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Continuous and Discontinuous


Continuous Versus Discontinuous Development

There are two different theories of development;
The Continuous View: Development involves gradual

and ongoing changes throughout the lifespan.

Behaviour in the earlier stages of development
provide the basis of skills for the next stage.
The Discontinuous View: Development involves

distinct and separate stages with different kinds of

behaviour occurring in each stage.

Continuous Development

The Continuous Development model is represented by the seed turning into

a tree... It is a slow, continuous process.

Discontinuous Development

The Discontinuous model is represented by a caterpillar turning into a

butterfly. It is a sudden and distinct change.

Continuous and Discontinuous Development

Periods in Development (Pg 334)

Prenatal (Conception to birth)
Infancy (Birth 2)
Early Childhood (2-5)
Middle Childhood (5-10)
Late Childhood (10-12)
Adolescence (12-18)
Early Adulthood (18-40)
Middle Adulthood (40-60)
Late Adulthood (60 death)

The Sequential Nature of Development

The development of many thoughts, feelings and

behaviours proceeds according to orderly sequences.

Sequences of development usually begin with simple

thoughts, feelings or behaviours and progress to

more complex processes.
The steps will generally follow a particular order.
(Crawl before walk, speak with words before


Quantitative and Qualitative Changes

Quantitative Changes: variations in the quantity of a

thought, feeling or behaviour.

These changes are expressed in numbers height, weight

Qualitative Changes: changes that vary in quality, kind

or type.
Eg: Walking, thinking etc. Not usually prescribed a


Learning Activity 10.1 Pg 336