Introduction to Human Growth and Development

This course focuses on human growth and development over the lifespan, as well as careers that help people deal with various physical, intellectual, and socioemotional issues, such as physicians, nurses, nutritionists, substance abuse counselors, clergy, teachers, career counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. This course is important because it gives the student a background in human growth and development from before birth, through childhood, into adulthood, and through death and grief. It gives the student perspective and highlights where people in the caring professions are most needed. Students who take this course will come away with a broad understanding of all the careers that help people from birth to death. They will understand how people in the helping professions interact with each other and how continued growth in this sector can give them flexibility, good pay, and high job satisfaction.

  • Starting Strong: Introduction to a Lifelong Journey: This unit focuses on introducing human growth and development as a journey throughout the lifespan, exploring parallel physical, cognitive and socio-emotional/personality domains through various chronological ages. It examines developmental milestones through the lenses and perspectives of developmental theorists Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Sigmund Freud, Lev Vygotsky and their respective theories.
  • Childhood: Early, Middle, and Late: This unit focuses on the milestones of normal physical growth, cognitive, socio-emotional, and personality development throughout the main stages of childhood, from toddlerhood through preschool and middle school, to the edges of adolescence. It discusses the psychosocial task of toddlers as outlined by Erik Erikson, the stage of cognitive development for the toddler as presented by Jean Piaget and described physical growth and language development throughout childhood.
  • Adolescence: This unit focuses on the tremendous physical and physiological changes experienced during the adolescent years (12-18) and the transitional challenges of not being a child but not being fully grown either. It discusses the physical changes that trigger puberty and the development of self-concept, self-esteem, and identity during adolescence, as well as the psychosocial tasks faced in adolescence as described by Erik Erikson. It introduces moral development during adolescence according to Lawrence Kohlberg and covers the topics of dating, sex, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, parenting styles, eating disorders, drug and alcohol use, and depression.
  • Adulthood: You Have Arrived: This unit focused on the phases of growth and development experienced during the adult years, including leaving home to create one’s own life, career, and family. We described the physiological changes during early adulthood, socioemotional development during this phase, and the financial challenges of being an independent young adult. We also explored midlife, including what is traditionally called the midlife crisis, psychosocial tasks in middle adulthood, changes in sexuality, rearing children, the "Sandwich Generation," finances, and retirement.
  • Finishing Strong: Ending the Lifelong Journey: This unit focuses on understanding the tasks and challenges of the last years of life, how to accept the limits of our aging bodies, still finding ways to remain competent and useful, and coping with and accepting loss. Specifically, it reviews end-of-life decision-making, senior relationships, dementia, and the psychosocial tasks associated with this stage. Lastly, it talks about the dying process, cultural aspects of death, signs of approaching death, and grieving.

State: National
Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
Category: Human Services
Course Length: Semester