Early Childhood: Typical & Atypical Development


Instructor:††††††† ††††††††††† Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed.

Phone: ††††††††††††††††††††††† 509-891-7219

Office Hours:††††††††††† 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday

Email:††††††††††††††††††††††† darcie_donegan@virtualeduc.com

Address:††††††††† ††††††††††† Virtual Education Software

††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† 16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450

††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† Spokane, WA 99216

Technical Support:†††††† support@virtualeduc.com



Welcome to Early Childhood: Typical & Atypical Development, an interactive distance learning course which explores contemporary best practice and perspectives on early childhood development.  Content includes patterns and sequences of typical development for children from birth to six years. Emphasis is on individual differences, cultural influences, and the impact of developmental delay and disability during infancy, toddlerhood, and the preschool years. Discussion will also include instructional technology (IT) and assistive technology (AT) applications for this population.

This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.Technical support information can be found, in the Help section of your course.


Course Materials

Title:††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Early Childhood: Typical & Atypical Development

Instructor:††††††††††††††††††† Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed.

Publisher:†††††††††††††††††††† Virtual Education Software, inc.2008


Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the studentís own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are oneís own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.






Level of Application

This course is designed as one part of a five-part series on early childhood education.Upon completion of all five courses, you will have covered all of the CDA Competencies to prepare you to take the CDA exam (applicable in certain states).This course specifically covers CDA Competencies 1-9, 12, and 13 (Check your individual state requirements), which all relate to the establishment of well-run, purposeful programs for young children that are responsive to individual needs and advance the development of the whole child.This course is designed for anyone planning programs for young children--child-care providers, early childhood educators, and health care or social services providers, to name a few.


Course Objectives

         Identify sequences of developmental milestones in cognitive, social, motor, and communication domains for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

         Specify individual differences in development that are influenced by child characteristics, as well as family and cultural expectations.

         Adjust interactions with individual children (based on developmental status and unique characteristics) and with individual families (based on unique family culture and dynamics).

         Select toys, books, and activities that support the development of young children, including those with special needs, individually and in small groups.

         Provide resources for parents of young children, and for continued professional development, including: developmental information on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; services for young children with special needs; sources of equipment, supplies, and instructional and resource materials.


Course Description

The first chapter will present an introduction to the study of child development from conception to age 6. We will examine the historical roots and methods of child study, major psychological theories, and developmental principles and definitions. This information will provide grounding for the following chapters on specific ages and developmental areas.††


In the second chapter we will start to study child development chronologically. We begin with conception and growth before birth. This overview will include both typical and atypical conception, pregnancy, prenatal development and care, labor, and birth.Next, we consider the special characteristics and needs of the newly delivered baby, including common developmental variations.


The third chapter starts with the end of the newborn period and covers infants from one to 12 months.The tremendous growth and development of infants in each domain--motor, cognitive, language, and social-emotionalóis detailed. Milestones, developmental variations, and red flags will be included for each area.Next, we will focus on toddlers.Although there is no exact age when infancy ends and toddlerhood begins, we will study children in the second and third years of life (or ages 1 and 2).The rapid blossoming of abilities in all domains in this stage of life, from learning to talk to jumping and playing, is covered in this chapter.


Finally, chapter four discusses early childhood, called the magic years (Fraiberg, 1959), of children 3-6 years old. The preschool period is a time of great discovery, testing and wonder.Students will learn about typical and varied preschool development in many areasómoral, social, self-esteem, early learning, motor skills, communication abilities, and more . Some information about the development of young school-age children is also included in this section.Indicators, or red flags, indicating developmental delay or deviation are detailed in all chapters.††


Each chapter contains additional handouts or attachments that cover specific topics from the chapter in greater depth.They are provided for you to read, ponder, and apply to the early childhood education setting in which you work.Some of the topics are intended for you, as the professional, while others are intended for you to pass on to parents, when appropriate.After completing each chapter, you will be required to take an examination and pass it with a score of 70% or better in order to move on to the next chapter.


Student Expectations

As a student, you will be expected to:

         Complete all information chapters covering Typical & Atypical Development, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

         Complete all chapter exams covering Typical & Atypical Development, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

         Complete a review of any chapter on which your examination score was below 70%.

         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

         Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.

         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.


