferiority feeling by showing a spirit of difference towards girls of same age group.

They are very active in playing and doing things. They are also very careless; they just throw their box, bag and dresses. So parents must give small things to do and guide them for tidy and cleanliness. They also have comparative mind in their doing and playing. They also want to play the whole day, but we should make right time to play and also we should let them know how to take part in the society.

3.4.2. Mental Development

Mental thinking in a person life started properly. The brain cells also develop and s/he can think and reason properly. They can think object, number and calculate date and tell about fact. The child can differentiate but lots of imagination would control. Their sense of responsibility also begins to develop. Parents should give responsibility for carrying out duties in home. This will serve as introduction for training in citizenship.

The child develops strong intellectual curiosity and asks questions. Parents must help them to think logically and scientifically and find answer. The child has strong memories. It is a time of rapid increase in knowledge. They are also learning abstract idea such as justice, beauty and truth. Abstract thinking develops only fro this period.

The home and the school should provide a healthy environment where child can develop their intellectual capacity. In the process of solving problem and meeting difficulties, the child develops his/her power of thinking and reasoning.

3.4.3. Social development

Since the child is joining school, s/he comes to contact with other children. S/he enjoys playing with more than two or three companions. They have gang (group) and do things with others and loyalty to the group. According to Bhatia and others, towards the end of the period, i.e. 9-11 years, the child enters ‘young age with gang loyalties and friendship, rules and regulations and often comes in conflict with other gangs, parents and teachers. The manifestation of ‘gang age’ are the increasing interest in team game and group activities and eagerness to join group or gang and a pride in being looked upon as one of its members. A group consciousness, and unwillingness to play with numbers of the opposite sex and sort of secrecy are surroundings of all the gang activities. Since the gang influences the child, parents should look properly what type of people his/her child accompanies. If s/he joins bad gang, that will affect the life of the child into bad and worse, because they give highly regard of their peer group than parents authority.

In this age the child can distinguish between good and bad but this understanding depends on the explanation receive at home and in immediate environment. These are the years of productivity both in the world and in the home. If one has passed from basic sense a trust through all the stages fairly successfully, s/he will desire to pass on the nest generation what s/he has received. His/her joy will be to work for the betterment of the nest generation. But those who enter this stage without the proper personality foundation will strive only for themselves and will ever fear the next generation.

3.4.4. Spiritual development

At the beginning of this period, many questions are raised in religious matters. They are very critically observing the behavior of parents and others those who are older than him/her. They want to know the nature of human being and its relation with God. They also think why and how human re dying and life after death. They also want to know the nature of heaven and hell. So parents should clearly teach all those problems as simple as possible, so that their spiritual development can goes properly.

They are interested in reading Bible, books of adventures and biography of great men and so on. They also can get by heart and recite the Bible. So this is the time to start suitable Christian education to the child. We can also, teach salvation history and lead into salvation realm. Parents should introduce Christian literature in order to lay the foundation for their understanding of the true authority of the Scriptures. It expects that they meaning from a literal respect for the Bible towards a critical reverence. So that they may begin to see Scripture as true in a spiritual and not necessarily literal sense at all.

They are also hero worshippers. They are ready to follow the leader. It is the right time for emphasizing importance of Christian faith and worship in family. We have to give chance to participate in Sunday School and family worship. We should portray Jesus and other great missionaries the great leaders to follow in their spiritual life.
At Sunday School or home we can teach them through picture, flannel graph and so on. They are also interested in drama that will influence their spiritual life and so on. They also expect appreciation and admire from parents and Sunday School teachers. But today some parents treat their child like property or animals. That will make bad impact in future.


End Notes

Vimala, Paulus., Introducing Christian Education (Bombay: CSI, 1993, reprint), p.63.
John S. Mbit., Love and Marriage in Africa (London: Longman Group LImite, 1973), p. 154.
Ibid., p. 154
Vimala, Paulus., op.cit., p. 63
Cited by P. Lianengi., Lalpa Hmangaih Kristian Chhungkua (Aizawl: Rev & Mrs. K. Siamliana, 1990), p.25.
John S. Mbiti., op. cit., p. 161
Mary Evans, Downs., Creative Foundation Starting a Nursery School (Bangalore: Cycloster Copy, 1989), p.5
Quoted by Chubangnen., “The Role of Christian Educationin Developing Child Personality” Unpublished BD Thesis, ETC, 1996, p. 7.
Ibid., p.10
B.D. Bhatai and R.N. Satya., Educational Psychology and Guidance (Delhi: Phanpati & Sons, n.y.) p. 46
John S. Mbiti., op.cit., p. 164
B.D. Bhatai & R. N. Satya., op. cit., p. 62
Ibid., p. 164
Vimala, Paulus., op.cit., p. 67
B.C. Rai., Educational Psychology (Lucknow: Prakashan Kendra, 1992), p. 239
Vimala Paulus., op. cit., p. 67
Herbert E. Hoefer., Teacher as Parent (Madras: CLS, 1976), p.121
Ibid., p. 121
Vimala Paulus., op. cit., p. 69
John S. Mbiti., op. cit., p. 167
Ibid., p. 167
B.C. Rai., op. cit., p. 248
Cited by Mary Downs., op. cit., p. 17
John S. Mbiti., op. cit., p. 157
Vimala Paulus., op. cit., p. 69
Mary Evans, Downs., op. cit., p. 13
Cited by B.C. Rai., op. cit., p. 251
P. Liangengi., op. cit., p. 251
Chubannen., op. cit., p. 14
B.D., Bhatai & R.N. Satya., op. cit., p.65
Chubangnen., op. cit., p. 9
B.D., Bhatai & R.N. Satya., op. cit., p. 65
Herbert E. Hoefer.,op. cit., op. cit.,p. 27
Ronald, Golman., Readiness For Religion: A Basic For Development Religious Education (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul n. y.), p. 147.

Introduction | Chapter 01 | Chapter 02 | Chapter 03 | Chapter 04 | Chapter 05

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