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Developmental Theory and CYC Practice with Children

Course Code: CYCC 3340
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Child and Youth Care
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course focuses on developmental theory and clinical application with children. The content examines the history of eight contemporary theories and relevant implications in practice with children and their families. The context of the ecological model is used as a unifying construct for considering all work with children and families in community settings.

Course Content

 The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • An understanding of the dominant theories of human growth and development of children is fundamental to professional child and youth care.
  • Child and youth care workers use theories of human growth and development in practice situations frequently. The ability to think critically about the theory they are using in a situation and the ability to apply more than one theory in a situation deepens the understanding of the child. Child and youth care workers may also be in situations where other professionals are applying developmental theory to practice. Being able to think critically about the theory being applied allows the child and youth care worker to participate in the discussion and offer alternate theories when required.
  • Human growth and development does not occur in a vacuum. Development is the result of the interaction between nature and nurture, genetics and the environment. An understanding of the ecological perspective is critical to effective child and youth care work.
  • Child and youth care workers are also developing human beings who will have their own perspectives on key developmental events in their own lives and in the lives of their siblings, peers and parents. As they develop their own understanding of significant developmental themes in their own lives, they will become clearer about the developmental growth and change of others.
  • Child and youth care workers write reports on the children with whom they work. These reports are read by other professionals and may be subpoenaed by the courts. It is critical that these reports be thoughtful and accurate and supports the best interests of the child. Similarly, child and youth care workers will participate in conferences on the children and youth. Effective, thoughtful, informed verbal communication is a significant professional skill.
  • Child and youth care practitioners work in teams, often several different teams, in the course of a work week. The ability to effectively participate in teams and discuss developmental issues in the lives of the children with whom they work, and to do so with professionals who may have different perspectives than those of the CYC practitioner, is a reality of professional life. Learning how to discuss ideas and remain focused on the best needs of the child is a challenge and a necessity.

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Group work
  • Student presentations
  • Audiovisual presentations
  • Other

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Written research assignments
  • Case evaluation
  • Tests
  • Group presentations. 

This is a graded course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Examine and apply prominent developmental theories to children, including:
    • educational theories
    • ethological theories
    • social learning theories
    • cognitive theories
    • humanistic theories
    • moral development theories
    • maturational theories
    • epigenetic theories
  2. Critically analyze the use of a theory in a practice situation with children
  3. Evaluate the ecological impact for client, family and community
    • describe the life of the child in the family, school, community and society
    • discuss sociological, political, cultural, religious and economic impacts on the development of children
  4. Evaluate her/his own individual role in child and youth development
    • reflect on and discuss verbally and in writing key personal developmental themes
    • discuss how individual personal developmental themes relate to work with children and youth
    • discuss themes of attachment, cognitive/psychosocial development, independence and the helping process
  5. Demonstrate effective communication skill, both written and verbal
  6. Demonstrate team work skills.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.