Chapter Topics

Chapter One: Introduction to Child Development

1)      Define child development and basic developmental principles

2)      Understand historical and emerging viewpoints on child study

3)      Recognize major theories and recent trends

4)      Identify research methods, designs and ethics

5)      Appreciate the importance of child development to early childhood educators


Chapter Two: Prenatal and Newborn Development

1)      Outline family contexts of family planning and preparation

2)      Describe the process of conception and fertility assistance methods

3)      Explain the stages of prenatal development

4)      Understand the role of genes and chromosomes in development

5)      Define proper prenatal care and risks to the developing infant

6)      Identify labor and birth options and processes

7)      Discuss atypical conception, prenatal development, labor and birth

8)      Define newborn assessment & care

9)      Understand typical and atypical newborn appearance & abilities


Chapter Three: The Development of Infants (1-12 months) and Toddlers (13-35 months)

1)      Discuss growth patterns and motor development in the first and second years

2)      Describe the development of language and cognitive skills

3)      Understand normal socio-emotional development of infants and toddlers

4)      Identify motor development milestones and sequence

5)      Describe cognitive and language development in 1 to 12 month-olds

6)      Recognize common variations and atypical infant and toddler development


Chapter Four: The Development of Preschoolers (3-5 Years)

1)      Understand the typical sequence of preschool growth and motor development

2)      Describe preschool cognitive development and related theories

3)      Identify language development milestones including emergent literacy approaches

4)      Discuss typical 3 to 5-year-old social emotional development

5)      Define developmentally appropriate practices for young children

6)      Learn types of atypical development and developmental variations



At the end of each course chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score. After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access. The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate.However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed.Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade. As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.


Writing Assignments

This course has two required writing components.


To save your essays:


When you select the question or article you wish to write on, simple text or text edit will

automatically be launched. When you are finished, simply click SAVE.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


1)      Essay Requirement:Critical Thinking Questions

There is a Critical Thinking Question for each chapter. You will do research on the question and write a brief essay relating it to the course content (and your personal experiences when possible).To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Critical Thinking Question that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay.You must write a minimum of 500 words per essay.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


2) Essay Requirement:Journal Articles

This task requires you to write a review of three journal articles of your choice on a topic related to this course.You may choose your topic by entering the Key Words (click on the Key Words button) into a search engine of your choice (Google, Dogpile, Yahoo, etc.). Choose three relevant articles and write a 200-word review of each. You may also access the ERIC system and choose a related topic from a journal listed in that system.Or you can access www.scholar.google.com or www.findarticles.com. Write a critical summary of the information given in each article, explaining how the information relates to, supports, or refutes information given in this course. Conclude your paper with your thoughts and impressions. (200 words per journal article minimum, 400 words maximum.) Be sure to provide the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the instructor to access and review that article.


To write your essays, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Journal Article that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you can write your review. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE.You may go back at any point to edit your essays.For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


Instructor Description

Early Childhood: Typical & Atypical Child Development has been developed by Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed., the instructor of record. Darcie received her BA at the University of Washington and her Masterís degree from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development, specializing in Early Childhood Education and Adult Education.  She has worked with young children and their caregivers for over 25 years in a various capacities, including preschool teacher, center director, parent educator, trainer, and consultant.  Darcie has also been an international consultant through the Soros Foundation and taught in many different countries. She is currently adjunct faculty in ECE at Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College, where she also coordinates the Parent Education program. Areas of special interest include infants and toddlers, child development, observation and assessment, social-emotional development, child care, and program planning.  Darcie is the mother of a teenage son and twin ten-year-old daughters.  In addition to this course, Darcie is the author of another course in this Early Childhood series called Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment.††


Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing Darcie at darcie_donegan@virtualeduc.com or calling her at 509-891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches or other issues that involve the operation of the course.


Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219.When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call.


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESiís website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.



Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.


Bibliography (Suggested Readings)


Ainsworth, M. (1978).Patterns of attachment:A psychological study of a strange situation.Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Bandura, A. (1963). Social learning and personality development. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.


Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss. New York: Basic Books.


Allen, K.E., & Marotz, L. (2000). By the ages: Behavior and development of children pre-birth through eight.Albany, NY: Delmar.


Allen, K.E., & Marotz, L. (1994). Developmental profiles: Pre-birth through eight.Albany, NY: Delmar.


Allen, K.E., & Schwartz, I. (1996). The exceptional child: Inclusion in early childhood education. Albany, NY: Delmar.


Ames, L.B., Gillespie, C., Haines, J., & Ilg, F.L. (1978). The Gesell Instituteís childhood from one to six. New York: Harper & Row.


Bandura, A. (1977).Social learning theory.Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


Bee, H. (1997). The developing child (8th ed.). New York: HarperCollins.


Berk, L.E. (2005). Infants and children (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.


Bodrova, E., & Leong, D. (1996). Tools of the mind: The Vygotskian approach to early childhood education. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.


Bowlby, J. (1969).Attachment and loss.Vol.1: Attachment.London: Hogarth Press.


