Childhood Development

1. Analyze how children develop physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively from the prenatal period to adolescence using psychological theories or research concepts.

. Identify the weaknesses of a theoretical framework relative to young children.

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2. Evaluate literature on the complex developmental processes and experiences of children from the prenatal period to adolescence.

. Identify the strengths of a theoretical framework relative to young children.

4. Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for members of the psychological professions.

. Apply a relevant theoretical framework for working with young children.

The place of theory in the study of childhood development is to provide useful frameworks for application to actual people and situations. Theory about how children develop has changed over the years. The demand to demonstrate evidence-based practices is increasing. With these factors in mind, you will critically review material in terms of its continuing usefulness to the field.

The major theories of child development have created the foundation for current knowledge in the field of child psychology. These theories include many perspectives: psychoanalytic, humanistic, cognitive, learning, information processing, and ecological systems. Many well-known theorists have contributed to the field of child psychology, including Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Lev Vygotsky, and Jean Piaget, to name a few. You will begin to think about how the developing child may be shaped by his or her environment and biology; whether development is a continuous, smooth process or a process of moving from stage to stage; and what part the child’s own personality characteristics play. You will examine theories of child development and explore their relevance in today’s world. Theory, research, and clinical applications are viewed today through a sociocultural lens (contexts that until fairly recently have been overlooked), which may partly determine the applicability and longevity of theory over time.