Thompson Rivers University

Open Learning

PSYC 2131
Introduction to Childhood and Adolescence

3.0 Credits


This course is an introductory course in developmental psychology. Developmental psychology is the branch of psychology devoted to the study of human development and change. Course material will expose you to the key issues, methods, theories and research findings in this field. As change and development are an intrinsic part of the human experience, it is hoped that your learning in this course will foster a lifetime interest in the process of human development.

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. A key theme in the course is the interconnectedness of developmental processes. Interrelations between the child's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development are explored through the course material. Emphasized as well is the intricate relation between the child and the contexts that support his/her development such as family life, peers, and culture.

Delivery Method



None. Provincial Grade 12 Diploma or equivalent is recommended.

Note: Students with credit for PSYC 3151, 3451, SFU PSYC 250, 351, 355 or UBS PSYC 301, 315 may not take this course for further credit.




After you have completed the work in this course, you 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, L., Vandell, D. L., & Bornstein, M. Development: Infancy through adolescence. Belmont CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011.
    Type: Textbook ISBN: 978-0-618-72155-9 / 0-618-72155-X
  1. Henry, Bouas Kelly. Study guide: Development: Infancy through Adolescence . 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 Blackboard's "Mail" tool or by phone. 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 12%
Assignment 2 12%
Assignment 3 12%
Assignment 4 14%
Final Exam * 50%
TOTAL 100%

* Mandatory

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