Child Development

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Child Development?

Child development is a process that every child goes through from birth until maturity. This process involves learning and mastering skills from crawling, rolling, and sitting to walking and talking.

Child development stages or developmental milestones are when children learn these skills during common age stages and predictable periods. Child development is usually focused on when children develop skills in 5 main areas of development. Healthy Child Development is very important especially in the early years of a child’s life. The social, emotional, and educational needs of a child all need to be met, and a child should feel saved and loved. Playing, singing, reading, and talking are all very important as well as proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep.

The skills to nurture and take care of little children may not come as naturally to everyone but if this is something you enjoy you can learn to develop these skills and how to apply them the proper way.

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Child Development – The study of the theories and practices of child development and learning within Early Childhood Care and Education settings.
  • Child Development & Early Childhood Education & Play – The study of child development and early childhood education and play.
  • Early Childhood Care-Child Development – The study of child development for early childhood care environments.
  • Advanced Diploma in Child Development – An advanced course in child development for further study.
  • Certificate in Teaching Assistant: Child and Young Individual Development – The study of child development as a teaching assistant or support in the classroom.
  • Diploma In Child & Development Psychology – The study of the psychology of growth, development, and change in children.
  • Understanding Children’s Development and Learning – The study of children’s development and learning in cultural, educational, and social contexts.

Studying Child Development in college

Child Development courses are for those who have a professional interest in Child Development and growth. Courses vary in length depending on the type of courses taken, courses can last anywhere from 8-12 weeks to full 3-4 year programs.

Most courses will have a final examination and will involve some work placement hours. It is highly recommended that you have basic computer skills for your assignments and other project work. Classes are available online or in a classroom and there are part-time, full-time, and night courses available in a wide range of child development fields.

Career options

After completing a course in Child Development you will have the skills and knowledge to work in a variety of sectors with a range of employers such as nurseries and pre-schools, schools, local authorities, and healthcare.

Child development careers feature many different opportunities to fit varied skills and interests. Inquisitive, analytical individuals often thrive in these positions, as they allow for continued learning and opportunities to see children grow over time.

Professionals who work in direct care or education settings should enjoy spending time with infants, children, and teenagers. They should also have an appreciation for psychology and the social sciences, as many child development methodologies and frameworks are based on theories from these sectors.

Related jobs include:

  • Early Years teacher
  • Education consultant
  • Family support worker
  • Health play specialist
  • Learning mentor
  • Play therapist
  • Primary school teacher
  • Special educational needs coordinator
  • Special educational needs teacher
  • Social worker
  • Teaching assistant
  • Youth worker
  • Child psychotherapist
  • Children’s nurse
  • Community development worker
  • Counselor
  • Educational psychologist
  • Speech and language therapist

Further study

After completing a course in Child Development you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field or research.

Early childhood studies graduates that go on to further study tend to take courses that lead to professional status. Many graduates go on to work as primary or secondary school, early years or special education needs teachers.

Other popular professional courses include nursing and postgraduate courses in social work. An interest in psychology or healthcare could lead you to take a further course in nursing or psychology. You may be interested to study further in Social Work, Counselling, or Therapy.


Are there any particular qualities you need to pursue a career in Child Development?

Written and oral communication is very important for working with children as you may be in a position to teach children letters and how to read and how to speak and form words.

The ability to work as part of the team is vital when working with children in a child care environment as you may work alongside many other adults throughout your career and you will need to share information and work together. 

Organizational and time management skills are important to know how to prioritize tasks and stick to schedules in some instances.

Where can I study Child Development?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· A child’s brain has its most dramatic growth period from birth until the age of 5. 

· Playtime is a very powerful and necessary learning tool for youngsters. Playing is critical to a child making social connections, expanding and using their imagination, and developing language and motor skills.

· The idea of right and wrong are two concepts that a child does not understand, when under the age of one. Punishing a young one who doesn’t understand these concepts is pointless.

· Although child development follows certain patterns, each child develops at their own pace. A child’s development may be influenced by genetics, environmental factors, and even nutrition.

· Language is the most difficult thing a child must learn in their early development. It is also the most common skill that children fall behind on in early development.

Mariza Halliday

Advanced Childcare Courses


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