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Developmental Goals and Needs of the Child

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Physical Goals and Needs

Effective values education presumes adequate housing, bodily care through proper nutrition, medication, exercise, hygiene, clothing and grooming because the child who is well-feed, healthy, physically fit, clean, suitably dressed, and well-groomed is likely to be more alert to sensory and intellectual knowledge of values, and to develop self-respect and confidence.

Educators of children should never underestimate how satisfaction of the physical needs affects the child’s capacity and willingness to absorb moral values.

Community resources whether private or public can be tapped to supplement or financially support classroom lessons and projects which are purposely directed to the inculcation of values.

Related to the physical needs and of crucial importance to education, is the child’s attitudes towards work and his need for cycles of work and rest.

In every socio-economic income level, the child formulates attitudes towards work first in the home environment- by watching and listening, and then by doing. If he observes and hears that the parents approach their work with naturalness and enthusiasm, and value the nobility and dignity of work well-done or if he sees that they return from their professional work with a smile of satisfaction, or if he notices that the mother puts order into her household management, or that both parents finish task steadfastly to the last detail, the child absorbs positive work attitude.

From the earliest years the child needs to engage in creative play, a forerunner of real work. If he spend his time productively by using his hands to build, to do things and to think things out for himself, if he is encouraged to pursue his interest and talents and given opportunities to develop coordination, dexterity, concentration, and perseverance, he learns good work habits.

As the child matures, he needs to be given responsibilities commensurate to his abilities and age level, most especially choirs which teach him how to care for his own belongings. Later he can be assigned other tasks which correspond to his aptitudes, example, cooking, gardening, an outside job. In this way, the child participates in family life and contributes to its solidarity. Simultaneously, once the child attends school, he needs to be helped to understand why a major part of his work is learning and studying, and how to develop good study habits.

Likewise, during leisure hours he needs to be guided towards the constructive use of his time through participation in sports, hobbies, and creative, imaginative play. He then learns to plan and put order in work and play.

Emotional Goals and Needs

Knowledge of moral values first passes through the senses and the feelings, the child must learn how to process his experiences rationally. If the intellect properly enlightens the will with the truth, the will to fortified in its struggle to gain control of the senses and emotions and to seek the good in an orderly way.

If the child does not gradually internalize self-discipline, then his emotions may eventually control him. He may become an unfortunate victim of his own passions who acts and reacts impulsively and illogically, following his whims and gratifying his sensual appetites. If a child learns that she can get what she wants by throwing a temper tantrum, later in life she may continue the same tactic.

In the world of the child, the parents, family, friends, peers and teachers are the greatest source of affection, attention, approval and acceptance. If they deprive the child of supportive and confirming experiences or if they neglect to fulfill his needs, the child may withdraw, fearful and insecure or become rebellious and arrogant.

Too often overlooked or neglected in the education of values is the importance of the child’s emotional stability and self-confidence. These two factors affect significantly the child’s willingness to uphold universal truths.

Building and strengthening the child’s self-confidence are best achieved when those most important in his life-parents, relatives, teachers, peers- express open, sincere respect for his dignity through understanding and good manners. If the child is expected to obey and respect others, he must from earliest childhood, be treated with politeness and dignity.

Social Goals

“Man is not only a unit composed of matter and spirit. He is a social being linked organically with others, neither brought into being nor maintained in being save by others. Community is of his very essence."


At no other stage of development are social needs as critical as during the childhood years of dependency and innocence. The child needs interaction with family, friends, authorities and peers not only to ensure his safety and well-being but to grow through their love, guidance, and support. He needs their inspiration and example who confirm and uphold universal truths as the values which bind mankind. Gradually, the child needs to shed his ego-centrism, to share with others, to perform acts of service towards others, if he is to enter the brotherhood of man.

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Spiritual Goals and Needs

Reasonable rules, limits, direction, and expectations which are rooted ultimately in the moral law, formulated in his best interests and implemented consistently, structure the child's life and guide him to develop order and a sense of justice. As he matures, the child needs to learn how to gave and take and how to enjoy a right and exercise the corresponding responsibility. Reasonable rules should be given with explanation , appealing to the child's intellect and appropriate to his age level.

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