PSYC 2131
Introduction to Childhood and Adolescence

3.0 Credits


Students are introduced to developmental psychology: the branch of psychology devoted to the study of human development and change. As change and development are an intrinsic part of the human experience, this course is designed to foster a lifetime interest in the process of human development, as students explore key issues, methods, theories and research findings in this field. The content of the course is organized chronologically-beginning at the point of conception and following the trajectory of human development through to the teen years. The interconnectedness of developmental processes is a major theme, and includes the interrelations between a child's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. The intricate relation between children and the contexts that support their development are also emphasized, such as family life, peers, and culture.

Delivery Method



Recommended: Provincial Grade 12 Diploma or equivalent.


PSYC 3151: Developmental Psychology of Children or PSYC 3451: Adolescent Development


After completing the work in this course, students should be able to:

  • Discuss the major theoretical perspectives and research strategies researchers employ in the scientific study of human development.
  • Explain the major physical, cognitive and socioemotional developments that occur across development from conception to the teen years.
  • Discuss the impact of developmental contexts such as family life, schooling, peer groups and media upon children's development.
  • Critically reflect on developmental issues and research findings as presented in published articles, scholarly presentations and web resources devoted to child development concerns.

Course Outline

The course is divided into four units, which are further divided into topics of study:

Module 1: Foundations

  • 1.1 The Study of Child Development
  • 1.2 Nature with Nurture
  • 1.3 Conception, Prenatal Development and Birth

Module 2: Infancy and Early Childhood

  • 2.1 Physical Development in Infancy
  • 2.2 Cognitive Development in Infancy
  • 2.3 Socioemotional Development in Infancy
  • 2.4 Physical Development in Early Childhood
  • 2.5 Cognitive Development in Early Childhood
  • 2.6 Socioemotional Development in Early Childhood

Module 3: Middle Childhood

  • 3.1 Physical Development in Middle Childhood
  • 3.2 Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood
  • 3.3 Socioemotional Development in Middle Childhood

Module 4: Adolescence

  • 4.1 Physical Development in Adolescence
  • 4.2 Cognitive Development in Adolescence
  • 4.3 Socioemotional Development in Adolescence

Maximum Completion

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

  1. Steinberg, Laurence; Vandell, Deborah Lowe; Bornstein, Marc H. Development: Infancy through adolescence. Belmont CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011.
    Type: Textbook ISBN: 978-0-618-72155-9 / 0-618-72155-X
  1. Steinberg, L., Vandell, D. L., & Bornstein, M. Development: Infancy through Adolescence Study Guide. Belmont CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011.
    Type: ISBN: 9780618609901 / 0618609903

Additional Requirements

Computer and internet access.

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the "Mail" tool in the Learning Environment. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.


In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50 % overall, and obtain at least 50 per cent on the mandatory final examination. The following table illustrates how your final grade will be determined for this course.

Assignment 1 - Foundations 12%
Assignment 2 - Infancy and Early Childhood 12%
Assignment 3 - Middle Childhood 12%
Assignment 4 - Adolesence 14%
Final Exam * 50%
TOTAL 100%

* Mandatory