University & Degrees

Child, developmental and educational psychology explained

4 mins
March 24, 2022
Are you fascinated by how we create and form relationships? How we learn languages? Or how our childhood can have such a huge impact on who we turn out to be? Well, chances are either child, developmental or educational psychology will appeal to you. In this article, we’re going to explore the psychologies that look at how we learn and develop into who we are today and who we will become.

What is child psychology?

Child psychology looks at how humans develop throughout childhood; it usually explores infancy, childhood and adolescence. However, the primary focus of child psychology is on the earlier years of infancy. It represents a critical branch of psychology, and it is one of the most frequently studied speciality areas in the larger field of psychology. Child psychology is a specific branch of developmental psychology that deals with children's physical development and mental, emotional and social development.

What does a child psychologist do?

Children are constantly growing and developing; this means child psychology is very different to adult psychology. Child psychologists play an important role by helping children with behavioural and developmental issues and working with parents to improve their understanding of their child's needs. Responsibilities vary between professional settings, but typical duties include:

  • Research into child and adolescent behaviour
  • Advising parents on their child's development and behaviour
  • Performing assessments and tests for diagnostic purposes
  • Supporting and treating children with behavioural problems
  • Working directly with other healthcare professionals, such as family doctors and specialists
  • Identifying and addressing communication and language issues
  • Addressing issues with moral development
  • Helping boost confidence and self-esteem in children

What is developmental psychology?

Developmental psychology studies growth, change and consistency through the lifespan; it seeks to understand how thinking, feeling and behaviour change throughout a person’s life. Developmental psychology is one of the most far reaching fields of psychology, as it looks at physical, cognitive, social, intellectual, personality and emotional growth across whole lives.

What does a developmental psychologist do?

As a developmental psychologist, you’ll: 

  • Evaluate different populations to identify how developmental disabilities come to be
  • Seek to understand how our personality changes throughout or life
  • Study and research developmental disabilities and treatments
  • Find ways to help populations remain independent
  • Research early years through to teenage development
  • Study treatments for developmental issues

What is educational psychology?

Educational psychologists support children and young people who have a range of emotional and social issues and/or learning difficulties. They apply psychological theory and research to promote young people's emotional and social well-being.

Educational psychologists carry out observations, questionnaires, interviews and assessments to identify needs and offer appropriate interventions to overcome any issues; solutions can include learning programmes, behaviour management strategies, relaxation techniques or working with teachers and parents.

As an educational psychologist, you might also provide in-service training for other educational professionals so they are better equipped to help students that may be struggling. Another aspect of the job is research and advising on educational provisions and policies.

What does an educational psychologist do? 

As an educational psychologist, you'll:

  • assess a child's learning style and emotional needs
  • design, develop and support behaviour management programmes
  • consult with teams to advise on the best approaches and support to aid in learning and development
  • support parents and educational professionals involved with the education of children and young people
  • develop effective interventions to promote psychological wellbeing, social, emotional and behavioural development, and raise educational standards.

How do I get psychology work experience?

We hope this article has been useful and you’re one step further to understanding whether you’re interested in a career in psychology. It’s a really competitive field, so a great way to make yourself stand out is to get some psychology work experience. In our virtual programme, you’ll get to learn more about the routes into psychology and different subspecialties, plus it will look great on your CV! So what are you waiting for?

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