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Child Development 1a

Child Development 1a: Journey through Childhood

If you’re considering a career in education, medicine, psychology, or areas that involve toddlers to teens, you’ll need to know how they grow and develop. In this course, you will learn about the ages from womb through adolescence and the teen years. You’ll explore essential topics like nature vs. nurture, developmental theories and stages, nutrition, safety precautions, family planning, and more! Let’s get started learning!

Review Course Outline

Units at a Glance

Unit 1: Kids Will Be Kids

You probably have heard the phrase “kids will be kids.” But not all kids are alike . . . or are they? Think about the countless differences among children who grow up in various cultures, geographic locations, and family environments. Yet science and research throughout history have shown patterns of development that often are similar across the human species. This unit will introduce some common theories and provide important information to help you prepare for a career in education, childcare, or any position working with infants to adolescents.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Recognize important domains of child and adolescent development
  • Describe reliable methods for gathering information about child behavior
  • Explain common cognition-based theories of human and child development
  • Discuss common behaviorism-based theories of human and child development
  • Identify the impacts of developmental theories on childcare and education

Unit 2: Let’s Start at the Beginning

Although a baby is small, having a baby is a big deal! Countless considerations must be weighed—from finances to medical concerns—while planning for birth and parenthood. Such an exciting time can become stressful without enough information or available resources to help expectant parents. This unit investigates typical pathways from pre-pregnancy through the postpartum stage, both for babies and mothers, as well as many of the decisions parents will make during each stage.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Evaluate types of decisions to be made when considering parenthood
  • Explain the biological processes of human fertilization and conception
  • Describe fetal development during each trimester
  • Compare the options and processes of labor and delivery
  • Discuss postpartum expectations and concerns for both mother and child

Unit 3: We Are Family

If you plan to raise a family or work with children in your career, it is important to know that a child is not just a small version of an adult. Human children have specific needs—both physical and otherwise—that require unique care and attention throughout their many developmental stages. How will you prepare for your own role (or roles) with kids? This unit will introduce general information and best practices to help you begin and care for a family of your own or assist you with guiding others during the process.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Understand the role of the family in modern society and the reciprocal role community plays in family life
  • Describe parental responsibilities and beneficial skills to fulfill them
  • Discuss tasks and decisions involved in managing a family household
  • Explain parenting styles and the dynamics of parent-child relationships

Unit 4: Baby Days

A baby has been born! Now what? This tiny new human must learn to survive outside the comfort of the womb and without the flow of oxygen and nutrients through an umbilical cord—a giant task for a small person. But most newborns are equipped with the tools they will need to grow and develop into mobile, verbal, teachable, reasoning people. Their bodies and brains undergo rapid changes during the infancy phase, and you will learn about many of those changes in this unit.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Understand typical physical growth and movement patterns of infants
  • Describe attachment theories and other social-emotional behaviors
  • Explain the cognitive processes of a newborn brain
  • Recognize birth defects and abnormalities and how they affect child development
  • Discuss safety precautions specifically related to infant care

Unit 5: Toddling Into the Next Phase

The “terrible twos” don’t have to be terrible. When parents and caregivers understand the developmental progression and expectations of children in the toddler stage (ages one to three), they can better prepare for typical growth and learning milestones. Being prepared for these changes can ease family stress and help to create a healthy environment for child development. In this unit, you will discover ways to guide and support successful physical, social, and intellectual transitions throughout toddlerhood.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Understand typical motor skills development of children from one to three years
  • Describe social-emotional behaviors and best practices for toddlers
  • Plan learning activities based on specific cognitive processes of this age group
  • Discuss important safety measures for the toddler stage

Unit 6: The Preschool Years

The preschool ages—from three to five years old—mark the phase when developing children begin to look and behave in ways that more resemble tiny adults rather than fully dependent babies. Their bodies grow in strength, agility, and coordination as their learning skills expand to help them better understand their surroundings. With daily practice (both formal and informal), increasing executive functions in their active brains allow them to become better decision makers and problem solvers. Just as importantly, individual personalities often burst through the surface during the preschool stage of child development.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Discuss the physical needs and milestones of children three to five years old
  • Interpret social-emotional behaviors (including atypical patterns) at this stage
  • Explain important cognitive processes and changes during preschool ages
  • Describe requirements and expectations of a career working with preschool children

Unit 7: (Not) Too Cool for School

From ages 6 through 11, children begin to shift much of their daily time and focus away from their nuclear families and toward external environments and relationships. School and formal education become central to learning and cognitive development, while peers become increasingly important to their social and emotional growth. Each stage of childhood involves unique milestone expectations, and during elementary school, those involve better communication and reasoning skills, as well as keener self-awareness. This unit dives deeper into the changes that happen throughout the elementary school phase.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Discuss physical changes and growth needs of children ages 6 through 11, including body image issues
  • Describe social-emotional development and relevant stressors during this stage
  • Explain developing cognitive processes and their effects on learning during grade school ages
  • Plan strategies to help elementary students succeed socially, emotionally, and academically

Unit 8: The Essence of Adolescence

Sometime between ages 12 and 19, most adolescent children stop growing physically. Their brains and cognitive skills, however, continue to grow and develop into early adulthood. Adolescents experience an increase in brain functions like organizing and reasoning. Emotionally, they gain better awareness and control of their own thoughts and actions. Socially, they might battle negative pressure from peers, media, and society. Adolescents should begin making decisions and plans for their education, careers, and lifestyles. Throughout this stage, adolescent children can benefit from the guidance of parents, educators, and adult mentors. Let’s explore the exciting stage you’re likely experiencing right now: adolescence.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Describe ways to support physical changes and health of adolescents ages 12 to 19
  • Promote positive social-emotional development of adolescents, especially regarding cautionary issues
  • Explain cognitive changes and learning patterns during the middle school and high school years
  • Discuss legal considerations related to the transition toward adulthood

Required Materials


  • Art supplies
  • Digital camera
  • Poster board



  • Word processing software



  • Audio recording device
  • Graphic design software
  • Presentation software
  • Video recording device
  • Writing supplies
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