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Introduction to child psychology

Free Course Free Course Featuring: Audio Audio

Childhood is a time of rapid growth and development, and studying these changes is endlessly stimulating. In this free course, Introduction to child psychology, you will be introduced to the discipline of child psychology and some of the key questions that guide the understanding of childhood. These questions include 'What influences children's development?' and 'How do psychologists study the physical and cognitive changes that occur during childhood?' As you work through this material, you will also gain a deeper understanding concerning how psychologists work with young children across a range of applied settings through activities and audio-visual materials.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the discipline of child psychology as an area of study
  • understand how theories try to explain children’s development
  • discuss important questions that are central to child psychology
  • understand how child psychologists work in different applied settings.

By: The Open University

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Introduction to child psychology


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Within this free course, you will be introduced briefly to the discipline of child psychology and to theories and approaches that have been developed to help us understand and support children’s lives. By focusing on the individual child, psychologists can assess changes in the child’s abilities over time, including their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. There is also an emphasis on describing how development is shaped through internal and external influences, such as the role of the child’s immediate environment and the role of culture in influencing and shaping development. You will also learn about the role of child psychologists in applied settings and how they can work with other professionals to support the lives of children and young people.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course E102 Introduction to childhood studies and child psychology [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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