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The Open University

Introduction to child psychology

The Open University via OpenLearn


Childhood is a time of rapid growth and development, and studying these changes is endlessly stimulating. In this free course, Introduction to child psychology, you will be introduced to the discipline of child psychology and some of the key questions that guide the understanding of childhood. These questions include 'What influences children's development?' and 'How do psychologists study the physical and cognitive changes that occur during childhood?' As you work through this material, you will also gain a deeper understanding concerning how psychologists work with young children across a range of applied settings through activities and audio-visual materials.


  • Introduction
  • Learning outcomes
  • 1 What is child psychology?
  • 1 What is child psychology?
  • 2 Using theories to understand development
  • 2 Using theories to understand development
  • 2.1 Development is primarily internal: Piaget
  • 2.2 Development is determined by environmental factors: Vygotsky
  • 3 Asking questions about children’s development
  • 3 Asking questions about children’s development
  • 3.1 How does socio-cultural context influence development?
  • 3.2 How do children shape their own development?
  • 4 Child psychologists in applied settings
  • 4 Child psychologists in applied settings
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Acknowledgements


4.7 rating, based on 6 Class Central reviews

4 rating at OpenLearn based on 211 ratings

Start your review of Introduction to child psychology

  • this course is an eye opener to child psychology to me.
    i advise any and every parent to take this course to aid their child training and understanding the children in a Global world view instead of a personal myopic worldview.
    how do i get a certificate for this course?
  • Nigel Senda
    I wanted to learn about this course Introduction to child psychology and since am getting started i cant wait to just finish the whole course in a day. not bat at all
    It was easy to understand . and was informative. It helps me a lot in understanding child's mood and behavior. Child psychology is vast area of understanding child psychology. It was short and comprehensive.
  • Profile image for Roxana Abdi
    Roxana Abdi
    This course was very practical and interesting and made me very interested in this field.
    I was always looking for the clinical field and had no idea about the pediatric field, but now I think I should read a lot about children
  • Profile image for Elizabeth Dominic
    Elizabeth Dominic
    The course material was insightful and well conveyed. The course was beneficial since it improved my understanding of child psychology.
  • Profile image for Janhvi Rana
    Janhvi Rana
    The content of the course was very insightful and informative. It was very interesting to know about the children and studying child psychology. I really enjoyed the course.

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