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Principles of Growth and Development of Children-B.Ed Notes

Growth and development are inseparable but they differ from each other. The growth represents the physical changes of an individual and development represents the overall changes, structure and shape of an individual.

Knowledge of the growth and development at the various stage is very essential for the teacher. The teacher has to stimulate the growth and development of a child. He can do it only if he has proper knowledge of the growth and development at various stages.

Meaning of Growth and Development

Growth terms represent a purely physical sense of a person, i.e height, weight, size and length etc. Growth is quantitive in nature. It starts with conception but ends at some particular age.

Development implies the overall change in shape, form or structure, along with the function of the organ. Development is both quantitative and qualitative in nature. It is a continuous process starting from the Womb and end with the tomb.

Principles of Growth and development

1. Principle of Continuity

The development follows the principle of continuity which means that development is a continuous process. It starts with pre-natal and ends with death.

2. Principle of Integration

Development thus involves a movement from the whole to parts and from parts to the whole and this way it is the integration of the whole and its parts as well as the specific and general responses. It enables a child to develop satisfactorily in relation to various aspects or dimensions of his personality. 

Example: Child first starts to learn hand movement then finger movement and then learn the movement of both hand and finger together this is called integration

3. Principle of lack of uniformity in the developmental rate

Development through the continuous process, but does not exhibit steadiness and uniformity in terms of the rate of development in various development of personality or in the developmental periods and stage of life.

Example: A person may have a high rate of growth and development in terms of height and weight but may not have the same pace of mental and social development.

4. Principle of individual difference

Every organism is a distinct creation in itself. One of the most important principles of development is that involves individual differences. There is no fixed rate of development. That all children will learn to walk is universal, but the time at which each child takes his her first step may vary.

5. Principle of uniformity pattern

Although development does not proceed at a uniform rate and shows marked individual differences with regard to the process and outcome of various stages of development, yet it follows a definite pattern in one or the other dimension which is uniform and universal with respect to the individual of a species.                               

6. Principe of proceeding from general to specific

While developing in relation to any aspect of personality. The child first pickup or exhibit a general response and learn how to show specific and goal-directed responses afterwards.

7. Principle of interaction between Heredity and Environment

The development of a child is a process that cannot be defined wholly based on either heredity or environment. Both have to play an important role in development. There are arguments in favour of both. However, most of the psychologist agree that an interplay o these two factors leads to development.

Where heredity decides or set some limits on development ( mostly physical), environmental influences complete the developmental process ( qualitative). Environmental influences provide space for multidimensional development through interaction with family, peers, society and so on. Growth and development is a joint product of heredity and environment.

8. Principle of interrelation

Various aspects or dimensions of one’s growth and development are interrelated. What is achieved or not achieved in one or other dimensions in the course of the gradual and continuous process of the development surely affects the development of other dimensions?

A healthy body tends to develop a healthy mind and an emotionally stable, physically strong and socially conscious personality. Inadequate physical or mental development may, on the other hand, result in a socially or emotionally maladjusted personality.

9. Principle of Cephalocaudal

Development proceeds in the direction of the longitudinal axis. Development from head to foot or toe. That is why, before it becomes able to stand, the child first gains control over his head and arms and then on his legs.

10. Principle of Proximodistal

Development of motor skills to start at central body parts to outwards. That is why, in the beginning, the child is seen to exercise control over the large fundamental muscles of the arm and then hand and only afterwards over the smaller muscles of the fingers.

Principles of cephalocaudal and proximodistal
Principles of cephalocaudal and proximodistal ( image source: )

11. Principle of predictability

Development is predictable, which means that with the help of the uniformity of pattern and sequence of development. We can go to a great extent, forecast the general nature and behaviour of a child in one or more aspects or dimensions at any particular stage of its growth and development.  We can know the particular age at which children will learn to walk, speak and so on.

Principles of Growth and Development of Children-B.Ed Notes

12. Principle of Spiral versus Linear advancement

The child doesn’t proceed straight or linear on the path of development at any stage never takes place at a constant or steady pace. After the child had developed to a certain level, there is likely to be a period of rest for consolidation of the developmental progress achieved till then. In advancing further, therefore, the development turn back and then moves forward again in a spiral pattern

Principles of Growth and Development of Children-B.Ed Notes
Image source: Advanced Educational Psychology by S.K. Mangal

13. Principle of Association of Maturation and Learning

Biological growth and development are known as maturation. Biological changes involve changes in the brain and the nervous system, which provide new abilities to a child. Development proceeds from simple to complex. In the beginning, a child learns through concrete objects and gradually moves to abstract thinking. This transition happens because of the maturation


Growth and development interchangeably use, Growth is required for development and we can conclude from the above point, the principles of growth and development very essential for the teacher to develop curriculum according to the needs and ability of a child.

Also Read: Kohlberg’s theory of moral development

Educational Implication of the principles of growth and Development

The knowledge of the above–mentioned principles of growth and development may prove beneficial to us in a number of ways describe below:

  • Development is a continuous and non-stop process at all period and stage of human life. Therefore, we should never give up our efforts to achieve perfection in terms of development in the different dimension of our personality.
  • The principle of individual differences among children reminds us to understand the wide individual differences at all periods of growth and development. Each child should be helped along the developmental; process according to their ability, strengths and limitations.
  • The principles related to growth and development suggest a pattern or trend for the advancement of children on the developmental path. This knowledge can help us to understand as what is often expected in terms of the right growth and development at a specific developmental stage and that we can then plan accordingly to achieve it by organising the environmental experiences.
  • Principles of proceeding from general to specific responses and the principles of integration help us to develop appropriate learning experiences so that to achieve maximum growth and development.
  • Principles of interrelation and interdependence direct us to make every effort from the very beginning for the all-round harmonious development of the personalities of our child and caution us no to encourage the development of particular aspects at the cost of another.
  • The principles of spiral advancement of development help us to make adequate arrangement for subsequent progress and consolidation of the progress achieved during specific developmental stages.
  • The cephalocaudal and proximodistal tendencies as suggested by the principle of developmental direction help us to arrange the suitable learning experiences, processes and environmental set-up so as to accommodate and help the children to grow and develop according to the trend and nature of these tendencies.
  • The principle of interaction reminds us to recognise the joint responsibilities of heredity and environment in the development of personality. Genetic make-up is inborn that influences a limited amount of development, so we can provide a suitable environment for a child to take out their maximum growth and development.


  1. Mangal, S. (2007). Advanced Educational Psychology (2nd ed., pp. 99-101). New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India private limited.
  2. Kumar, S. (2019). Child Development and pedagogy (5th ed., pp. 7-8). Noida: Pearson India Education Pvt, Ltd.

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