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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 1, Lesson 2


This lesson presents some of the major theories of child growth and development. Each theory describes a unique perspective of how children develop, behave, and learn. Child development theories can guide Infant Toddler Developmental Specialists (ITDS) in their daily interaction with children.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Define theories of child development and identify how they can be useful in working with young children and their families
  • Define bioecological systems
  • Identify six major developmental theories and an identifying characteristic of each theory
  • Describe Erik Erikson's theory on trust and autonomy in social/emotional development during infancy and toddlerhood
  • Identify key Piagetian concepts in relation to the Sensorimotor Stage in his Cognitive-Developmental Theory
  • Describe the theory of human development that best reflects your own beliefs about children
  • Explain how knowledge of developmental theories can guide you in your interactions with children


The following resources are necessary for the completion of this lesson. Learners may wish to access and print a hard copy of the resources prior to beginning the lesson and for future reference. Some resource documents can be found in the Resource Bank. Others are available online.

Key Words

Definitions of key words are found in the glossary.

  • Autonomy
  • Scaffolding
  • Zone of Proximal Development


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