The Psychology of Early Childhood

The Psychology of Early Childhood

The Psychology of Early Childhood

The Psychology of Early Childhood


For several years I have taught a course on the psychology of early childhood to college students planning professional work as home economics teachers, nursery school or kindergarten teachers, social welfare workers, clinical psychologists, pediatricians, or nurses. These students are interested in child psychology as a basic science and as a guide to action. This book is written for them.

Most of these students when presented with a generalization about the behavior of young children want to know on what that generalization is based. All generalizations in this book are therefore discussed in terms of the research from which they were derived. With factual evidence of this sort the reader is given an opportunity to develop his own judgment rather than simply accepting that of the writer.

Most students' interest in child psychology is practical as well as scientific. They want to become more discerning and more effective in their contacts with specific children. I have therefore drawn liberally from my own nursery school experience and have used many incidents in this book to suggest concrete practical applications of research findings. These, along with a suggested list of films and the student observations that normally accompany a course in child psychology, should help to relate research findings to childrens' everyday behavior.

To assist students in focussing their reading on the generalizations we can now make about child behavior, on the research findings from which the generalizations are derived, and on the application of these findings and generalizations, I have used a device found helpful in teaching. Introductory questions are posed at the beginning of each chapter to stimulate selective interest.

In preparing this book I have had help from many persons, among them the students and young children whom I have taught and learned from. I have also been helped by the comments and criticisms of colleagues in the University of California who read one or more chapters of the original manuscript. To Dr. Aloha H. Alava, Mrs. Wilma Buckman, Dr. Dorothy H. Eichorn, Dr. Marjorie P. Honzik, Professor Harold E. Jones, Dr. John P. McKee, Professor Jean W. Macfarlane, Dr. Ian W. Monie, Professor Agnes Fay Morgan, Dr. Samuel R. Pinneau, Professor Leo J. Postman, and Professor Theodore R. Sarbin, my grateful appreciation for this help.

To Professor David Krech who read and edited the entire manuscript I am specially indebted both for his critical judgment and his unfailing encouragement.

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