Stages of human development: AHSEC Class 11 Education notes

Stages of human development ahsec class 11
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Get summaries, questions, answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF and guide of Class 11 (first year) Education textbook, Chapter 2, Stages of Human Development, which is part of the syllabus of students studying under AHSEC/ASSEB (Assam Board). These solutions, however, should only be treated as references and can be modified/changed. 

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Human development is a continuous process that starts at birth and continues through adulthood. For convenience, it is divided into stages: infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Growth and development are distinct concepts; growth refers to quantitative changes like size and weight, while development encompasses qualitative changes in shape, form, or function.

Growth involves physical changes such as increases in size, length, height, and weight. Development includes broader changes that improve function and quality of life. Development has four basic elements: growth, maturation, experience, and social transmission. It is influenced by hereditary and environmental factors and varies from individual to individual. It is a continuous process with no clear boundaries between stages.

Educationists have different views on the stages and their time limits. Rousseau, in his book “Emile,” divided human life into four stages: infancy (birth to 5 years), childhood (5 to 12 years), early adolescence (12 to 15 years), and late adolescence (15 to 20 years). Other educationists, like Dr. Earnest Jones and W.M. Ryburn, also proposed similar divisions with slight variations.

Infancy covers the period from birth to 5 years and is considered the most important stage because it lays the foundation for future development. During infancy, there is quick physical growth; the infant’s weight doubles in five months and triples in a year. Initially, the baby is immature and helpless, requiring care and attention. Infants rely on others for basic needs such as bathing, feeding, and dressing but gradually learn to perform some tasks independently. They spend most of their time playing, which helps develop motor skills and social adjustment.

Language development begins in infancy, as infants start learning by imitating family members. They begin with meaningless words and gradually build a vocabulary. Sensory development also takes place, with infants becoming increasingly aware and responsive to visual, auditory, and tactile experiences. Infants are curious about their environment and ask many questions, a trait known as the ‘questioning age.’ They live in a world of imagination, often blurring the line between reality and fantasy. Infants are imitative by nature, learning behaviours by mimicking others. They also exhibit animism, believing that all objects have life and feelings.

Infants have various psycho-physical needs. They are completely dependent on others for their needs, particularly the mother, for health, nutrition, and hygiene. Play is vital for their physical, mental, and emotional development. Emotional security is crucial, and they need love and affection from family members to develop self-confidence. They are self-conscious and seek recognition from others, and they also crave freedom to explore their environment. It is important for carers to satisfy these needs to support normal growth and development.

The home environment significantly influences a child’s development. It provides physical care and protection, ensuring the child’s health and well-being. Emotional security, fostered by love and understanding from family members, is essential for healthy personality development. Children acquire social customs, traditions, faith, and beliefs from their home environment. Proper material conditions are necessary to fulfil the child’s psycho-physical needs. Moral education, learned from family members, helps children distinguish between right and wrong, justice and injustice. Discipline in the home sets standards for behaviour, teaching children the importance of rules and structure.

Childhood spans the ages of 6 to 12 years and is divided into early childhood (6 to 8 years) and late childhood (9 to 12 years). Physical development slows compared to infancy, but significant changes occur during late childhood, including increased height and weight. This stage is marked by mental readiness for formal education, as children become capable of learning to read and write. Social development is crucial, with primary school providing an ideal environment for socialisation. Children develop friendships, learn to cooperate, and participate in group activities, fostering a sense of community and teamwork.

During childhood, children become more extroverted and curious about their surroundings. They form strong loyalties to peer groups, often playing in groups rather than individually. This period is characterised by a tendency towards homosexuality, where boys prefer playing with boys and girls with girls. Children also develop specific interests and sentiments towards certain subjects and activities, such as music, dance, drawing, and painting. The late childhood stage sees the emergence of creative abilities, with children expressing their innate talents in various forms.

Educational provision during childhood should cater to the child’s characteristics at this stage. Realistic and experiential learning should be emphasised, allowing children to learn through doing. Opportunities for creative expression should be provided, nurturing their creative abilities. Group play and activities are important for social and physical development. Health education should be included to teach children about hygiene and maintaining cleanliness. Educational programmes should be designed to satisfy their curiosity and promote a love for learning.

