Childhood Development

This unit introduces human development with a specific focus on the period from on early childhood through to pre-adolescence. Students will study the spiritual, physical, cognitive, moral, emotional, and social aspects of early childhood through to pre-adolescent development and consider these through a Christian Worldview lens. They will analyse factors that influence development and implications for educational practice. They will also examine optimal wellbeing and some of the primary challenges that children and adolescents in relation to wellbeing and what teachers and schools are doing to support this. 

Quick Info

  • Currently offered by Alphacrucis: Yes
  • Course code: EDU227
  • Credit points: 10
  • Subject coordinator: Sue Westraad


The following courses are prerequisites:

Awards offering Childhood Development

This unit is offered as a part of the following awards:

Unit Content


  1. Analyse and discuss early childhood and childhood development theories from a Christian worldview perspective with a specific focus on cognitive, emotional, psychosocial, physical, moral and spiritual development.
  2. Analyse and explain how developmental and wellbeing theory can assist educators to improve teaching and learning experiences and support.
  3.  Identify and discuss the policies, frameworks, organisations and community mechanisms that support optimal early childhood and childhood development and wellbeing in school contexts.
  4. Synthesise the significant factors that contribute to or impact the optimal spiritual, emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing of people and how wellbeing is fostered and supported within Christian and alternate school contexts.
  5. Identify, analyse, and discuss key developmental and wellbeing challenges encountered by children and adolescents in contemporary society and investigate approaches to respond constructively to these with reference to the classroom and whole school context.

Subject Content

  • Assumptions of personhood – who are we as human beings? Who are we as learners? The four major perspectives: natural materialism, secular humanism, pantheism, Judeo-Christian theism – implications for developmental theorizing and teaching practice. 
  • An introduction to the history and theory of child and adolescent development – Freud and other perspectives; Erikson’s theory of development; Piaget/Kohlberg’s theory of development; Fowler’s stages of spiritual development.
  • Development of identity and self-concept – facts and fantasies: self-efficacy, resilience, self-esteem, sociology and psychology of family: family relations; parenting styles, nurturing parenting, different parenting roles, siblings, birth order, divorce, step families; rural, remote and urban communities, indigenous communities; and control and regulation in the home.
  • Physical development, effect of emerging puberty: rites of passage, cultural markers, gender and sexuality. Physical wellness and health. Brain development.
  • Cognitive Development and factors that shape and influence this development, including diet and lifestyle; Watson, Skinner, Piaget, Vygotsky, Atkinson & Shiffrin and Sweller
  • Emotional Development – attachment theory, social emotional learning, emotional literacy
  • Psychosocial Development the stages of development, the development of prosocial behaviours, strategies to encourage self-regulation behaviours in the classroom and playground and ways to address bullying; the implications of child and adolescent development, student well-being and mental health for learning and the management of behaviour. Prosocial and antisocial behaviour.
  • Moral and spiritual development 
  • Positive psychology and wellbeing. Wellbeing in classrooms and schools. Wellbeing for teachers
  • Key challenges in early childhood and childhood development
  • Initiatives to support student wellbeing. Resereach and development studies on the impact of family, communities and schooling on litereacy, numeracy and life skills development. Research and statistics of indigenous and marginalised communities and educational success.
  • Reflection and integration

This course may be offered in the following formats

  • Face to face (onsite)
  • eLearning (online)

Please consult your course prospectus or enquire about how and when this course will be offered next at Alphacrucis University College.

Assessment Methods

  • Critical Reflection (20%)
  • Minor Essay (30%)
  • Integrated Project (50%)

Prescribed Text

  • References will include the most current curriculum requirements for schools.

Check with the instructor each semester before purchasing any prescribed texts or representative references