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Child development The study of Child development covers the change and development in a person from before birth to the end of adolescence. It involves both physiological and mental changes as a child learns and grows. Childhood development receives much interest and study as it is considered vital to society at large. Language is an enormously important part of a child?s cognitive development but 2nd language acquisition does not follow the same pattern. In this essay, I will state the general form in which child development is viewed, I will go over the basic pattern of first language acquisition and explore how 2nd language learning differs to it. Development has a strong genetic basis but it is also affected, hindered and helped by environmental factors. It is more or less agreed that learning and development happens as a result of both ?nature? and ?nurture?. Popular theories are those of Piaget, Vygotsky, Erikson and Freud, all of whom describe development as happening in stages. Piaget described stages of development in the form of how children experience the world and the manner in which they think (abstract vs. literal). He suggested that learning could be optimized by providing a child with the materials needed and through asking the child about what they are doing,