1: Introduction to Child Development
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After this chapter, you should be able to:
- Describe the principles that underlie development.
- Differentiate periods of human development.
- Evaluate issues in development.
- Distinguish the different methods of research.
- Explain what a theory is.
- Compare and contrast different theories of child development.
Welcome to Child Growth and Development. This text is a presentation of how and why children grow, develop, and learn. We will look at how we change physically over time from conception through adolescence. We examine cognitive change, or how our ability to think and remember changes over the first 20 years or so of life. And we will look at how our emotions, psychological state, and social relationships change throughout childhood and adolescence. As we begin the study of a child's growth and development, we first need to understand that children have rights. Below are some of the organizations that discuss and share exactly what those rights are.
Children Have Rights
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment), states that our primary responsibility to children is "above all, we shall not harm children (1.1). We shall not participate in practices that are emotionally damaging, physically harmful, disrespectful, degrading, dangerous, exploitative, or intimidating to children. This principle has precedence over all others" (NAEYC, 2011). 1
Marian Wright Edelman
Marian Wright Edelman founded the Children Defense Fund in 1973. She has been the strongest voice for children and families to ensure that every child gets a healthy head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start in life as they move into adulthood with the help of families and communities. She recognized children's rights and racial equity, and has been an advocate in pursuing policies that reduce the impact of poverty on children protecting them from abuse and neglect, and providing children with educational opportunities. The CDF works on federal legislation to make sure every child in America has everything they need to thrive, fixing systemic inequities, specifically focusing on poor children, children of color and those with disabilities. 2
"We would like to create a world familiar with the smiles of children rather than their tears" - Nelson Mandela