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Student Profile


This programme is designed for people who wish to gain an understanding of the principles and practice of Child Psychology, and the development of children.  No prior knowledge is required.




The objectives of the course are to:


Develop an awareness of psychological approaches to the understanding of child development


Develop a recognition of the application of developmental psychology to certain aspects of child care and education


Create an awareness of different methodological approaches to psychological investigation


Develop a range of skills in using psychological methods


Study Method


The course is designed for study by distance learning at work or at home.  Students receive course manual, assignments and studyguide plus tutor support by mail and email.  You can start at any time and plan your studies over a period of up to one year from the time of enrolment. 




Each element is followed by a written assignment, which is submitted and then marked by your tutor.  There is no external examination required.


Course Accreditation


At the end of this course successful learners will be awarded a certificate of achievement by NCFE. This course has been accredited under NCFE IIQ Licence by Kendal Publishing Limited which has been approved as an NCFE Investing in Quality (IIQ) centre to give formal recognition to our courses. We have designed our training courses specifically to meet the needs of learners who prefer to study from home. The course measurable learning outcomes have been benchmarked at Level 3 (using Ofqual’s Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) level descriptors) to allow you to consider the depth of study, difficulty, and level of achievement involved.


Course Duration


Students may register at any time and have a full year to complete their studies.  The course will take around 90 hours of study to complete.


Pack/Course Contents


Your study pack is dispatched in full at the time of enrolment and provides all you need to complete your studies:



Comprehensive study notes for each element of the course

Self-assessment activities


Tutor support

Assignment marking & feedback



Price and Payment Methods


Please refer to current price list



Course Outline


                          Major Developmental Issues


1. The First Year of Life


Infant reflexes; Social development during the first year of life including the social smile and onset of fear of strangers.


2. The Formation of Attachments


Imprinting; Attachment (Bowlby) including cross-cultural studies; Harlow and surrogate mothers; Relevance of animal studies in child development.


3.Consequences of Breakdowns in Attachments


Maternal deprivation; Implications of theories of attachment and maternal      deprivation when placing children with surrogates.


4. The Home, Family and School


Group vs family care and studies of effects of maternal employment and father absent families; Importance of peers and siblings.


5. Basic Principles of Research Methods


Nature and purpose of research, what is an experiment, supporting and refuting hypotheses, independent and dependent variables, control of variables, standardised instructions and procedures, methods of sampling, design of investigations.


6.The Development of Visual Perception


Introduction to the nature/nurture debate on visual perception; Fantz – form perception; Gibson and Walk – depth perception; how the physiology of the human visual system helps us judge depth and distance; Bower – size constancy; animal experiments on early sensory deprivation.


7.The Development of Language and Communication


Development of non-verbal communication in humans, gestures etc; comparisons with non-human primates; outline of language development in humans; including naturalistic observational in humans; including naturalistic observational studies and criticisms of these; Innate and reinforcement theories.


8.Intelligence and Intelligence Testing


Definitions of intelligence; mental age and IQ; Tests of intelligence; Advantages and disadvantages of IQ testing.


9.The Nature/Nurture Debate in the Study of Intelligence


Twins studies; stability of IQ; Are early experiences decisive for later development?


10.Data Collection and Interpretation


Tables and histograms, correlation and scattergrams; Mean; Range; Drawing conclusions from data.


The Child as an Individual


11.How Children Think


Piaget’s theory of cognitive development; including studies of egocentrism and criticisms of his work.


12.Learning Theory – How Behaviour is Acquired


Learning and conditioning – classical conditioning and operant conditioning; including explanations of extinction, discrimination and generalisation; positive and negative reinforcement; Social Learning Theory and criticisms.


13.Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory – An Alternative Approach


Personality structure, 5 stage theory, criticisms.

14.Moral Development


Definition in psychological terms; investigation of moral behaviour, moral feelings and moral judgement.


15.The Development of Gender Roles


Sex-typing; Gender identity; Biological, social and cultural theories.


16.Aggression in Children


Biological basis of aggression; Psychological theory and aggression; Aggression as a learned response;
Imitation of aggression; viewing violence; Punishment for aggression; sex differences in aggression.

17.Methods Used in Child Development Research


Observational, Survey, Correlational, Experimental – advantages and disadvantages.




The importance of play to learning;
Piaget’s theory of play; forms of play;
Relevance of psychological theories to pre-school education;
Play and learning in nursery schools; Play therapy.

19.Learning in School


Programmed learning and its relationship to learning theory – advantages and disadvantages; Discovery learning and its effectiveness.


20.Behaviour Modification


Explanation and examples; Relationship to learning theory; Points systems, Advantages and disadvantages.




Advantages of this distance learning course:
  • Home Study: you declare when you study, no need to attend class at fixed times and fixed dates. Your study hours fit around you!
  • We will post all the beautifully printed course materials to you. Everything is written in a clear and easy-to-understand format.
  • Start this course anytime of the year! No need to wait until the new academic year starts. Enroll today so soon you'll start improving your CV or re-skill for your new career.
  • Create your own study routine, learn at your own pace, complete your course as quickly or slowly as your circumstance dictate.
  • Your home learning is totally supported by experienced tutors who guide, encourage and assess your progress. You will not be alone because all our tutors are friendly and approachable.


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Questions about this course? Contact Student Support / Course Advisors

Enrol by phone: call 0845 65 22 187 quote course code 165

Enrol by post: print this postal form.

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