Psychology Students Study Childhood Development

By: Hannah Adkisson, Contributing Writer

For the 2017-2018 school year, psychology teacher Katie Patton is piloting a new classroom unit for her students. During this unit, students will be studying the process of childhood development from infancy to adulthood, learning how language develops over the course of the developmental process and developing a product that cognitively engages children of different ages.

Patton, a mother herself, wanted to educate her students on the importance of education from infancy. “I see the positive aspects of children reading so early on,” said Patton. “As a teacher, I also witness several students who struggle with reading or do not like to read at all. This activity allowed students to get back to the basics of reading and learning.” Patton plans on tying this unit into her classroom curriculum by highlighting how children’s brains process and absorb new information. Patton also believes if her students are able to understand this process, then they will better understand themselves and how their brain works.

One of the main focuses of this unit involved students working in groups to create children’s books. “The creation of the books was to help students learn how even the simplest of books (books about colors, animals, etc.) help develop the child cognitively on various levels,” said Patton. By having her students create these books, she hopes they will come to understand the importance of early childhood literacy.

When it came time for her students to develop their toy products, Patton brought in two of her sons, who are four years old and eight months old. “I wanted to expose the students to a younger child,” said Patton. “The eight-month-old allowed the students to really understand where the growth development of an infant is at eight months. As they designed and developed toys, I needed them to understand the limitations they should be aware of.”

In the future, Patton hopes her students will be able to publish their children books. She also wants her students to learn about the marketing process and how a seller must understand their buyers in order to sell a successful product. Overall, Patton tries to instill the following idea into her students: “There is psychology in all aspects of our lives, which we use to understand ourselves and others around us.”