Adolescence, spanning from 12 to 18 years, is a period of rapid physical growth and significant changes. Puberty brings reproductive capacity and fertility, along with noticeable changes in body structure and abilities. Adolescents experience heightened mental development, with more logical, scientific, and systematic thought processes. Emotional development is also pronounced, with intense emotions that can sometimes lead to emotional volatility.

Adolescents become socially and morally conscious, developing a strong sense of social belonging and responsibility. They strive to understand social customs and traditions, developing a sense of patriotism and loyalty. They also experience heterosexuality, developing strong attractions to the opposite sex. Adolescence is marked by a strong spirit of creative imagination, hero-worship, and a desire for adventure. Self-dependence grows, with adolescents seeking to assert their independence and make their own decisions.

Adolescents have various needs, including physical needs such as a balanced diet and physical exercise. They also need adequate sex education to navigate the changes they experience. Intellectual stimulation is important, as adolescents are eager to learn and explore new subjects. They seek social security, wanting to be part of a group and gain recognition from society. Freedom is crucial, as adolescents need the space to express themselves and grow.

However, adolescents face several problems. The onset of puberty and the associated physical changes can cause anxiety and confusion, leading to sexual maladjustment. Emotional problems can arise from excessive emotions without adequate control, resulting in frustration and violent behavior. Social problems often stem from a generation gap between adolescents and their elders, leading to conflicts. Educational problems may arise from a rigid and traditional education system that does not cater to their diverse needs and interests. A lack of healthy recreational facilities can lead to problems of leisure, and societal issues can result in delinquency.

Educational provision for adolescents should be designed to address their characteristics, needs, and problems. A diversified curriculum that caters to their varied interests and aptitudes is essential. Physical education should be emphasised to maintain health and hygiene. Vocational education should be included to prepare those not pursuing higher education. Educational, vocational, and personal guidance should be provided to help adolescents navigate their path in life. Leisure time education and co-curricular activities should encourage students to develop good hobbies and utilise their energy positively.

To foster their adventurous spirit, opportunities for excursions and adventurous activities should be provided. Sex education is necessary to dispel myths and provide accurate information. Adolescents should be encouraged to participate in social situations to promote friendship, cooperation, and democratic values. Leadership training through programmes like scouts and guides can help develop discipline and loyalty. National integration camps and other activities can promote emotional integration and a sense of national pride.

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Textbook questions and answers

1. What is the difference between growth and development?

Answer: Generally, the term ‘growth’ and ‘development’ are not the same. Growth is used in a physical sense. It usually refers to the changes in the quantitative aspects like an increase in size, length, height, and weight. On the other hand, development is a much broader term. It implies all-around changes in shape, form, or structure resulting in improved worth or functioning. It means changes in the qualitative aspects of human life.

2. How many stages of development in human life?

Answer: Generally, stages of development have been divided into four parts – infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

3. What is the name of the stage from birth to 5 years?

Answer: The stage from birth to 5 years is called infancy.

4. What is the name of the stage between 12 to 18 years of age?

Answer: The stage between 12 to 18 years of age is called adolescence.

5. Write three characteristics of development?


  • Developmental process is influenced by two important factors: hereditary or genetic factors and environmental factors. The interaction of both factors leads to the proper development of an individual.
  • The rate and speed of development cannot be uniform and regular. There is a cyclic order that maintains such development.
  • Development is a continuous, comprehensive, and long-term process. A clear line of demarcation cannot be made between the two distinct stages.

6. Why childhood is called the age of schooling?

Answer: The child enters primary school at the early childhood stage. He is mentally fit for receiving formal education. Therefore, it is called the ‘schooling age’.

7. Why do infants frequently ask questions?

Answer: Infants are very curious during this period. They become curious towards their environment when they come in contact with it. Due to their nature, infancy is known as the ‘questioning age’.

8. What is infancy?

Answer: Infancy is the first stage of human life. It covers the period from birth to 5 years. It is considered the most important stage of development because it is the foundation stage of human life.

9. Write five characteristics of infancy.


  • Quick physical growth: The rate of physical growth is the highest in the very first year of life. The normal birth weight of the baby increases to double within five months and to triple within one year.
  • Dependence: The infant depends on others for his works. He depends on his mother or others for bathing, feeding, dressing, etc.
  • Playfulness: The child likes to spend most of the time in different plays. Development of motor ability makes a child playful.
  • Language development: Infants begin to learn language at this stage by imitating the parents or elders in the family circle.
  • Sensory development: A baby cannot make an adequate response to his physical situation within a few days of birth. He shows gradual awareness and sensitivity to experiences more particularly to visual, auditory, and tactual senses within three months.

