During the first years of a child’s life, key aspects of the cognitive and physical structure develop. Physical development, including the growth of the brain and nervous system, is the basis for enhancing cognitive and motor skills. Rapid growth takes place up to 2-3 years; by the age of three or four, change becomes slower until a pubertal age, when accelerated physical development occurs again (Papalia & Martorell, 2014). Nervous systems during infancy and toddlerhood form thousands of new neurons every day. In the first years of life, the nervous system development occurs most actively to acquire new skills (book). Before the age of six, the brain’s growth continues, the development of the frontal lobes, which allows children to acquire the ability to control attention and behavior by school age.
The key is improving gross and fine motor skills, which continues from 3 to 6 years. Gross motor skills are responsible for controlling large muscles responsible for basic physical actions such as walking, running, and others. On the other hand, fine motor skills are responsible for handling measured objects with hands and fingers (Papalia & Martorell, 2014). Thus, physical development lays the foundation for the child’s further growth and the expansion of cognitive abilities.
Physical growth implies new experiences, and cognitive skills are also rapidly developed upon receiving them. According to Piaget’s theory, children react to new objects and build knowledge about them, forming the world’s basic perception in the first two years of life (Papalia & Martorell, 2014). In the period from 2 to 7 years, children develop the ability to think symbolically and use language to describe not only objects of reality but also simple concepts (Papalia & Martorell, 2014). The researchers also describe several basic concepts characteristic of children’s cognitive development in early childhood, such as egocentrism and animism, which determine the perception. Thus, in the first years of life, brain development, nervous system, and motor skills occur. In this regard, the cognitive capabilities expand, allowing a child to move from the perception of reality to its analysis and operation with concepts.
Papalia, D. E., & Martorell, G. (2014). Experience Human Development. McGraw-Hill.