Designed for teachers in-service and those in related in-service and preparation programs such as social services and special education, Understanding Child Development gives a practical understanding of the young child from the prenatal period through age eight. It introduces the unique qualities of the young child as distinguished from older children and demonstrates developmentally appropriate instructional practice with young children in ways that correspond with their developmental level and social and cultural environment. Current issues relating to the child's development are discussed, including development of early stages of reading, the role of technology in children's lives, the importance of brain development, and the factors relevant to children with special needs. These topics connect the book's content directly to problems adults will face when working with young children. Each section of the book contains critical social and cultural factors related to young children's development, with much new information added in these areas, including socio-cultural aspects of family, school, and community, and material on learning theories and diverse cultures. Up-to-date critical developmental research and theory support the book.