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Early childhood experiences have a significant impact on brain development, influencing learning and behavior into adult years. Learn about child development with online courses delivered through edX.

What is child development?

Child development is the process in which children acquire knowledge, behaviors, and skills through their childhood experiences. The study of child development examines change in specific skill sets, including motor and physical skills, cognitive abilities, social and emotional skills, communication skills, and adaptive abilities.

Behavior is monitored through multiple stages. Each stage includes developmental milestones, which are tracked closely to determine what factors influence development. Through these observations, researchers can better understand how variables such as child care, parenting traits, poverty, and early childhood education can help or hinder a child. This research can be used to help children overcome developmental hurdles and inform childhood education and mental health treatment.

Scientific research is critical to the study of child development, which may attract professionals with those backgrounds. However, many different factors play a role in child development. Individuals in education, social work, and even law can benefit from knowledge about this field.

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Why is child development important?

Children were generally understood to be small adults until researchers began to study and better understand how children process the world around them. Today, organizations such as the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI), World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP), and Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) are using that knowledge to ensure that children experience the optimal developmental years. Research on child development can be applied in clinical, educational, and social settings to position all children to succeed and create thriving communities for generations to come. 

Child development courses and certifications

Child development relies on many disciplines. Child psychology, social work, and early childhood education are just some of the disciplines that learners who want to promote social-emotional development of children can pursue. Learners may also need additional credentials and certifications for careers in child development. Professionals in these fields will need strong soft skills, particularly in critical thinking, research, analysis, and communication. Because work requires direct interaction with children, having a high level of emotional intelligence and a warm disposition can be beneficial.

Careers in child development

From social worker to child development specialist, there are many different ways to make a difference in the world of child development. A career in the field offers an opportunity to shape young minds and make a lasting impact on society. Embark on an educational journey that can lead to a fulfilling career with edX.

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