10. What is childhood? Write three characteristics of childhood.

Answer: Childhood is the second stage of human development. Generally, childhood comprises the period of 6 years to 12 years of age.

Three characteristics of childhood:

  • Physical development: At the early stage of childhood, physical development is not as speedy as infancy. But later childhood is a period of rapid and notable physical development.
  • Intellectual development: The child is able to perform intellectual activities at this stage. He can exercise his power of memory, attention, thinking, and imagination and can solve problems intelligently.
  • Capacity to learn: The child acquires mental readiness to learn at this stage. He is able to pay attention to anything and develops interest in reading, writing, and arithmetical activities.

11. What is adolescence? Why is adolescence called the period of storm and stress?

Answer: Generally, the stage of adolescence comprises between 12 years and 18 years of age. The term adolescence is derived from the word ‘adolescence’ which means ‘to grow’. Thus, the etymological meaning of the term is growth.

Adolescence is called the period of storm and stress because it is a period of great stress and strain, storm, and strife. Rapid physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and sexual development accompany this stage of adolescence.

12. Mention five psycho-physical needs of infancy.


  • Physical needs: Though man is the supreme creature of God, yet during the stage of early infancy a baby cannot do anything without the help of others. The baby is totally dependent on others for his works.
  • Need of play: Play is the vital physical and psychological need of the child. Play gives pleasure. Play makes his respiratory, circulatory, muscular, and digestive system normal.
  • Need of love: The need for love and affection is very essential for the child. The child passionately seeks to be loved by all the persons concerned with his association.
  • Need of emotional security: The child needs emotional security from the family members. He must feel emotionally safe and secure under the loving care of the parents and elders.
  • Need of status: During the stage of infancy the child is self-conscious of his own status and honour in the family. He wants the elder members to give due share of his rights and duties to be performed.

13. Mention five psycho-physical needs of adolescence.


  • Physical need: Physical growth and development are very rapid during the stage of adolescence. As a result, balanced diet and physical exercise are necessary for them.
  • Sex need: During the period of adolescence boys and girls feel the need for sexual satisfaction due to the maturation of the sex instinct.
  • Intellectual need: During the stage of adolescence, intellectual development is as rapid as emotional development. They always try to get new knowledge on new subjects or things.
  • Need of social security: The adolescent has the need for social security. They cannot live without society.
  • Need of freedom: Adolescents need freedom of action. Therefore guardians and teachers should not keep them always under control.

14. Write five problems of adolescence.


  • Sex problem: This is one of the major problems of adolescence. During this stage, adolescents attain puberty which gives rise to physical excitement.
  • Emotional problem: Adolescents have excessive emotion but without sufficient control over them. They become more emotional when they fail to fulfill their needs according to their own approaches and expectations.
  • Social problem: Adolescents always want recognition from society. They want to involve themselves in the upliftment of society.
  • Educational problem: Frustrating educational situations in secondary school may create problems for adolescents.
  • Problem of delinquency: Delinquency is another burning problem of adolescents. Problems of leisure, problems of unemployment, moral degradation of society, use of drugs, dirty politics, easy money, and black money, craze for power, terrorism, and fatalism have created a delinquent environment in society to which the adolescent falls an easy victim.

15. What is gang loyalty?

Answer: Children have their own groups. They play in groups. They develop a strong sense of loyalty and allegiance to the gang. They form certain rules and code of conduct of the gang and uphold them quite faithfully and obediently. They select their own leader and follow him. If anyone violates the rules of the group he/she may be expelled from the group. Gang loyalty develops a democratic sense.

16. What is hetero-sexuality?

Answer: Sex life of adolescence is known as hetero-sexual. They develop a strong urge towards the opposite sex. The boy loves the girl and the girl loves the boy. Fertility and reproductive capacity add new strength and dimension to their sexual life.

17. What is animism?

Answer: A typical nature of a child’s mental life identifies itself with the sense of animism. As the sense of reality is immature, the child thinks that every object and thing has life. Everything can feel pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow like him. For example, when the child falls on the ground then he begins to cry. When someone hits the ground then he feels pleasure.

