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UC Berkeley


Child Development and Education

Field Description

How do children develop the knowledge, skills, and personality characteristics that allow them to become competent adults? How do differences among children emerge? How do culture, social context, and history condition these outcomes? The study of child development has become interdisciplinary in nature: psychologists conduct experiments to understand how children acquire basic conceptual categories and competencies; anthropologists write ethnographies that underscore the diverse ways in which childhood is experienced and understood across the world; historians undertake archival research to show how almost every aspect of childhood has changed over time; sociologists study the unequal worlds children experience today; political scientists and public policy analysts develop statistical tools to understand cross-sectional variation in the types and quality of early childhood education and its impact on life chances; educational specialists study the impact of early education and technology on learning outcomes, and more.

These are just some of the many dimensions of the Research Field on Child Development and Education. Students choosing to work in this area ask interdisciplinary questions such as: What is the impact of early childhood education on life-earning power?  How do cognitive and emotional developments reinforce each other? What are the most important factors explaining difference in learning outcomes, and what policy recommendations can be made to address them?

The ISF Research Field in Childhood Development and Education helps orient students to a multidisciplinary approach to these problems and questions.  Students work with a variety of methods — experiments, archival research, statistical analysis, and ethnography — and a variety of sources.  Courses are drawn from the School of Education, Gender and Women’s Studies, Psychology, Anthropology, and specific area studies programs, including Asian American, Chicano, and African-American Studies.

Recent ISF Senior Theses

  • Teaching them to Learn: A Comparative Media Analysis of Children’s Educational Programs in Korea and America
  • Bitter Sweet: Child-Trafficking and Labor in the Cocoa Industry in Côte d’Ivoire
  • Forgotten Children: A Study of the Educational Outcomes of Mexican Migrant Children in the United States
  • The Montessori Method: Pedagogy of the Past or a Vision of the Future?
  • Child-Directed Advertising as a Public Policy Issue: A Cross-National Analysis of Regulatory Policy Options Aimed at Mitigating the Negative Impact of Food Advertising to Children
  • Returns on Educations? The Story of how Educations Affects Life-Course Earnings for Indigenous People in Honduras
  • Children of Incarcerated Parents: Do Current Intervention and Educational Programs Work?
  • Democratic Education at U.C. Berkeley: Does Education Work as a Vehicle for Social Change?
  • Art and Human Development: Can Aesthetic Experiences Help Treat Children with Disabilities?
  • The Least Restrictive Environment in Autism Education: A Legal and Ethnographic Analysis

Relevant UC Berkeley Courses

  • Gender and Women’s Studies 134: Gender and the Politics of Childhood
  • Education 114: Early Development and Education
  • Education 190: Critical Studies in Education
  • Psychology 122: Introduction to Human Learning and Memory
  • Psychology 140: Developmental Psychology
  • Sociology 111AC: Sociology of the Family
  • African American Studies C133: Race, Identity, and Culture in Urban Schools
  • Anthropology 149: Psychological Anthropology
  • Asian American Studies 146: Asian Americans and Education
  • Chicano Studies 172: Chicanos and the Education System

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Alanen, Leena and Berry Mayall, eds. 2001. Conceptualising Child-Adult Relations. London: Routledge.

Ambert, Anne Marie. 1992. Effects Of Children on Parents. New York: Routledge.

Aries, Philippe. 1965. Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life. New York: Vintage.

Ausdale, Debra Van and Joe K. Feagin. 1996. “Using Racial and Ethnic Concepts: The Critical Case of Very Young Children.” 61(5):779–93.

Belle, Deborah, ed. 1989. Children’s Social Networks and Social Supports. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Blyth, D. A. and N. Leffert. 1995. “Communities as Contexts for Adolescent Development.” Journal of Adolescent Research(10):64–87.

Brannen, Julia and Margaret O’Brien, eds. 1996. Children in Families: Research and Policy. London: Falmer Press.

Brayfield, April, Sharon Gennis Deich, and Sandra L. Hofferth. 1993. Caring for Children in Low-Income Families: A Substudy of the Natioinal Child Care Survey, 1990. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.

Britto, Pia Rebello, Patrice L. Engle, and Charles M. Super, eds. 2013. Handbook of Early Childhood Development Research and Its Impact on Global Policy. New York: Oxford University Press.

