Childhood: A Developmental Approach
The Emergence of Child Development
Some Key Development Thinkers
Childhood Development in Context
Questions to Consider:
What are some of the historical approaches to childhood?
What does it mean to take a developmental approach to childhood?
How are these approaches fundamentally different?
Developmental Approaches to Childhood
Supposedly based on “scientific knowledge”
Focus on different stages of childhood and adolescence; milestone approach
Interested in the differences between “normal” and “abnormal”
Western focus on age-- “How old are you?”—as a developmental focus
Assumptions Behind Developmentalism
Many of these “scientific facts” are culturally relative
Developmentalists value children who are in the process of
rather than active agents in their own right
“Development” is not a neutral term [it assumes the basic difference between
“normal” and “abnormal”]
D. R. Shaffer on Developmental Psychology:
“Developmental psychology is a truly objective science… Today a
developmentalist determines the adequacy of a theory by deriving hypotheses
and conducting research to see whether the theory can predict and explain the
new observations that he or she has made.
There is no room for subjective bias