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Child psychology is the study of the mental, social and emotional development of children from birth through to adolescence. It examines changes in motor skills, cognitive development, language acquisition, and identity formation.
This in-depth Child Psychology course will provide you with a fundamental knowledge of the development of children and will give you an integral insight into why children behave the way they do.
Module One Major Developmental Issues
Unit One: The First Year of Life
- Infant reflexes; Social development during the first year of life including the social smile and onset of fear of strangers.
Unit Two: The Formation of Attachments
- Imprinting; Attachment (Bowlby) including cross-cultural studies; Harlow and surrogate mothers; Relevance of animal studies in child development.
Unit Three: Consequences of Breakdowns in Attachments
- Maternal deprivation; Implications of theories of attachment and maternal deprivation when placing children with surrogates.
Unit Four: The Home, Family, and School
- Group vs family care and studies of the effects of maternal employment and father absent families; Importance of peers and siblings.
Unit Five: Basic Principles of Research Methods
- Nature and purpose of research, what is an experiment, supporting and refuting hypotheses, independent and dependent variables, control of variables, standardized instructions and procedures, methods of sampling, a design of investigations.
Unit Six: The Development of Visual Perception
- Introduction to the nature/nurture debate on visual perception; Fantz - form perception; Gibson and Walk - depth perception; how the physiology of the human visual system helps us judge depth and distance; Bower - size constancy; animal experiments on early sensory deprivation.
Unit Seven: The Development of Language and Communication
- Development of non-verbal communication in humans, gestures etc; comparisons with non-human primates; outline of language development in humans; including naturalistic observational in humans; including naturalistic observational studies and criticisms of these; Innate and reinforcement theories.
Unit Eight: Intelligence and Intelligence Testing
- Definitions of intelligence; mental age and IQ; Tests of intelligence; Advantages and disadvantages of IQ testing.
Unit Nine: The Nature/Nurture Debate in the Study of Intelligence
- Twins studies; stability of IQ; Are early experiences decisive for later development?
Unit Ten: Data Collection and Interpretation
- Tables and histograms, correlation and scattergrams; Mean; Range; Drawing conclusions from data.
Module Two The Child as an Individual
Unit Eleven: How Children Think
- Piaget's theory of cognitive development; including studies of egocentrism and criticisms of his work.
Unit Twelve: Learning Theory - How Behaviour is Acquired
- Learning and conditioning - classical conditioning and operant conditioning; including explanations of extinction, discrimination, and generalization; positive and negative reinforcement; Social Learning Theory and criticisms.
Unit Thirteen: Freud's Psychodynamic Theory - An Alternative Approach
- Personality structure, 5 stage theory, criticisms.
Unit Fourteen: Moral Development
- The definition in psychological terms; investigation of moral behavior, moral feelings, and moral judgment.
Unit Fifteen: The Development of Gender Roles
- Sex-typing; Gender identity; Biological, social and cultural theories.
Unit Sixteen: Aggression in Children
- Biological basis of aggression; Psychological theory and aggression; Aggression as a learned response;
Imitation of aggression; viewing violence; Punishment for aggression; sex differences in aggression.
Unit Seventeen: Methods Used in Child Development Research
- Observational, Survey, Correlational, Experimental - advantages and disadvantages.
Unit Eighteen: Play
- The importance of play to learning;
Piaget's theory of play; forms of play;
The relevance of psychological theories to pre-school education; Play and learning in nursery schools; Play therapy.
Unit Nineteen: Learning in School
- Programmed learning and its relationship to learning theory - advantages and disadvantages; Discovery learning and its effectiveness.
Unit Twenty: Behaviour Modification
- Explanation and examples; Relationship to learning theory; Points systems, Advantages, and disadvantages.
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