18. Write briefly about the educational provision of infancy.

Answer: During infancy educational provision should be made keeping in view of their psycho-physical characteristics and needs. Educational provision for infants may be summarized with the following points:

  • Proper care is needed for awakening the dormant qualities of the child.
  • A calm and peaceful environment for education should be made.
  • Play, music, dance, etc. should be the most important part of education. Because through these the child gets joy. Moreover, they help in the physical and mental development of the child.
  • Parents and teachers should take proper care for the physical, mental, emotional, and moral development of the child.
  • Wishes and desires of the children should be fulfilled. These should be utilized in the proper path.
  • Importance should be given to the development of thinking, reasoning, and imagination of the child.
  • The child should be taught through the mother tongue as far as possible because infancy is the first period for language development.

19. Write briefly about the educational provision of childhood.

Answer: Educational provision should be made according to different characteristics of the child at this stage. Importance should be given to the following points:

  • The child becomes realistic and extrovert in nature at the stage of childhood. Education should be given based on real experience. So importance should be given to learning by doing.
  • Opportunities should be given for the proper development of their creative power.
  • Importance should be given to the proper development of the instinctive behavior of the child.
  • Importance should be given to group play and group activities. It helps them in physical and social development.
  • Preliminary health education should be given at this stage. Instructions should be given to maintain neatness and cleanliness.
  • Tour programs to different important places should be arranged to fulfill their curiosity.
  • During childhood, the tendency for homo-sexuality develops. Therefore, there is no problem in imparting co-education at this stage.

20. Write briefly about the educational provision of adolescence.

Answer: Educational provision for adolescents may be designed keeping in view their characteristics, needs, and problems. They may be summarized with the following points:

  • Keeping in view the diverse interests and aptitudes of the adolescents, the curriculum for the secondary stage should be diversified. The principle of freedom and flexibility should be taken into consideration.
  • The adolescents by nature of their development possess a lot of physical energy. Provision should be made to organize a variety of games, sports, yoga, etc. in view of keeping the physical health and hygiene of the youth. Physical education may be considered very essential.
  • Secondary education should be based on the principle of vocationalisation. Useful vocational subjects should be more motivated to those who are unfit for higher education.
  • Provision should be made in the school for giving educational, vocational, and personal guidance to students. It helps them to choose a proper path in their life.
  • Enough provision should be made for leisure time education. Children should be taught to develop good hobbies. Importance should be given to co-curricular activities in the school.

21. Write briefly about the influence of home on child’s development.

Answer: Home is the best place for the development of the child. It forms the basis of his superstructure of personality. In regard to the influence of home, attention may be drawn to the following points:

  • Physical influence: After birth, the child comes under the physical influence of home. He depends upon the mother for health, nutrition, and hygienic condition. Proper physical care is necessary for a healthy child.
  • Emotional influence: An atmosphere of love and affection and close understanding of the member of the family may give emotional security to the child.
  • Cultural influence: A child acquires all the social customs, traditions, faith, beliefs, religion, etc. from home and identifies himself with them.
  • Influence of material condition: The material condition of home influences child development. Poorer material condition has a negative effect on the child.
  • Moral education: The infant is imitative by nature. He learns moral sense or moral sentiment from parents or other members of the family. Moral way of life and standards maintained by the elder members may have their relative effect on the child.

Extra fill in the blanks

1. Development has four basic elements: Growth, Maturation, Experience, and ______.

Answer: Social transmission

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63. Infants’ dependence on others for essential tasks like bathing and feeding is characteristic of their ______.

Answer: Helplessness

Extra questions and answers

1. What is the primary characteristic of a newborn baby in the early stage of human life?

Answer: A newborn baby is helpless and cannot eat or dress without the help of parents or others.

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66. What educational provisions should be made for adolescents?

Answer: Educational provisions for adolescents should include:

  • Diversified curriculum for secondary education, with freedom and flexibility.
  • Organizing games, sports, yoga, and physical education to maintain health and hygiene.
  • Vocational education to motivate those unfit for higher education.
  • Educational, vocational, and personal guidance to help students choose proper paths.
  • Leisure time education and encouragement of good hobbies, with a focus on co-curricular activities.
  • Excursions and trips to fulfill their adventurous spirit.
  • Provision of sex education to remove misconceptions about sex.
  • Promoting social sense, friendship, cooperation, and democratic values through active participation.
  • Leadership training through activities like scouts, guides, and NCC.
  • Organizing national integration and summer camps for emotional integration.

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