This course explores contemporary best practice and perspectives on early childhood development. Content includes patterns and sequences of typical development for children from birth to six years. Emphasis is on individual differences, cultural influences, and the impact of developmental delay and disability during infancy, toddlerhood, and the preschool years. Discussion will also include instructional technology (IT) and assistive technology (AT) applications for this population.
The first chapter will present an introduction to the study of child development from conception to age 6. We will examine the historical roots and methods of child study, major psychological theories, and developmental principles and definitions. This information will provide grounding for the following chapters on specific ages and developmental areas.
In the second chapter we will begin to study child development chronologically. We start with conception and prenatal development and care, and then continue through labor and birth. Next, we consider the special characteristics and needs of the newly delivered baby, including common developmental variations.
The third chapter focuses on infants and toddlers- (ages 1-36 months). We will look at growth and development in the domains of motor-perceptual, cognitive, language, brain, and social-emotional development. This chapter details milestones, red flags, developmental variations, and how adults can safely and appropriately facilitate the development in the first three years of life.
Finally, Chapter Four discusses early and early middle childhood, or the magic years, ages 3–8 years old (Fraiberg, 1959). The preschool and early elementary school periods are times of great discovery, testing, and wonder. Students will learn about typical and varied 3–8-year-old development in all areas—moral, social, self-esteem, early learning, motor skills, communication abilities, social and brain development, and more. Indicators, or red flags, that suggest developmental delay or deviation are detailed in all chapters, and resources for further research are provided.
Each chapter contains additional handouts or attachments that cover specific topics from the chapter in greater depth. They are provided for you to read, ponder, and apply to the early childhood education setting in which you work. Some of the topics are intended for you, as the professional, while others are intended for you to pass on to parents, when appropriate. Each chapter also contains web links that you can choose to access if you want to see videos or research in action related to chapter concepts.
At the conclusion of this course students will be able to:
- Understand basic principles of growth and the foundation of development from conception through 6 years, including genetic and environmental influences.
- Identify the historical roots, common research practices, prominent child development theorists and theories.
- Describe sequences, characteristics, and concepts of development in the domains of physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development for each stage.
- Recognize individual and cultural differences on child development and learning.
- Identify approaches and interactions that support the development of young children, including those with special needs.
- Provide professional resources on the typical and atypical development and needs of children prenatal-six years.
There are no prerequisites.
As a student you will be expected to:
- Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.
- Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented. You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course. *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
- Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.
- Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
- Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.
| Estimated Time of Completion
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