Carolina Abecedarian Project. (1999).Early Learning, later success: The Abecedarian study.Chapel Hill, NC: Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center.


Brazelton. B.T. (1981). On becoming a family: The growth of attachment.New York: Dell Publishing.


Bredekamp, S., & Copple, C. (1997).   Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs (rev. ed.). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Bredekamp, S., & Rosegrant, T. (Eds.). (1996).  Reaching potentials: Appropriate curriculum and assessment of young children. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979).The ecology of human development.Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Chomsky, N. (1988).Language and problems of knowledge.Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Dombro, A.L., Colker, L.J., & Dodge, D.T. (1999). The creative curriculum for infants & toddlers. Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies.


Elkind, D. (2001). The hurried child: Growing up too fast too soon. New York: Knopf.


English, D., Upadhyaya, M., Litrownik, A., Marshall, J., Runyan, D., Graham, J.C., & Dubowitz, H. (2005). Maltreatment's wake: The relationship of maltreatment dimensions to child outcomes. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29(5). 597-619.


Erikson, E. (1963).Childhood and society (2nd ed.).New York: Norton.


Farber, A, & Mazlich, E. (1980). How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk.New York: Avon Books.


Fein, G., & Rivkin, M. (Eds.). (1986). The young child at play: Reviews of research. Washington, DC: NAEYC.


Fogel, A. (1997). Infancy.New York: West Publishing.


Freud, S. (1923).The ego and the id. (1974 reissue).London: Hogarth.


Gardner, H. (1983).Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences.New York: Basic Books.


Gardner, H. (1993).Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice.New York: Basic Books.


Gerber, M. (1998). Dear parent: Caring for infants with respect. Pasadena, CA: Resources for Infant Educators.


Gesell, A., & Ilg, F.L. (1949).Child development.New York: Harper Brothers.


Gopnik, A., Meltzoff, A.N., & Kuhl, P.K. (1999). The scientist in the crib: Minds, brains, and how children learn.New York: William Morrow.


Goleman, D. (1997). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than I.Q. New York: Bantam.


Goleman, D. (2006). Social intelligence: The new science of human relationships.New York: Bantam.


Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2006).Infants, toddlers, and caregivers.New York: McGraw-Hill.


Gottman, J.M., & DeClaire, J. (1998). Raising an emotionally intelligent child.New York: Simon & Schuster.


Greenspan, S., & Greenspan, N.T. (1994). First feelings: Milestones in the emotional development of your baby and child.New York: Penguin.


Healy, J. (1989).Your child's growing mind: A guide to learning and brain development from birth to adolescence.New York: Doubleday.


Herbert, M. (2003).Typical and atypical development.Oxford: BPS Blackwell.


Honig, A. S. (2000). Cross-cultural study of infants and toddlers. In A. Comunian & U. Gielen (Eds.), International perspectives on human development (pp. 275-308).Lengerich, Germany: Pabst Science Publishers.


Honig, A.S. (2000).Love and learn: Positive guidance for young children (Brochure). Washington, DC: NAEYC.


Kohlberg, L. (1987).Child psychology and childhood education: A cognitive developmental view.New York: Longman.


Malaguzzi, L. (1993). History, ideas, and basic philosophy. In C. Edwards, L. Gandini, & G. Forman (Eds.), The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education (pp.41-89). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.


Marotz, L., Cross, M., & Rush, J. (1997).Health, safety and nutrition for the young child (4th ed.).Albany, NY: Delmar.


Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personality (3rd ed., 1987.) New York: Addison-Wesley.


Piaget, J. (1963). The origins of intelligence in children. New York: Norton.


Piaget, J. (1968). Judgment and reasoning in the child. Totowa: Littlefield, Adams, & Co.


Piaget, J. (1969). The childís conception of the world. Totowa: Littlefield, Adams, & Co.


Siegel, D. J. (2001). The developing mind: how relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. NY: Guilford Press.


Siegel, D. J. and Hartzell, M. M. (2004). Parenting from the inside out: How a deeper self-understanding can help you raise children who thrive. LA: J. P. Tarcher.


Skinner, B.F. (1953).Science and human behavior.New York: Free Press.


Slentz, K., & Krogh, S.L. (2001). Early childhood development and its variations.Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Small, M.F. (1999). Our babies, ourselves: How biology and culture shape the way we parent.New York: Dell.


Sternberg, R. J. (1985): Beyond IQ: A triarchic theory of human intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Thomas, A., & Chess, S. (1986).The New York longitudinal study: From infancy to early adult life.In R. Plomin& J. Dunn (eds.), The study of temperament: Changes, continuities and challenges (pp. 39-52).Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.


Updated 6/7/12 JN