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Child development

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This course shows how psychological enquiry can help us to improve our understanding of the development of children and young people. It is organised in four parts: Psychological development and early childhood introduces children’s early development from a psychological perspective; Children’s personal and social development follows development in a social context; and Cognitive and language development in children explores the development of cognitive and linguistic understanding and the developing child as an active agent. Finally, Developmental psychology in action presents areas in which developmental psychology plays a part in education, remediation, health psychology and the legal system with children of all ages.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1700.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1540.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

October 2014 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

This course will be attractive to anyone with an interest in (and concern for) children’s development, including those who work with children and who want to learn more about contemporary theories and research in this area. 

By the end of the course you will be:

  • able to describe the main theoretical approaches in current developmental psychology
  • able to apply the theories, concepts and methods presented in the course to developmental questions or problems of your own choosing
  • capable of understanding and evaluating the research literature of developmental psychology
  • familiar with some aspects of the professional application of developmental psychology and its place in our society, so that you can appraise its various roles and functions
  • aware of the research methods used to study child development and able to understand them.

The course is based around four books that are outlined below. Each book and its associated materials occupies about a quarter of the study year. The first three parts of the course explore theory and research in different areas of children’s development. The final part of the course considers some of the practical applications of this knowledge to children’s lives, with particular attention to the work of clinical and educational psychologists.

Psychological Development and Early Childhood looks at the development of very young children, dealing with topics such as the development of perception, knowledge and relationships. The way in which biological, social and cultural influences interact in a child’s development is a central theme, examined from different points of view in modern psychological research and theory. This book introduces the main theoretical approaches to child development that are explored further throughout the course.

Children’s Personal and Social Development considers some of the formative elements in children’s lives in their families and communities, and the influence that these have on the course of development. The topics include children’s early attachments, the development of the self, and the origins of disturbing behaviour. The book explores the interlinking themes of identity and relationships and describes how psychologists have investigated them.

Cognitive and Language Development in Children examines the two interlinked themes: how children learn language, and how knowledge and thinking develop. The development of thinking, talking and scientific reasoning are among the topics in the treatment of these themes. The book covers a variety of contemporary ideas and research in these areas, examining as well the part played by the child’s social and cultural world. The book extends the course’s coverage of developmental theory by examining in more detail theories of cognition.

Developmental Psychology in Action takes the course’s approach to developmental psychology beyond a conventional presentation of research and theory by looking at the many ways in which psychologists and their work actually affect the development of children. The book covers several areas where the psychologist’s role is to intervene, directly or indirectly, in children’s development; for example, with children who have challenging behaviours, or when a psychotherapeutic approach is taken. The use of psychological theory and techniques in teaching, the legal system, institutional settings and clinical topics are also critically examined. You are required to study just one of these topics in detail, supplementing your knowledge through guided independent literature search.

Entry

ED209 is a Level 2 course and certain levels of study skills are required, such as the ability to follow an argument; to relate information from tables and graphs to text discussions; and to formulate a reasoned case in discussion and written work. Although statistics are used in the course, they are fully explained in a handbook; complex computational skills are not required. 

You do not need to be professionally engaged in work with children in order to follow this course, and access to children is not required. Although knowledge of psychological theory is not necessary, if you intend to follow the undergraduate psychology pathway, we recommend that you study Exploring psychology (DSE212) before taking this course.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

If this is your first psychology course and you would like to know more about what the study of child development involves before registering, you can find out more about the course on the Faculty of Education and Language Studies website

You may also like to do some reading before it begins. You could start with one of these introductory books on child development:

P. K. Smith, H. Cowie and M.Blades (Eds) (2003) Understanding Children’s Development, 4th edition, Blackwell

M. Donaldson (1986)Children’s Minds, Fontana

H. R. Schaffer (2004) Introducing Child Psychology, Blackwell.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

We will make sure that suitable support for practical work is offered. The written study material is available in comb-bound format. Written transcripts are available for the audio-visual material. Some diagrams are available in tactile format. The printed study materials are available in the DAISY Digital Talking Book format. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Course books, other printed materials, computing software, DVD-ROMs, website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser – and some course software provided on disk.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2007 you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • A netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device is not suitable for this course – check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this course by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course. 

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Three of the TMAs are essays, two are practical, and one is methodology focused. Assessment is an essential part of the teaching, so you are expected to complete it all. You will be given more detailed information when you begin the course.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014 when it will be available for the last time. A replacement is planned for October 2015.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code ED209
Credits 60
OU Level 2
SCQF level 9
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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