Brody, Gene H. 1998. “Sibling Relationship Quality: Its Causes and Consequences.” Annual Review of Psychology (49):1–24.

Chin, Elizabeth. 1999. “Ethnically Correct Dolls: Toying with the Race Industry.” American Anthropologist 101(2):305–21.

Chisholm, Lynne, ed. 1990. Childhood, Youth And Social Change: A Comparative Perspective. London and New York: Routledge.

Chudacoff, Howard P. 1992. How Old Are You? Age Consciousness in American Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Cook, Daniel Thomas, ed. 2002. Symbolic Childhood. New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers.

Corsaro, William A. 2014. The Sociology of Childhood. Fourth Edition edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Crosnoe, Robert. 2000. “Friendships in Childhood and Adolescence: The Life Course and New Directions.” Social Psychology Quarterly 63(4):377–91.

Cross, Gary. 1997. Kids’ Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Cunningham, Hugh. 2014. Children and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500. 2 edition. New York: Routledge.

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DelCampo, Diana S. and Robert L. DelCampo. 2003. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Childhood and Society. 5th ed. Guilford, CT: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.

Dornbusch, Sanford. 1989. “The Sociology of Adolescence.” Annual Review of Sociology 15:233–59.

Eder, Donna. 1995. School Talk: Gender and Adolescent Culture. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.

Elder Jr., Glen H. 1998. “The Life Course as Developmental Theory.” Child Development 69(1):1–12.

Elkin, Fredrick and Gerald Handel. 1989. The Child and Society: The Process of Socialization. New York: McGraw Hill.

England, Kim, ed. 1996. Who Will Mind the Baby? Geographies of Child Care and Working Mothers. London: Routledge.

Fass, Paula and Mary Mason, eds. 2000. Childhood in America. New York: NYU Press.

Ferguson, Ann Arnett. 2001. Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity. Reprint edition. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Friedman, W. J. 2000. “The Development of Children’s Knowledge of the Times of Future Events.” Child Development71(4):913–32.

Garbarino, James. 1992. Children and Families in the Social Environment. 2nd ed. New York: Aldine Transaction.

Garfinkel, Irwin, Jennifer L. Hochschild, and Sara S. McLanahan, eds. 1996. Social Policies for Children. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.

Gillis, John R. 1997. A World of Their Own Making: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values. New edition edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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Gopnik, Alison. 2010. The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life. Reprint edition. New York: Picador.

Gopnik, Alison and Andrew N. Meltzoff. 2000. The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind. Reprint edition. New York: William Morrow Paperbacks.

Goswami, Usha, ed. 2013. The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive Development. 2 edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Halfon, Neal and Miles Hochstein. 2002. “Life Course Health Development: An Integrated Framework for Developing Health, Policy, and Research.” The Milbank Quarterly 80(3):433–79.

Handel, Gerald, ed. 1988. Childhood Socialization. 1 edition. New York: Aldine Transaction.

Hays, Sharon. 1997. “The Ideology of Intensive Mothering: A Cultural Analysis of the Bestselling ‘Gurus’ of Appropriate Childrearing.” Pp. 286–315 in From Sociology to Cultural Studies, edited by Elizabeth Long. Blackwell Publishers.

Hecht, Tobias. 1998. At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Heckman, James J. 2013. Giving Kids a Fair Chance. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.

Hernandez, Donald J. 1997. “Child Development and the Social Demography of Childhood.” Child Development 68(1):149–69.

Heywood, Colin. 2004. A History of Childhood: Children and Childhood in the West from Medieval to Modern Times. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Holloway, Sarah L. and Gill Valentine, eds. 2000. Children’s Geographies: Playing, Living, Learning. London and New York: Routledge.

Hovell, Mel et al. 1994. “Family Influences on Latino and Anglo Adolescents’ Sexual Behavior.” Journal of Marriage and Family56(4):973–86.

Igoa, Cristina. 1995. The Inner World of the Immigrant Child. 1st ed. Mahwah, NJ: Routledge.

James, Allison, Chris Jenks, and Alan Prout. 1998. Theorizing Childhood. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

James, Allison and Alan Prout, eds. 1990. “Constructing and Reconstructing Childhodd: Contemporary Issues in the Sociological Study of Childhood.” London: Falmer.

