dcsimg
GET MATCHED TO A SCHOOL
In Seconds
Where do you want to take classes?
Online
Campus
Either
When would you like to start?
What's your zip code?
GO ›
What degree are you interested in?
GO ›
You're almost there...
Processing your information

Childhood Developmental Psychology

Learn about Childhood Development and careers in this area

childhood developmental psychology


Although a toddler at age 2 looks, acts and thinks much differently than a 12-year-old, both occupy the same 10-year span that developmental psychology professionals label the "child developmental stage."

To breakdown the study of this broad category, developmentalists typically emphasize two general age groups: 1.) Early childhood, focusing on children ages 2 to 6. And, 2.) School-aged children, focusing on children ages 6 to 12.

Professionals in this field research and study pivotal areas of development including motor development, cognitive changes, language acquisition, emotional maturity and social interactions.

Early Childhood

The early childhood years are also called the preschool years, and more appropriately the "play years." While humans at all ages play, it is during early childhood that play consumes most of a child's waking hours. Developmentalists understand that play actually influences growth and change in all the pivotal developmental areas.

By age 5, a children's physical development and large motor skills permit them to run and chase each other, and play independently - and with others - on playground equipment. According to a developmental theory called sociocultural theory, children learn these large motor skills better from peers than from adult instruction, making play with other children especially important.

Child Developmental Psychology

It's also during early childhood that neurological changes in the brain influence the learning of language. And because children at this stage are not afraid to make verbal mistakes when talking, and they desperately want to communicate, their free use of language without fear of embarrassment greatly aids in the development of their vocabulary, grammar acquisition and pronunciation abilities.

Cognitive growth is nurtured by imaginative play and creative activities in conjunction with rapid neurological changes. Between the ages of 3 and 5, children develop "theory of mind," or the comprehension that other people think differently from them, and that others' thoughts can be misleading or even wrong.

Additionally, children between the ages of 2 and 6 learn to regulate their emotions by controlling impulses that stem from anger or fear. For example, a 2-year-old will kick and scream and throw a temper tantrum, but by the time this child turns 5, the child has learned how to better control anger, and manage this emotion more constructively. Similarly, the child at 2 will cling to caregivers or parents in fear of separation, but by the age of 5 or 6, most children separate with few problems.

Developmentalists also credit play in providing the most important mechanism for children in this age group to learn social interaction skills. By age 5, most children successfully play in groups, handle conflict and select someone as a special playmate.

School-Age

Regardless of the psychological theory or research used to describe the maturation of children ages 7 to 11, all developmentalists agree that children in this age group are eager, competent, and ready to explore wider social networks. Continued neurological changes affect both cognitive and motor abilities, which, psychologists say, are inextricably interconnected.

Motor skills improve dramatically during this time period due partly to a significant increase in physical reaction times. Neurological changes also translate into improved fine motor skills as in eye-hand coordination abilities, balance and well-coordinated movements. Many developmentalists continue to emphasize play during this stage, nurtured through sports, time at the playground, and neighborhood activities, asserting that physical movement greatly influences learning and growth, and affects emotional maturity as well.

Just as neurology improves reaction times and coordination for kids in this age group, it also increases logic and reasoning skills, and facilitates advanced knowledge of language. Children are quick learners at this age, able to absorb and store large amounts of information, and to rapidly access this stored information. They memorize lyrics, play advanced computer games, play musical instruments, and write meaningful stories and poems.

One cognitive skill developed during this time period that influences these types of advanced abilities stems from the development of “metacognition,” or the ability to “think about thinking.” Children who have developed metacognition are able to analyze tasks, develop a plan on how to approach and solve them, and then evaluate themselves on how they accomplished the tasks.

Friendships become increasingly important for children between the ages of 7 and 11, and these friendships aid social learning. Children begin to think more deeply about their social contexts and their relation to these contexts, and they compare themselves to others to define themselves. Generally, a child at age 11 or 12 is much better at controlling and understanding their emotions than a child at age 5 or 6.

However, children who feel neglected by peers can become aggressive or withdrawn. And bullies can cause emotional damage not only to their victims, but themselves as well. Psychologists point to the support of close family relationships as helping children cope with tough social situations. Even children from war-plagued countries and extreme poverty seem to weather stresses better if they have the support of at least one parent.

Understanding developmental psychology principles for children contributes to educational curriculum development, and provides a knowledge base for health care workers diagnosing and recommending interventions for those children not meeting milestones. Professionals specializing in developmental psychology of childhood also influence public policy to create laws and programs beneficial for positive growth and development during childhood.

If you are interested in issues in the developmental psychology of childhood, you should consider a degree in developmental psychology. If you want to conduct research in areas related to children ages 2 to 11, you should consider an academic career. Universities require at least a master's degree to teach, but most require a PhD in Psychology. Positions in health care and for nonprofit agencies usually require a master's degree. Day care and preschools often hire those with a bachelor's degree in developmental psychology.

Also, learn more about the psychology career licensing processes and what the requirements for licensure are: Psychology Career Licensure.

Developmental Psychology Schools & Colleges
Refine School Matches
LOCATION
Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
SUBJECT

DEGREE

PROGRAM TYPE

START TIME

 
Results:  10
Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
University of Phoenix , Online (campus option available)
  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • Locations nationwide and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online school designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Commited more than $60 million in tuition savings in 2015 through scholarships.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found

Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose. Our 20,000 alumni, from more than 110 countries, are changing the world as accomplished professionals. Named a top-15 school nationally for online bachelor's programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2015), Regent is among the most affordable undergraduate Christian colleges (CCCU 2015). Fully accredited, challenging programs are available online and on campus. New classes begin every eight weeks.

  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
Argosy University , Online (campus option available)
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify.
  • Features several learning model options, including online, residency, and hybrid options.
  • Offers graduate degree programs in organizational leadership, mind-body medicine, psychology and human science.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found

•        Ranked #4 among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.

•        Designated as 2015 Military Friendly School by U.S. News & World Report.

•        Student to faculty ratio of 12:1, with an average class size of 21.

•        85% of faculty holds a doctorate or terminal degree in their field.

•        Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).

Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
2 Program(s) Found
Brenau University , Gainesville

• Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report.
• Ranked among the 2015 Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report.
• Challenging students to live extraordinary lives of personal and professional fulfillment since 1878.
• Offers programs in business, communication, education, humanities, fine arts, health sciences, and graduate studies.
• Provides on-campus housing options and study abroad programs for students.
• Campus features several academic centers for students, including The Writing Center and the Study Place for Achievement (SPA).

Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits