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PSYC 356 Early Childhood Development within a Social/Cultural and Historical Context

This course explores the social, cultural, and historical contexts which impact child development. Students learn how children have been perceived during historical periods as well as the roles that children play in a variety of cultures. Emphasis is on racism, classism, sexism, ethnocentrism, ableism and heterosexism. Strategies for reducing the negative impact on children's lives and promoting healthy development of children within the social-political context are explored. The roles of parents, family and the community are considered as they relate to current policies affecting the needs of young children.


Learning outcomes


  • Identify the historical, philosophical, and social foundations of early childhood education, including various legacies and impacts of racism in the United States, and how these influence current thought and practice.
  • Describe various characteristics of racism including how racism is related to but also differs from prejudice, stereotyping, intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination.
  • Understand individual differences in young children's physical, motor, cognitive, language, social, and emotional development and approach to learning based on the context of their family, race, culture, and society.
  • Identify the relationships among culture, race, language and thought and the function of the home language in the development of the child.
  • Demonstrate how to promote children's understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of human differences due to social, cultural, race, physical, or developmental factors.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to differences in family structures, race, and cultural backgrounds and respect families choices and goals for their children.
  • Articulate various personal responses and responsibilities to address racism and how anti-racism is resistant to and works against thoughts and/or acts of racial superiority and discrimination.
  • Identify the current issues, trends, and public policies affecting children, families, and programs for young children and the early childhood profession.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.

Spring 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 Early Childhood Development within a Social/Cultural and Historical Context Nitardy, Charlotte M Books for PSYC-356-50 Spring 2024 Course details for PSYC-356-50 Spring 2024

Fall 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
01 Early Childhood Development within a Social/Cultural and Historical Context Nelson, Bryan G Books for PSYC-356-01 Fall 2024 Course details for PSYC-356-01 Fall 2024