Diploma in Child Psychology (OCN)
At the end of the course students will develop:
• an awareness of psychological approaches to the understanding of child development
• a recognition of the application of developmental psychology to certain aspects of child care and education
• an awareness of different methodological approaches to psychological investigation
• a range of skills in using psychological methods
This programme is designed for people who wish to gain an understanding of Child Psychology and the development of children. No prior knowledge is required
The course is designed for study by distance learning at work or at home. Students receive course manual, assignments and studyguide plus tutor support.
Successful students will receive an OCN Diploma. The syllabus follows that of GCSE in Child Psychology but in order to obtain that award, students will need to make arrangements to sit the exam at a registered exams centre.
Assessment takes the form of a series of tutor marked assignments plus one extended essay
There are no entry requirements
The programme takes place over a timescale to suit the student. Once registered, tutor support is available for up to one year or until completion whichever is the soonest.
The programme is home or work-based enabling students to complete the course without having to attend scheduled college teaching sessions.
Throughout the course, students will receive tutor support by telephone and by post.
Module One: Major Developmental Issues
Unit One: The First Year of Life
Infant reflexes; Social development during the first year of life including the social smile and onset of fear of strangers.
Unit Two: The Formation of Attachments
Imprinting; Attachment (Bowlby) including cross-cultural studies; Harlow and surrogate mothers; Relevance of animal studies in child development.
Unit Three: Consequences of Breakdowns in Attachments
Maternal deprivation; Implications of theories of attachment and maternal deprivation when placing children with surrogates.
Unit Four: The Home, Family and School
Group vs family care and studies of effects of maternal employment and father absent families; Importance of peers and siblings.
Unit Five: Basic Principles of Research Methods
Nature and purpose of research, what is an experiment, supporting and refuting hypotheses, independent and dependent variables, control of variables, standardised instructions and procedures, methods of sampling, design of investigations.
Unit Six: The Development of Visual Perception
Introduction to the nature/nurture debate on visual perception; Fantz – form perception; Gibson and Walk – depth perception; how the physiology of the human visual system helps us judge depth and distance; Bower – size constancy; animal experiments on early sensory deprivation.
Tutor-marked Assignment A
Unit Seven: The Development of Language and Communication
Development of non-verbal communication in humans, gestures etc; comparisons with non-human primates; outline of language development in humans; including naturalistic observational in humans; including naturalistic observational studies and criticisms of these; Innate and reinforcement theories.
Unit Eight: Intelligence and Intelligence Testing
Definitions of intelligence; mental age and IQ; Tests of intelligence; Advantages and disadvantages of IQ testing.
Unit Nine: The Nature/Nurture Debate in the Study of Intelligence
Twins studies; stability of IQ; Are early experiences decisive for later development?
Unit Ten: Data Collection and Interpretation
Tables and histograms, correlation and scattergrams; Mean; Range; Drawing conclusions from data.
Module Two: The Child as an Individual
Unit Eleven: How Children Think
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development; including studies of egocentrism and criticisms of his work.
Tutor-marked Assignment B
Unit Twelve: Learning Theory – How Behaviour is Acquired
Learning and conditioning – classical conditioning and operant conditioning; including explanations of extinction, discrimination and generalisation; positive and negative reinforcement; Social Learning Theory and criticisms.
Unit Thirteen: Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory – An Alternative Approach
Personality structure, 5 stage theory, criticisms.
Unit Fourteen: Moral Development
Definition in psychological terms; investigation of moral behaviour, moral feelings and moral judgement.
Unit Fifteen: The Development of Gender Roles
Sex-typing; Gender identity; Biological, social and cultural theories.
Unit Sixteen: Aggression in Children
Biological basis of aggression; Psychological theory and aggression; Aggression as a learned response;
Imitation of aggression; viewing violence; Punishment for aggression; sex differences in aggression.
Unit Seventeen: Methods Used in Child Development Research
Observational, Survey, Correlational, Experimental – advantages and disadvantages.
Tutor-marked Assignment C
Unit Eighteen: Play
The importance of play to learning;
Piaget’s theory of play; forms of play;
Relevance of psychological theories to pre-school education;
Play and learning in nursery schools; Play therapy.
Unit Nineteen: Learning in School
Programmed learning and its relationship to learning theory – advantages and disadvantages; Discovery learning and its effectiveness.
Unit Twenty: Behaviour Modification
Explanation and examples; Relationship to learning theory; Points systems, Advantages and disadvantages.
Tutor-marked Assignment D: Extended Essay