Early Childhood: Typical & Atypical Development


Instructor Name:          Dr. Marrea Winnega

Facilitator Name:          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 that covers development during the first six years of life and research-based best practices in early learning. Included will be typical development from the prenatal stage to middle childhood with an emphasis is on individual differences, cultural influences, and the impact of developmental delay and disability. 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 (Online)

Title:                            Early Childhood: Typical & Atypical Development

Instructor Name:          Dr. Marrea Winnega

Facilitator Name:          Darcie Donegan, MA/Ed.

Publisher:                     Virtual Education Software, inc.2008, Revised 2012


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 student’s 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 one’s 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

·        Understand basic principles of growth and the foundation of development from conception through 6 years, including genetic and environmental influences.

·        Identify the historical roots, common research practices, prominent child development theorists and theories.

·        Describe sequences, characteristics, and concepts of development in the domains of motor and perceptual, cognitive and communication, social and emotional development for each stage.

·        Recognize individual and cultural differences in child development and socialization.

·        Identify how to create environments, programming, and interactions that support the development of young children, including those with special needs, individually and in groups.

·        Provide professional resources on the typical and atypical development and needs of children prenatal-six years.


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 prenatal development and care, and then continue through labor and birth. Next, we consider the special characteristics and needs of the newly delivered baby, including common developmental variations. This overview will include both typical and atypical development.


The third chapter focuses on infants and toddlers; the first three years of life (ages 1-36 months). We will look at growth and development in the domains of motor-perceptual, cognitive, language, brain, and social-emotional development. This chapter details milestones, red flags, developmental variation, and how adults can safely and appropriately facilitate the development of infants and toddlers.


Finally, Chapter Four discusses early and early middle childhood, or the magic years, ages 3-6 years old (Fraiberg, 1959). The preschool and kindergarten period is a time of great discovery, testing, and wonder. Students will learn about typical and varied 3-6 year-old development in all areas—moral, social, self-esteem, early learning, motor skills, communication abilities, social and brain development, and more. Indicators, or red flags, suggesting developmental delay or deviation, and resources 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 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) & Young School agers (5-6 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-6 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 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.  Your final grade for the course will be determined by calculating an average score of all exams.  This score will be printed on your final certificate.  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.


Facilitator 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 master’s 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 more than 30 years in 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 Whatcom Community College, a Washington State Department of Early Learning approved trainer, and the author of the ten Parenting Preschoolers modules for Washington State’s Organization of Parent Education Programs  (OPEP).  Areas of special interest include infants and toddlers, child development, observation and assessment, social-emotional development, brain development, child care, and parenting. Darcie is the mother of three teenagers and has been married to a (nice) lawyer for 20 years. In addition to writing this course, Darcie is the author of another course in this Early Childhood series called Early Childhood: Observation & Assessment.  Please contact Professor Donegan if you have course content or examination questions.


Instructor Description

Dr. Marrea Winnega, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with 20 years of experience in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Psychiatry. She consults for schools and agencies serving individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, including Asperger’s Disorder. She has also conducted numerous workshops, in-services, and trainings throughout the United States.  Please contact Professor Donegan if you have course content or examination questions.


Contacting the Facilitator

You may contact the facilitator by emailing Professor Donegan 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 VESi’s 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)


Bronson, P., & Merryman, A. (2009). Nurtureshock: New thinking about children. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group.


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. (2012). Developmental profiles: Pre-birth through eight (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


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 Institute’s childhood from one to six. New York: Harper & Row.


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


Berk, L.E. (2011). Infants and children (7h 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.


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. (2010).  Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs (3rd 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.


Dodge, D.T.  (2010). Creative curriculum for preschool (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies


Dombro, D.T., Rudick, S., & Burke, K. (2006). The creative curriculum for infants, toddlers, and twos (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies.


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


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



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


Galinsky, E. (2010). Mind in the making: The seven essential life skills that every child needs. New York, NY: HarperCollins.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


Medina, J. (2011). Brain rules for babies: How to raise a smart and happy child from zero to five. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.


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


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


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


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


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.



Recommended Child Development and Early Learning Websites:

Below are suggested online resources—some high quality professional organization websites with a great deal of information, advice, links, and resources. Other links are just to illustrate research, concepts, or share related video clips or articles.


