Sonoma State University
Education 420
Child Development in the Family, School, and Community

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Fall 2005

Course Description
Course Objectives

Grading Criteria

Course Requirements

Use of Sources



Lisa Pollack, M.A.

Office: Stevenson 2010 A

Phone: 664-2672


Office hours:Monday, by appt;Tuesday, 12-1; Wednesday, 10-1; Thursday 4-5

Course Description:

This course will explore the predictable developmental stages that all children pass through, physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. The major theorists of child development will be studied, and their ideas will be applied. We will also discuss the variety of experiences in the family, school, and community which shapes the uniqueness of each child. The following strands will be woven throughout the course: major theories of child development, the impact of family and child rearing styles, gender issues, and the impact of the culture and society.

Class sessions will include whole group and small group discussions, multiple opportunities to work collaboratively with classmates, field trips and student presentations.


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Required Texts:

Additional articles will be assigned throughout the course to supplement and enrich the textbook information. Articles will be distributed in class or found on the course website.

  • Child and Adolescent Development for Educators by Judith L. Meece. McGraw Hill. 2002
  • Molly is Three: Growing Up In School by Vivian Paley. University of Chicago Press. 1986
  • The Scientist in the Crib -- What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind by Alison Gopnik, Andrew Meltzoff, & Patricia Kuhl. Perennial, 2001.

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Course Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development which occurs in childhood from infancy through adolescence.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the effects of the family, school and the community in the growth and development of the child.
  3. Articulate ways in which the theories of child development impact educational programs, parenting and teaching strategies, and materials designed for children.
  4. Identify a variety of community resources which are available to support children and families.


As a general education requirement and a prerequisite to the Multiple Subject Credential, this course will also address the following goals:

General Education:

  1. Acquire a foundation of intellectual skills and capacities including: developing intellectual curiosity; developing research skills; writing and speaking effectively to various audiences; evaluating everyday experiences critically; working collaboratively; developing skills in using information technology; imagining, designing and executing scholarly and creative projects
  2. Develop social and global knowledge including: understanding human diversity and multicultural perspectives; actively engaging in the community; understanding the global environment; understanding social justice issues
  3. Use multiple methods of inquiry and approaches to knowledge
  4. Develop capacities for integration and lifelong learning: including integrating general education experiences; engaging in responsible citizenship

State of California Teacher Performance Expectations:

TPE 6a - Developmentally appropriate practices in Grade K - 3
TPE 6b - Developmentally appropriate practices in Grade 4 - 8
TPE 8 - Learning about students
TPE 11 - Social environment
TPE 12 - Professional, legal, and ethical obligations

Connections to the School of Education's Vision:

Performance expecations:
D. Successfully create and work in collaborative and inclusive communities
E. Develop and promote a global, multicultural perspective.
F. Act on key values, including social justice, anti-bias principles, and democratic practices.
G. Make decisions based on developmental learning theory
J. Use technology to enhance teaching and support active, authentic learning

A. To be passionate about being educators
B. To promote social and emotional growth and an ethic of caring, nurturing, and learning in their classrooms, schools, and communities
C. To be culturally responsive and responsible, knowledgeable and appreciative of the diversity among learners
D. To appreciate the importance of a liberal arts education
E. To value the arts in learning
F. To be committed to anti-bias principles, social justice, and democratic practices
G. To be committed to professional ethical standards

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Course Requirements and Assignments: For more details on each assignment, use the link to Assignments page on the course website.

  1. Attendance and participation in class is essential. Plan to attend all classes for the full time period. If you are unable to attend a class session, please notify me in advance. Being absent does not excuse you from anything that was discussed or due in class. It is your responsibility to find out what you have missed when you are absent, and to make-up any in-class assignments that were given.

    If you are absent for more than one class meeting, your grade will be affected unless alternate work is submitted. Students who are absent for more than 3 class sessions will fail the course except for extenuating circumstances which are discussed with the instructor.

    Our class meetings are designed with the expectation that you have read all of the assigned readings prior to coming to class. Be prepared to share your understandings and questions about the reading. Some course sessions will begin with small group discussions on the assigned reading, and the participation grade for students who are not prepared will be affected.

    There will be a great deal of discussion and exchange of ideas and experiences during class. Please remember to be respectful of divergent ideas and that our different life experiences have shaped our views. Also be sensitive to allowing your classmates equal access "to the floor", as well as actively listening to their comments.

  2. State of America's Children Presentation:
    With a group of classmates, you will summarize a current issue which faces our nation's children. Each group will focus on a different topic, using the material on the Children's Defense Fund's website:
  3. Analysis of a Children's Book
    Books which are designed for children, whether fiction or textbooks are written with the children's development and learning in mind. In this assignment, you will read a children's chapter book or a school textbook to apply what you are learning about child development and analyze the author's theoretical perspective.
  4. Midterm exams:
    There will be two in-class midterm exams. Exams will cover all of the readings, class lectures/discussion, videos, and class activities. Your responses to four short answer questions will demonstrate your understanding and synthesis of the material.
  5. In-depth study:
    This research project or paper is an opportunity for you to choose a particular subject to study in more depth. You may work with a partner or by yourself, and research any area which relates to this course. Topics must be approved before beginning. You will present your study in both a written report and on a display poster that will be shared with the class during our last two course meetings. The write-up for the in-depth study must be submitted as a hard copy on its due date and also electronically to

If you have a disability that requires accommodation in this class, you must notify me before the end of the second week of class regarding the nature of the accommodation(s) you require. You must register with the campus office of Disabled Student Services, located in Salazar Hall. DSS will provide you with written confirmation of your verified disability and authorize recommended accommodations. This authorization must be presented to me before any accommodations can be made.

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Grading Criteria:

Your grade in this course will be based on your completion of all course requirements. Your written work will be graded according to how fully and completely you demonstrate understanding of the course content and how well you integrate your knowledge with practical examples. All of your writing should include your own analysis and synthesis. Attention will also be given to the clarity and organization of your writing.

Written assignments will be considered late if they are not turned in on their due date. Late work is accepted, yet points will be deducted for each week that it is late. Work may be revised and resubmitted to demonstrate further understanding and to improve the grade. Revisions must be turned in within one week of when the work was returned.


The following points will be given for the assignments and course requirements:

Course attendance and participation

75 points

State of America's Children presentation

40 points

Analysis of a Children's Book

60 points

Midterm exams

100 points (50each)

In depth study

100 points

In depth study poster presentation

25 points

 The basis for letter grades is as follows, with a total of 400 points:

A = Outstanding Work

A = 100% - 93%

A- = 92% - 90%

B = Good Work

B+ = 89% - 88%

B = 87% - 83%

B- = 82% - 80%

C = Satisfactory Work

C+ = 79% - 78%

C = 77% - 73%

C- = 72% - 70%

D = Poor Work

D+ = 69% - 68%

D = 67% - 63%

D- = 62% - 60%

F = Failing Work

Below 60%

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Use of Sources:

In your writing for this class, you will be referring to ideas from the textbooks and other sources. Make sure that you cite the references you are using with the title, author and page number.

  • If you are taking language directly from other sources, use quotation marks.
  • If you are paraphrasing ideas, you must use your own words and list the reference following the sentence, using its source, author, and page number.

Any assignment which contains plagiarized materials will receive a grade of "F". The student may also fail the course and be referred to the Department Chair or the University Provost for disciplinary action.

If you have any questions about this, please ask me and/or refer to the University's policy on plagiarism:

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