Education | Child Development
P348 | 5630 | Dr. Joyce Alexander


In this course, we will explore development. In early childhood
education, the term “developmentally appropriate practice” is
commonly used. It is difficult to truly subscribe to this philosophy
if one does not understand what is developmentally appropriate. As
such, this course will cover theories of development, prenatal
development, developmental issues during infancy and toddlerhood, and
begin to explore development of the preschooler. Our constant focus
will be on application of this information for teachers including
developmental warning signs. This course will lay the foundation for
the continuing study of development in P351 and P450 in the junior
and senior years of your early childhood teacher certification

Schedule of Readings and Assignments

1/12 Introductions 	
1/14 History, Theory, and Applied Directions Chap. 1
1/19 No Class	
1/21 History, Theory, and Applied Directions	
1/26 Prenatal Development Chap. 3
1/28 Prenatal Development/ Parental Leave Act	
2/2 Infancy – Motor and Perceptual Capacities Chap. 4
2/4 Infancy – Social and Emotional Development Chap. 10
2/9 Infancy – Social and Emotional Development	
2/11 Infancy – Cognitive, Language, and Literacy Development pp. 352-
367, pp. 251-254, pp. 216-228
2/16 Infancy – Cognitive, Language, and Literacy Development	
2/18 TEST 1	
2/25 9:30 Toddlerhood – Physical Development	
2/25 Toddlerhood – Cognitive Development pp. 229-240, pp. 256-264,
pp. 316-320, pp. 342-344
3/1 Toddlerhood – Cognitive Development	
3/3 Toddlerhood – Social, Emotional Development	pp. 474-506, pp. 434-
455, pp. 462-471
3/8 Toddlerhood – Social, Emotional Development	
3/10 Toddlerhood – Language and Literacy Development pp. 368-390
3/15 Spring Break	
3/17 Spring Break	
3/22 Toddlerhood – Language and Literacy Development	
3/24 DEBATE #1	
3/29 TEST #2	
4/1 The Young Child – Cognitive Development pp. 241-250 Chap. 7
4/5 The Young Child – Cognitive Development	
4/7  The Young Child – Social and Emotional Development	Chap. 13
4/12 The Young Child – Social and Emotional Development	pp. 596-612
4/14 The Young Child – Social and Emotional Development	pp. 507-515
4/19 The Young Child – Language and Literacy	Review pp. 368-390
4/21 DEBATE #2	
4/26 Environment Project debriefing – all instructors	
4/28 Course Project DUE and to be shared in class	
5/3 MON	FINALS WEEK - TEST#3 – 12:30-2:30 room TBA	

Required Book:

Berk, L. (2003). Child Development (6th Edition). Boston: Allyn &

Grade determination:

•Tests – 60 points each (total 180 points) – combination of recall &
analysis/application multiple choice questions and essay questions.
•Debates – 25 points each (total 50 points) – see description below.
•Project– 70 points – see description below.

A+ = 99% of points and above 		
A  = 95-98%					
A- = 90-94%					
B+ = 87-89%					
B  = 83-86%					
B- = 80-82%
C+ = 77-79%
C  = 73-76%
C- = 70-72%

Grading Criteria:

A Extraordinary high achievement, shows unusually complete command of
the subject matter, represents an exceptionally high degree of
originality, creativity, and synthesis/application ability; clearly
understands the complexity of the issue and has made connections to
other relevant material/readings

B Very good, solid, above average quality of work. Good
synthesis/application and connections between readings

C Satisfactory quality of work, average level of
synthesis/application and connections between readings

D Minimally acceptable performance (either or both quantity and
quality of work)

F Unacceptable work, does not meet objectives for the project.

Details on Assignments:

•You will be assigned to debate either Position A or Position B for
two different debates (See attached sheets). In preparation for a
debate, you are expected to read assigned background material. In
addition, you will find enough journal articles/books related to your
position so that you feel you understand the main points that your
side is making. Bring a copy of the articles (minimum 3) and a short
1-page summary of the key points to back up your debate. Your summary
is worth 2/3 of the debate points. Once you are prepared, have fun!
This format should be both interesting and informative! You will be
assigned to groups of 4 – 2 people presenting a particular position.
During the debate you will present your position to the other pair,
have an open discussion of the issue, with each side having
opportunities to argue. Each pair will then present the perspective
of the opposing side as sincerely and persuasively as possible.
Finally, the group should strive to reach a consensus on a position
that incorporates all the evidence presented. If you are absent for a
debate, you may only obtain points through your prepared summary
(worth 2/3 of the debate points).

•The Final Project will entail critiquing a commercial, sitcom,
cartoon, or book and it’s influence on cognitive, social, emotional,
language or literacy development. Your argument should make reference
to ideas discussed in the book or relevant articles and should
consist of the following subsections: 1. Introduction – Tell me about
the basic premises behind the media (what’s the plot, who are the
characters, what do they usually do, etc.); 2. What evidence do you
have of how your topic is treated?
Some relevant questions for gender specific roles might include:
What do boy and girl characters do differently, if anything? Do their
actions correspond to or diverge from expected sex roles? Etc.
Some relevant questions for cognitive or language issues – Does the
show encourage learning appropriate to the age level watching it?
Which theory of learning do they use as a basis for the design of
instruction? Etc.
Some relevant questions for prosocial/aggression issues might be:
What types of aggressive and prosocial issues are presented in the
media? Do the characters= actions correspond to or diverge from
expected norms? What types of reactions from victims are presented?
3. Interventions – How can an adult circumvent or build on the
messages being sent?

