Child Development and Education
Learning is modification of behavior through experience. There is a sort of interaction always going on between individual and his environment, both influencing and changing each other. He inherits only a few fixed patterns of responses. His interest, attitude, appreciation, skills and achievements are primarily the product of learning.
Child growth and development basically occurs as a result of both maturation and learning. Maturation refers to change in a developing organism due to unfolding and repenting of abilities, characteristics, traits and potentialities present at birth. Learning denotes change in human behavior due to activity, training or experience. Maturation and learning process are interacting. Teresa Mcdevitt wrote a book on child development and education especially helpful for educators.
Here is a slight difference between maturation and learning. Maturation process mean growth and development which takes place regularly in the individual with special conditions or stimulation, such as training and practice. Learning on the other, is a change of behavior which depends on the stimuli provided by the environment outside the individual. It involves training and practice e.g. at a particular age all children normally learn to crawl, walk or talk. They have not in put in much conscious effort to learn these activities. Whereas they have to learn the skill of cycling.
Maturation and learning are actually very much interconnected with and interdependent upon teach other. Both contribute to the development of the individual. Some functions like crawling, walking etc are mostly due to maturation and less due to learning. Functions like swimming, cycling etc are more due to learning and less due to maturation.
Learning is possible only when the organism has reached a certain level of maturation essential to facilitate the sort of learning. For example, a child is not too mature to learn the abstract principles of algebra before he has learnt to deal with concrete things in arithmetic. Similarly the child cannot be made to learn walking before he is mature enough to stand. Training in motor skills may, to some extent show superiority over other children before maturation, but this soon vanishes when maturity take place. For example if a child is given training in climbing a staircase before he is mature enough for this act, he will show this superiority over other children of the same level of maturity. But when maturity is achieved both the children will climb the stairs with the same efficiency. In this case training before maturity is of little use. Thus maturation is important factor of learning.