2.1 Introduction

In session 1 of this module, you explored how a child is defined in different cultures and how childhood is understood. In this session we will explore in more detail the different stages of development that a child goes through as they mature from birth to 18 years. Childhood is a period of very rapid development. Although there is growing acceptance internationally that childhood lasts until a child is 18 years old, obviously the capacities of a small baby are very different from those of a 17-year-old. The session will examine the different stages of children’s growth and development. It will also explore the fact that, although all children pass through common processes of development, the ages at which children develop different capacities is informed not just by biological and physiological factors. Social, cultural, economic and individual factors also play a significant role in determining how well children are able to grow up. The session will provide guidance as to what to expect of children at different ages, and explore your role as a health professional in supporting children’s development.

2.2 Learning outcomes