Child Development Theories

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Assessment Instructions

Note: Because the assessments in this course move progressively through periods of child development, you are encouraged to complete them in sequential order, 1–5.

Write a 3–4-page well-developed paper in which you address the following. Because you will be describing a personal event or issue, it is appropriate to write in first person in your paper.

  1. Briefly describe an event or issue that you or someone you know experienced during childhood. The event could be divorce of parents, moving to a new neighborhood, learning to read or ride a bike, birth of a sibling, et cetera.
  2. Choose two theories and briefly summarize the main ideas of the theories. Theories to choose from may include:
    • Psychoanalytic Perspective.
    • Behaviorism and Social Learning Theory.
    • Piaget’s Cognitive-Development Theory.
    • Information Processing.
    • Ethology and Evolutionary Developmental Psychology.
    • Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory.
    • Ecological Systems Theory.
    • Dynamic Systems Perspective.
  3. Apply the ideas from the two theories you summarized to explain the actions surrounding the event you described.
  4. Describe how the theories helped you gain an understanding of child development.
  5. Explain how longitudinal or cross-sectional approaches to research help us understand events and issues in child development.

Use in-text citations and appropriate concepts from your research.

You are urged to use Capella University’s Writing Center to help you develop clear and effective writing. Through the Writing Center, you will be able to receive feedback on your writing, use writing resources, discover new writing strategies, and explore different ways to draft, revise, edit, and proofread your own work.

If you wish, you may use the APA Paper Template, linked in the Resources, to complete your assessment.

Additional Requirements
  • Written communication: Ensure that your writing is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: Format your paper according to APA style.
  • Length: Write 3–4 typed and double-spaced pages.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.

Suggested Resources

The resources provided here are optional and support the assessment. They provide helpful information about the topics. You may use other resources of your choice to prepare for this assessment; however, you will need to ensure that they are appropriate, credible, and valid. The PSYC-FP2700 – Child Development Library Guide can help direct your research. The Supplemental Resources and Research Resources, both linked from the left navigation menu in your courseroom, provide additional resources to help support you.

Psychological Theories

These chapters describe theories related to child development, as well as applications of theory to describe and explain events and/or issues.

  • Berk, L. E., & Meyers, A. B. (2016). Infants and children: Prenatal through middle childhood (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. Available from the bookstore.
    • Chapter 4, “Birth and the Newborn Baby,” pages 122–157.
    • Chapter 3, “Prenatal Development,” pages 91–121.
    • Chapter 2, “Biological and Environmental Foundations,” pages 50–89.
    • Chapter 1, “History, Theory, and Research Strategies,” pages 2–49.
  • Capella Media:
Applications of Psychological Theory
Research Methods in Child Development

Most research on child development uses either of two methods: longitudinal or cross-sectional. The following resources describe these methods and provide examples of their use. These examples show the attributes of and differences between longitudinal and cross-sectional research methods in studying child development.

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