Child Psychology 101

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Course Description

This course introduces the methods, theories and main concepts used by psychologists to develop a real insight into the world of children.

Child psychology is extremely important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is being able to understand and accurately predict a reasonable norm for child development. Proper discipline, teaching styles and communication styles are all based on understanding the psychology of childhood, which changes and develops over time.  Intervention on behalf of children who have been raised in difficult circumstances or faced traumatic events also hinges on understanding child psychology -- children don't cope with situations in the same way adults do because they do not process information the same way and do not have the same emotional or reasoning skills.

By studying child psychology, we can better understand children and equip them to become well-adjusted, more adaptable adults who are capable of living rich and varied lives.  We can help our children through crises and enrich their daily lives by interacting with them in ways that are appropriate to their developmental levels.  Is it any wonder that so many people choose to study child developmental psychology every year?

This course is for all those who want to find out what psychology can tell us about the nature and development of children. This study is intended for students of psychology , those training to work with children in a variety of professional roles, or anyone just interested in understanding how children develop.


Course Requirements

This course will not require any previous educational experience. Anyone interested in learning about the psychology of children is welcome!

Course Goals

Students will learn:


Ø  Definition of Child Psychology

Ø  The concept of Childhood

o   Early history and childhood

o   The class difference in perceptions of childhood

o   The lengthening of childhood from the industrial age to present day

o   The beginnings of child psychology

Ø  Biological Factors in Child Psychology

o   Prenatal Development, including an outline of prenatal milestones

o   Nature vs. Nurture I:  How the mother’s lifestyle/environment affects the unborn

Ø  Schools of Child Psychology

o   Cognitive (Piaget)

o   Socio-Cognitive (Vygotsky)

o   Socio-Emotional (Erikson)

Ø  Piaget’s

o   Sensory Motor Period

o   Preoperational Period

o   Concrete Operations

o   Formal Operations

Ø  Vygotsky’s Theory In-Depth

o   Cultural mediation

o   Pyschology of play

o   Internalization

o   Metacognition

Ø  Erikson’s Eight Stages of Development

o   Hope

o   Will

o   Purpose

o   Competence

o   Fidelity

o   Love

o   Care

o   Wisdom

Ø  Development of Language

o   Responsive communication

o   Verbal communication

Ø  Nature vs. Nurture

o   Genetics and child psychology

o   Social atmosphere and child psychology

o   Twin studies

Ø  Situational Child Psychology

o   Family dynamics

o   Peer relationships

o   Sibling relationships and birth order

o   Effects of divorce

Ø  Applied Child Psychology

o   Encouraging cognitive development

o   Developing self-esteem

o   Understanding red flags

Ø  Psychological Testing and Children

o   When and why they are used

o   What types of tests are available?

o   What they mean (and what they don’t mean)

Course Materials

All course materials are provided within the course lessons.

Grading Policy

Each of the 11 lessons will be followed with a brief assignment and review quiz.  A percentage grade will be given based on point accumulation. 

Course Topics

Lesson 1: The Concept of Childhood

Lesson 2: Early Biological factors in Child Psychology

Lesson 3: Major Schools of Child Psychology

Lesson 4: Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

Lesson 5: Vygotsky's Theory of Sociocognitive Development

Lesson 6: Erikson's Eight Stages of Development

Lesson 7: Development of Language

Lesson 8: Nature vs. Nurture

Lesson 9: Family Dynamics and Child Psychology

Lesson 10: Applied Child Psychology

Lesson 11: Psychological Testing and Children

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what child psychology is.
  • Recognize early biological factors in child psychology.
  • Describe the major schools of child psychology.
  • Know Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development.
  • Know Vygotsky's Theory of Sociocognitive Development.
  • Define Erikson's Eight Stages of Development.
  • Describe the processes of the development of language.
  • Define nurture.
  • Know the affect of family dynamics on child psychology, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
Lesson 1 Assignment2
Lesson 1 Exam18
Lesson 2 Exam17
Lesson 3 Exam13
Lesson 4 Exam22
Lesson 5 Assignment2
Lesson 5 Exam16
Lesson 6 Exam18
Lesson 7 Exam19
Lesson 8 Assignment2
Lesson 8 Exam18
Lesson 9 Exam21
Lesson 10 Exam16
Lesson 11 Exam11
Total Points:195

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