Course Syllabus

Child Psychology Syllabus Summer I  - 2016


Teacher: David Miller               Text:  Cook & Cook. World of Children 2nd Edition


5/16   Session 1 :  Introduction to Developmental Psychology: Theories

Freudian & Eriksonian pp. 6 – 12 ,  Piaget through Sociobiology   pp 13 – 14 & p 15,  Ethology & Systems  pp 15 – 18

            Read and Discuss : John Updike's "Should Wizard Hit Mommy?" 

                                              & "Twins" by Lawrence Wright


5/23  Session 2Heredity & Environment, Nature/Nurture, Genetics, Prenatal Development:

Read pp 37 – 40, 49 – 54  &  59 - 69;  Prenatal    pp  75-81,  111 – 3  & 120; Teratogens 82 – 92;   Labor & Birth :  pp. 93 – 104 ;     Neonate :  pp 109 -  121  (125-32)

                        Read and discuss the following 3 articles:

 Earliest foods, for PreNates (Links to an external site.)

  PreNate's Memories? (Links to an external site.)

  Breastfeeding Study (Links to an external site.)


5/30   Session 3 :

Cognitive Development of Piaget’s Sensorimotor Stage, Language Acquisition

Piaget & Sensorimotor Stage :  pp. 144 – 155 (141-4)  Language Development :  pp.  158 – 69           Temperaments   pp 186 – 94  

Take Jungian-Type Temperament Inventory (Links to an external site.)  -  Note the results, which will be one of the questions on the quiz.

Read the following pieces to be discussed , in Graded Discussion, and for your Quiz.

Mahler: Stages of Separation / Individuation Development (Links to an external site.)  (this reading will also be information covered on your MId-Term exam, please take notes from which you may study for the test.)

Paper+on+Infant+Mental+HealthView in a new window

Read the following excerpt from the beginning of an article about Frank Sulloway's research on Birth Order regarding his book Born To Rebel. : The Birth of an Idea.docxView in a new window


 6/6     Session 4 :Bonding & Attachment :      Read pp 174 – 84 ;

            Watch the following 2 sections from the film “Ponette”, of a  4 year old dealing with the death of her mother.

           TEST I


6/13   Session 5 :  Infant Brain Development & Health Issues :

Read pp. 208 -211 &  218-226;  Piaget  & Vygotsky,   pp-  230 – 40 & 244

            Early Childhood Education pp 252 – 6;   263 – 7 ;  Moral Development:  pp 268 – 9; 

            Parenting : pp 270 – 278; Play is the Work of Childhood :  pp 279 – 287; 

Read the following short story ("Blackberries"), take the Rotter on-line Personality test, and review the brief article on the 30 million Word Gap :

                Blackberries.docView in a new window

                Rotter Locus of Control (Links to an external site.)

               Word Gap.docxView in a new window


6/20   Session 6 :  Middle Childhood;  Special Needs;  Child Abuse ; Adolescent Difficulties:

Sexual Abuse 305 – 08, Special Needs : 309 – 17; Middle Childhood :  322 – 4,  361 – 9  &  379 – 392

             Adolescence : pp 403 – 409, 415 -  418;           Adolescent Difficulties :  pp  421 – 430


Read this excerpt, which is the 1st chapter, from Toni Morrison's The Bluest EyeA1.docView in a new window

Read last two chapters “Sophistication” & “Departure” from Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio: (Links to an external site.)


6/27   Session 7 : Adolescence: Cognitive Development, Identity Issues

Cognitive Development 435 – 442 & 459 -60 ;   Identity :  pp 470 – 490 & 499 -502


6/30   Session 8  : Autobiographical papers due

            TEST II (FINAL EXAM)




Test I = 25%   Test II = 25% Quizzes  & Discussion =  25%  Reflection on Childhood =  25%

To receive an "A" for the course requires an "A" in at least 3 of the 4 graded factors.


Participation:   You are expected to read the assigned work for each class.  Yet the bulk of your participation grade will be based on your responses to the complementary readings that go along with the text, the weekly hand-out hard copies &/or internet-linked readings and viewings that will be discussed.  These supplemental readings are thought-provoking, hopefully, and material to hone your psychological skills of analysis, as well as critical thinking.

Reflection on Childhood : Your autobiographical paper will be 5 - 7 typed pages, approximately 2,000 words. This will be graded on a 100 point scale. You will receive points along the way towards completion of your paper: for choosing your topic, writing the first paragraph, and submitting the first draft.  In the ASSIGNMENT section of the modules you will see the schedule and point values.  Please follow this schedule.

Zero in on your childhood, writing about any relationship(s), family dynamic or event.  Please make it specific, avoid writing in any generalities. This is not your life history or chronology of events but an opportunity to look anew at one specific period of your childhood, the experience and its possible effects. You have a lot to choose from, whether to explore a particular relationship over time or to delve into a single day or moment of your childhood. This is to be an insightful psychologically oriented reflection.  By psychological I do not intend that you use psych. terminology, nor attempt to look at your life through the eyes of Freud or Skinner, but rather to write of your psyche (soul) as reflective of its particular time & place, and of its development as a response to your culture, family, genetics, etc.  You may write this in any style as long as it is an intelligent and sincere work of self-exploration. Excavate and evoke the important images of your psyche. Be specific, be real.  It may be tragic, funny, analytical, rich in narrative, dialogue or description, written in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd person, in poetry. story or essay.  Find your own voice(s) and write a true and meaningful exposition of your self in your world. I assure you of confidentiality.

Enrollment Policy:    It is the responsibility of each to student to maintain his or her enrollment in the class. If a student wishes to register late for this course, he or she must obtain my permission before the third class and there must be a seat available.  All missed work will be expected to be completed once enrolled. Students who no longer wish to participate in the course must withdraw themselves. I will not withdraw students for poor attendance. Any student who has stopped attending or submitting required work and is still enrolled in the course at the end of the semester will receive a grade of F. Persons who are not enrolled in the course are not permitted to be in the classroom without prior permission of the instructor.


Disability Policy:       Students who believe they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss their accommodation form and specific needs as soon as possible, but preferably within the first week of class. If you need to request reasonable accommodations, but do not have an accommodation form, please contact the Center on Disability, room BG-39, at 215.751.8050.


Academic Integrity:  Each student is responsible for being familiar with the college’s academic integrity policies.  Cheating and plagiarizing are violations of these policies and open students to disciplinary action. Cheating is accessing unauthorized material, persons or information for purposes of meeting or completing an assignment. Plagiarism is the unattributed use of another’s work as one’s own. Students who are caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive a zero for that assignment and may be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students. Please contact me if you have any questions, confusion or concerns regarding academic honesty. 



1   To describe the developing person at different periods of childhood.

2   To comprehend the use and techniques of scientific inquiry and how research forms the basis of our understandings of changes that occur during an individual’s life.

3   To examine the complex interplay of Nature and Nurture regarding human development.

4   To understand basic theoretical perspectives (Psychodynamic, Behavioral, Social Learning, Cognitive, Social-  Cultural and Epigenetic) and their major contributions to our knowledge.

5   To explain development in the context of the three domains, Biosocial, Psychosocial, and Cognitive.

6   To enhance awareness of historical, cultural, societal, economic and political trends which affect the individual.

7 To examine cross-cultural research regarding development and to appreciate people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds while gaining insight into similarities and differences.

8   To utilize critical thinking in evaluating our own assumptions about human development.

9   To step outside our own frames of reference and examine the evidence from Psychological Science.


I hope that this semester will be an enjoyable and valuable adventure for us all.   Best wishes.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due