Course Policies

Attendance is required. I am aware that there will be times when, as
an adult, you have to make decisions about priorities in your lives.
As a result, a few absences will not be considered a violation of
this policy. However, after 2 or 3 absences, your commitment to your
future profession becomes suspect and consequences will follow.
Consequences in prior semesters have included conferences, grade
reductions, and/or Alert Forms filed with the Associate Dean for
Teacher Education. In concrete terms, after 4 absences you will lose
5% of the available points.

You are responsible for reading assigned chapters of the text or
outside readings prior to the date they are covered in class.
Discussion, activities, assessments, and exams will be based on the
assumption that you have prepared by reading the material. You are
responsible for all class content (e.g., reading assignments,
instructions, explanations, schedule changes, changes in test dates,
etc.) whether present or not. Class will begin at the scheduled time,
so please be on time.

Late papers will automatically lose 10% of the available points for
each class day they are delinquent. No late papers will be accepted
after 3 class days have passed from the due date. Tests can only be
made up for extreme documented medical reasons. Other reasons should
be discussed with the instructor so that arrangements can be made to
take the tests early.

All other policies and regulations (e.g., regarding "academic
honesty" and plagiarism) as stated in the Undergraduate Bulletins
apply in this course. If you are unfamiliar with these policies and
regulations, then you are required to make yourself familiar with
them immediately.


Teletubbies: Good or Bad for Infants and Toddlers?


Teletubbies burst on the scene first in England and now in the United
States during the 1990s. Teletubbies is designed as an educational
program for children 1- to 4-years old. According to the accompanying
text on one of the Teletubbies videotapes, the series
promotes “movement and play” and is designed to nourish “thinking
skills, teach kids to listen, help build curiosity, expand
imaginations and increase confidence”.
Unfortunately, lots of people disagree. Critics believe Teletubbies
lulls toddlers into stupors, models inappropriate language skills,
is “decidedly unimaginative, teaches obedience of arbitrary commands,
acceptance of pointless technological products as integral and
natural components of everyday life, amnesty from even the most
simple of personal choices, and the patterning of one’s activities
after televised images”.
Proponents, though, have argued that the repetition built into
Teletubbies allows children to make predictions about what will
happen next and increases their thinking skills. Proponents also note
the prosocial skills and humor replete throughout the show. In
addition, the show encourages listening and builds self-esteem
through identification with the characters.

Debate Plan

Using the background information and additional information from your
journal articles, student panels should debate the following

Position A. Teletubbies is good for toddlers. It meets them at their
level and is an effective way for children to be introduced to

Position B. Teletubbies is bad for toddlers. Well-intentioned parents
are teaching their children passivity and the children are gaining
nothing from being put in front of the television to watch this show.


Are the Costs of Mothers' Employment Worth the Benefits?


Since the 1980s, more mothers have been employed outside of the home
than ever before.  Employment undoubtedly has a number of substantial
benefits for these women themselves and for their families.  However,
most mothers employed outside the home also find that working entails
a number of costs--tangible and less tangible.  Some people doubt
that the benefits of mothers' employment outweigh these costs.
Some of the costs to children of employed mothers are noted below.
Sons, in particular, may experience academic problems, and babies
whose mothers are employed outside the home may become insecurely
attached.  Furthermore, an employed mother nearly always incurs some
expense for after-school supervision of her children.  If adequate
supervision cannot be arranged, the parents (as well as society) may
experience long-term costs in the form of children's behavioral
problems, or adolescents' involvement in delinquency or substance

Even assuming that these costs to children can be avoided--and many
employed mothers do an admirable job of avoiding them--the mother
herself faces costs.  School policies and practices tend to be
unresponsive to these mothers' needs and schedules:  for instance,
parent-teacher conferences and special programs are nearly always set
for weekday hours.  Many employed mothers report "innuendos" and
subtle criticisms from homemakers who imply that they lack love and
concern for their families; other employed mothers say that they feel
pushed away from their communities and excluded from formal and
informal support networks available to full-time homemakers.
t would be foolish to deny, however, that employed mothers provide a
number of benefits to themselves and their families.  Obviously,
family income will benefit from the mother's employment.  Many
employed mothers also feel that their self-esteem is higher than it
would be if they did not work outside the home.  And, despite
evidence that children of employed mothers may suffer slightly, there
is also ample evidence that children of employed mothers may benefit
in several ways.  These children tend to be more independent and to
have more egalitarian views of gender roles than children of
nonemployed mothers, and daughters tend to have more ambitious career
goals than do children of nonemployed mothers.

Furthermore, employed mothers may escape certain costs borne by many
full-time homemakers.  Full-time homemakers sometimes complain about
being burdened with demands for planning school trips and community
projects, and they experience their share of insensitivity from
school systems which do attempt to meet the needs of dual-career
families.  Perhaps most important, many full-time homemakers find
themselves intellectually isolated and virtually starved for adult
companionship.  Many report feeling devalued or humiliated by
professional, career-oriented friends.

Debate Plan

Using this background information and additional information from
your journal articles, Student panels should debate the following

Position A. The costs of mothers' full-time employment overshadow any
benefits that may be obtained.

Position B. Mothers' full-time employment provides benefits that more
than compensate for any costs that are entailed.