Group Programme / Module 2 Child development

Children's development follows an orderly and predictable pattern.  What we can realistically expect from children's behaviour is mainly determined by their current stage in their development, and the context in which the behaviour is taking place.  From birth to 3 years old, a human baby goes from being totally reliant on their whānau to meet all their needs, to a little independent person wanting to do many things for and by themselves.  They've become an active moving, climbing, running jumping and agile child.


  • To understand how children grow and develop.
  • To enjoy children’s development and have realistic expectations of them.
  • To provide children with age-appropriate activities.


Begin the session with an appropriate settling in time — for example, karakia, gathering of thoughts, waiata, simple ‘hellos’. Whānau may share news, thoughts or feelings, if they wish. 

Mix and match from the pūtea of workshops. Tailor the session and choose workshops that will work best for the group at this time.

Background information

Children’s development follows an orderly and predictable pattern. As they develop, their behaviour changes (just like their bodies do). When whānau recognise these changes, they can adapt to them and encourage their children’s ongoing development. 

Understanding and responding well to these changes can help whānau to: 

  • see how children’s behaviour changes are part of growing up
  • enjoy their children’s changes
  • have realistic expectations of their tamariki
  • provide opportunities and experiences that support their children’s development
  • parent in ways that keep every whānau member feeling good about themselves. 

Each child is unique, and responds uniquely to their developmental changes. Relationships between each parent and each child are also unique.


  • SKIP Whakatipu booklets and cartoons 
  • SKIP Tips for under-fives booklet 
  • SKIP website: ‘Tips for parents — Ages and stages’ 
  • YouTube clip or DVD: Stay and play 

Resources for facilitators 

  • Well Child/Tamariki Ora: My health book. Each ‘Well child’ assessment for vision and hearing lists important aspects of development. In the ‘Learning and growing’ sections there are discussion starters under ‘Things to talk about’ and ‘Your baby’s/child’s development’. 

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