James, Allison and Alan Prout. 1995. “Hierarchy, Boundary and Agency: Toward a Theoretical Perspective on Childhood.” Sociologial Studies of Children (7):77–99.

Jenkins, Henry, ed. 1998. The Children’s Culture Reader. New York: New York University Press.

Jenks, Chris. 1982. The Sociology of Childhood: Essential Readings. London: Batsford Academic and Educational.

Jenks, Chris. 2015. Childhood. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Johansson, S. Ryan. 1987. “Centuries of Childhood/Centuries of Parenting: Philippe Aries and the Modernization of Privileged Infancy.” Journal of Family History (12):343–65.

Jones, Rachel K. and April Brayfield. 1997. “Life’s Greatest Joy?: European Atittudes Toward the Centrality of Children.” Social Forces 75(4):1239–70.

Karmiloff-Smith, A. 1998. “Development Itself Is the Key to Understanding Developmental Disorders.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 2(10):389–98.

Kenny, Lorraine Delia. 2000. Daughters of Suburbia. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Kline, Stephen and Greig de Peuter. 2002. “Ghosts in the Machine: Postmodern Childhood, Video Gaming, and Advertising.” Pp. 255–78 in Symbolic Childhood, edited by Daniel Cook. New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers.

Kohn, Melvin. n.d. “The Effects of Social Class on Parental Values and Practices.” Pp. 45–68 in The American Family: Dying or Developing?, edited by D. Reiss and H. Hoffman. New York: Plenum Press.

Kundanis, Rose. 1996. “Baby Riots and Eight-Hour Orphans: A Comparison of the Images of Child Care in British and U.S. Popular Magazines During World War II.” Women’s Studies International Forum 19(3):239–51.

Lamb, Michael E., Kathleen J. Stemberg, Carl-Philip Hwang, and Anders G. Broberg, eds. 1992. Child Care in Context. Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Lareau, Annette. 2011. Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life. Second Edition, With an Update a Decade Later. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Loewenstein, J. and D. Gentner. 2005. “Relational Language and the Development of Relational Mapping.” Cognitive Psychology 50(4):315–53.

Lynott, P. P. and B. J. Logue. 1993. “The ‘Hurried Child’: The Myth of the Lost Childhood in Contemporary American Society.” Sociological Forum (8):471–91.

McCartney, Kathleen and Deborah Phillips, eds. 2008. Blackwell Handbook of Early Childhood Development. 1 edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Mead, Margaret and Martha Wolfenstein, eds. 1955. Childhood in Contemporary Cultures. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Minow, Martha. 1986. “Rights for the Next Generation: A Feminist Approach to Children’s Rights.” Harvard Women’s Law Journal 9:1–24.

Modell, John. 2000. “How May Children’s Development Be Seen Historically?” Childhood 7(1):81–106.

Montgomery, Heather, Rachel Burr, and Martin Woodhead, eds. 2003. Changing Childhoods: Local and Global. Chichester, UK and New York: Wiley.

Mukerji, Chandra. 1997. “Monsters and Muppets: The History of Childhood and Techniques of Cultural Analysis.” Pp. 155–84 in From Sociology to Cultural Studies, edited by Elizabeth Long. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.

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Pollock, Linda A. 1983. Forgotten Children: Parent-Child Relations from 1500 to 1900. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Postman, Neil. 1994. The Disappearance of Childhood. New York: Vintage Books.

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Saklofske, Donald H., Vicki L. Schwean, and Cecil R. Reynolds, eds. 2013. The Oxford Handbook of Child Psychological Assessment. 1 edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Scheper-Hughes, Nancy and Carolyn F. Sargent, eds. 1999. Small Wars: The Cultural Politics of Childhood. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Schorr, Lisbeth and Daniel Schorr. 1989. Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage. New York: Anchor.

Seiter, Ellen. 1995. Sold Separately: Children and Parents in Consumer Culture. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Shayer, M. 2003. “Not Just Piaget; Not Just Vygotsky, and Certainly Not Vygotsky as Alternative to Piaget.” Learning and Instruction 13(5):465–85.

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Smith, L. B. 1999. “Do Infants Possess Innate Knowledge Structures? The Con Side.” Developmental Science 2(2):133–44.

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Steinberg, Shirley R., ed. 2011. Kinderculture: The Corporate Construction of Childhood. Third Edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Stephens, Sharon, ed. 1995. Children and the Politics of Culture. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

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