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4 – HSC CM2: Human Growth and Development

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1.1. Identify the life stages of human development.

Human development is the process through which a child develops into an adult; it is simple to observe because most human growth occurs at a similar rate. In the course of human life, there are 6 stages of human:

  • Infancy (from 0-2)
  • Childhood (from 3- 10)
  • Adolescence (from 11 -17)
  • Early adulthood (from 18 -29)
  • Middle adulthood (from 30 -60)
  • Late adulthood (from 60+)


Infancy is the earliest stage of human development, and it is quite a critical stage where the baby is very fragile. At this stage, the infant depends on the mother (and/or other adults) for survival as the infant’s immune system is not fully developed. The infancy period is generally considered to be from birth to two years old. During the stage of infancy, the baby is growing and developing at a rapid pace. The baby’s brain is growing and developing, and the baby is learning to control his or her body. The baby is also learning to communicate with others and develop relationships.


This is the 2nd stage in human development; the child learns independence and explores the world around them. At this stage, the child learns that all action has a reaction. The child sees his/herself as an individual, and the carer must nurture the child in a way that will instil self-confidence, which will build self-esteem that will help as the child grows. This is the stage of learning dos and don’ts.


This is the 3rd stage of human development. Here, the child is growing with a more adult-like appearance. It is a stage of independence and self-awareness; the search for self-identification questions like “where do I fit in” is being asked here. Many physical changes continue to happen in this stage, and emotional ones too. At this stage, the carer must show the child much love because this stage has a lot of stress factors for the child. These include questions revolving around looks, growth spurt, peer pressure and so on. The child will take on different changes, be it in appearance, interest or friends, all in the quest for self–identification.


This stage is divided into 3: Early Adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood.

Early adulthood: The child is more concerned about life goals, college and family. This is a period of few physical changes, but more emotional growth occurs. The question of ‘what do I do after high school, college or start a family is answered; we can say it is a stage of decision-making.

Middle Adulthood: There is no physical growth here rather, it is the body going into decline. Sign of old age is evident with pop-ups of health challenges, and the stress issue is different to that of early adulthood. Now, they may be faced with raising older children, responsibilities from the workplace, caring for aged parents etc. A well-rounded adult here can meet these challenges head-on as they are emotionally stable to do so.

Late Adulthood: This is the last stage of adulthood; the person is about 64 years old, and their health may be seriously compromised, necessitating care for most of their activities. It is also the right moment to reflect on past events in their lives; if they have led fulfilling lives, they will feel fulfilled and pleased; if not, they may feel dejected and guilty.

Other answers in the full document:

  • 1.2. Describe social, emotional, cognitive and physical developments within each life stage.
  • 2.1. Describe theories of human growth and development.
  • 3.1. Explain significant life events that can occur within each stage of human development.
  • 3.2. Analyse the impact that significant life events have on individuals.

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