The concept of domains of early-childhood development is not a new one and has been advanced in several forms, sometimes discusses as the five domains or the six domains of early-childhood development. Here we will look at a format of seven essential areas of development that need to be nurtured in early childhood.
- Gross Motor: this is the movement of big muscles and consequently involves large (or gross) physical actions. This is control of things like running, walking ,crawling, jumping, climbing, etc.
- Fine Motor: contrasted with gross motor development, fine motor refers to small movements that involve precision and control of smaller muscles, often in the hands. These are things that involve hand-eye coordination such as writing, colouring, cutting, etc.
- Language: as the title states this involves the development of language. This includes the aphlabet, phonemic awareness (sounds of letters), oral and written language.
- Cognitive: cognitive development is a very broad category and a term that is used to refer to a number of things. In this context, cognitive includes cause-and –effect reasoning, problem solving skills and pre-math skills. Essentially, the domain of cognitive involves learning how to learn.
- Social/Emotional: Humans are intrinsically social creative and this means your child is too! Exposure to social situations in the early years helps them develop essential skills of communication and collaboration. In terms of emotionality, it is also a critical period for teaching children how to regulate their emotions, to help them form secure attachments to caregivers and to give them necessary nurturing.
- Self-Help/Adaptive: essentially this is giving children responsibility and teaching them independence. They need to learn how to do simple tasks for themselves, such as dressing themselves, using the washroom brushing teeth, etc.
- Spiritual/Moral: this domain refers to teaching children right from wrong and helping them develop a set of personal values of what is good in the world and the type of person they want to be. It sounds like large concepts for young children to grasp but this can be presented to children in simple ways. Like having them reflect on wrongdoings and discussing when they are kind and what kindess looks like.
So there you have it! All seven of these domains should be nurtured and promoted equally. No one domain is more important that the others. They are all key parts of a child’s development.