General Recommended Web sites:


















Specific Web Links Related to Curriculum


Chapter One: Introduction to Child Development

*Developmentally appropriate practices information plus resources, full Position Statement, age-specific recommendations, books, and teaching strategies. http://www.naeyc.org/dap


*Information about the major developmental theorists and theories: http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/childdevtheory.htm


Chapter Two:Prenatal & Newborn Development

*The classic PBS documentary “Life’s Greatest Miracle” video on prenatal development from conception to birth online at: http://video.pbs.org/video/1841157252/


*Another beautiful video and talk on prenatal development at: http://www.ted.com/talks/alexander_tsiaras_conception_to_birth_visualized.html


*John Medina’s advice for healthy prenatal brain development and pregnancy advice at: http://brainrules.net/brain-rules-for-baby-pregnancy


*Fascinating talk on research on the effects of the Dutch famine during WWII evidencing how babies seem to grow to fit their environment: http://www.ted.com/talks/annie_murphy_paul_what_we_learn_before_we_re_born.html


*Video on Medina’s research on effects of a baby on couples’ relationships: http://brainrules.net/brain-rules-for-baby-relationship

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

* The “visual cliff” experiment can be seen on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6cqNhHrMJA


*Brain development info on this site from UW on “neuroscience for kids” (and adults) http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/introb.html#bb


* For a fun measure of your own mental flexibility try the “Stroop test” and more at: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/words.html


*Amazing recent research, information, briefs, links, and videos on the science of early learning and early brain development at: http://developingchild.harvard.edu/topics/science_of_early_childhood/


*“Patricia Kuhl: The Linguistic Genius of Babies” TED talk and video on her research - http://www.ted.com/talks/patricia_kuhl_the_linguistic_genius_of_babies.html


* Video and talk on research on infant intelligence and decision-making:



*Video on mirror neurons: http://video.pbs.org/video/1615173073/


* The AAP recommendations on TV and children under two: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/10/infant-tv-guidelines/


* Info on the link between Baby Einstein videos and language development: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/baby-einstein/AN01990   


*Facts and recommendations on children and the media: http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/article-faq.html


* Fun TED video on why we think babies are cute: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_cute_sexy_sweet_funny.html


* Great resources and you can test yourself with the “Are you Baby Smart?” quiz http://www.bornlearning.org/default.aspx?id=20


*Mary Ainsworth classic "strange situation" attachment research video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTsewNrHUHU


*Temperament types: “flexible, feisty & fearful” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EcA9mgxBwk


*See children try “the rogue test” for self-recognition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2I0kwSua44


* Discipline and guidance links and resources on children’s behavior: http://www.humsci.auburn.edu/~abellel/beeprogram/links/resourceupdates/guidedis/guidedis.htm


*Two great sites for Autism information: http://www.autismspeaks.org (video glossary with examples of indicators) and http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/ActEarly/

*Aimed at parents of children birth to age 3 on three keys to do daily: http://lovetalkplay.org/about/


* Washington state resources for families: http://www.parenthelp123.org/ 


Chapter Four: The Development of Preschoolers (3-5 Years) & Young School Agers (5-6 years)

*After-school care report and information: http://childcare.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=childcare&cdn=parenting&tm=32&f=10&su=p504.6.342.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.afterschoolalliance.org/AA3PM.cfm


*Information on the USDA food pyramid and links to nutrition info and resources:



*An article on recent sleep research and children: http://room19pv.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/nurture-shock-sleep-deprivation.pdf


*Video examples of play types: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSUdGqK6ohM


*Piaget’s pre-operational and concrete operations stage conservation tests: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B65EJ6gMmA4


*NAEYC guidelines on developmentally appropriate practices for teaching reading and writing: http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PSREAD98.PDF


*The classic “marshmallow experiment” shows how preschoolers do with self-control and is in many versions, including: http://www.ignitermedia.com/mini-movies/1350/The-Marshmallow-Test  or

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EjJsPylEOY or see a lecture along with the test at: http://www.ted.com/talks/joachim_de_posada_says_don_t_eat_the_marshmallow_yet.html


*Emotional intelligence info and resources: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq5_raising_emotional_intelligence.htm


*Test your own EQ online with one of these- http://www.mhhe.com/socscience/education/sadker/Sadker_EIQQ/sadker_eiqq.htm or http://psychology.about.com/library/quiz/bl_eq_quiz.htm

 or http://www.dreamsintoaction.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/emotionalintelligencequiz1.pdf


*Emotional parenting styles and coaching at Gottman’s website: http://www.talaris.org/


*Articles about moral development in early and mid childhood: http://www.livestrong.com/article/170720-how-parents-can-help-moral-development-in-children/


*More info on moral development theories: http://tigger.uic.edu/~lnucci/MoralEd/overview.html


*Peer rejection info: http://www.nncc.org/guidance/dc31_wo.friends2.html

and tips for teachers on helping rejected children: http://www.ldonline.org/article/6170/


* Brief video on discipline at: http://www.brainrules.net/brain-rules-for-baby-moral-baby


*Read more about cultural and ethnic variations in parenting styles: http://family.jrank.org/pages/1253/Parenting-Styles-Cultural-Ethnic-Variations-in-Parenting-Styles.html#ixzz2GqLNA7xT


* Child abuse and neglect video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVfaKD37SQk


*Educational Resources Information Center. ERIC provides unlimited access to bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials: http://www.eric.ed.gov/ 


“Assessing Children for the Presence of a Disability”: http://nichcy.org/wp-content/uploads/docs/nd23.pdf


* Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov 

* Connections to teacher resources and NOVA videos: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/teachers/ 

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 9/2/14 JN