Development and Learning: Birth to 14


Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters

Taught by

literacy education
literacy acquisition, theories of learning and brain development, research and assessment

This two-quarter program is designed for those interested in exploring the many factors that affect how people become who they are. It is for students who wish to understand more about development and learning, including those who wish to pursue a career in teaching. Participants will explore neurological, social, cognitive, linguistic, and literacy development in children from birth to 14 years of age. They will also examine the implications of “neurotypical” and “neurodiverse” development for individuals, their parents, and their teachers.  Neurotypical individuals are those whose development falls within current norms specified by society, psychologists, and medical doctors; neurodiverse individuals are those whose development does not conform to stated norms but who exhibit their own unique strengths, gifts, and challenges.

Winter quarter, guiding questions include: (i) What factors shape human development?  (ii) How does language develop and affect the learning process? (iii) What are the similarities, differences, and influences of first and second language on development? (iv) What roles do societal norms and expectations play in the expression of development in children’s lives?

Spring quarter, guiding questions include: (i) How are neurotypical and neurodiverse individuals alike and different? (ii) How does public schooling impact development of children who are neurotypical and neurodiverse, particularly in the area of literacy acquisition? (iii) How might we advocate for diverse learners? (iv) How is oral language acquisition related to literacy acquisition and how do we evaluate reading development in children?

By the conclusion of this two-quarter program, students will be able to: explain how neuro-typical and neuro-diverse humans develop based on a variety of theoretical perspectives and on research about the functions and development of the brain; compare, contrast, and critique a minimum of three theories about some aspect of human development; describe the strengths and challenges of neurodiverse development; explain the relationships of language development, literacy acquisition, and learning; document and assess stages of language development; provide research-based suggestions of how to support the acquisition of English for students who are second language learners; assess children’s understanding of and approaches to making sense of printed text; successfully complete group and individual research projects and use current web-based technologies to support program presentations.

Program activities include interactive lectures and workshops, seminars, weekly writing, individual and small group investigations and presentations, and final written assessments.  All class work will be submitted electronically.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

education, psychology and social services.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online

More information about online learning.


Date Revision
February 12th, 2015 Students joining the program spring quarter will need to arrange an internship and complete some background reading.
December 1st, 2014 Winter fee removed.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Winter); 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 20128

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Accepting New Students


Students will need to arrange an 8-credit in-program internship in community programs related to literacy or to working with people with special needs.  Students are strongly recommended to have read a book about learning and the brain as foundation to spring quarter studies.  Possible titles include The Art of Changing the Brain (Zull), Teaching with the Brain in Mind (Jensen), Who's Who of the Brain (Nunn).  Contact faculty for more information.

Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 30079

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