Early Development: Chances and Risks
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-PSB3DH40E
Credits (ECTS)4
CategoryB3 (Third year bachelor)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Psychology;
dr. R. Beijers
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. R. Beijers
Other course modules lecturer
dr. R. Beijers
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2021
PER4  (11/04/2022 to 15/07/2022)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-

After completing this course the student will:

  1. Have knowledge and understanding of the effects of early experience on socio-emotional development, the (biological) processes underlying these effects, and the possibilities to prevent negative developmental outcomes by early caregiving and preventive interventions;
  2. Be able to critically analyze recent literature on the course subjects by reflecting on the literature, drawing his/her own conclusions, and commenting on them in writing and/or orally.  
The focus of this course is on the socio-emotional development of children during their earliest stages development, the period spanning roughly between conception and one’s second birthday. This period has become known as the first 1000 days. During the first 1000 days development proceeds at a breathtaking pace. Infants grow extremely fast and reach one developmental milestone after another. Moreover, foundations of optimum mental and physical health across the lifespan are established, with early life experiences shaping both short-term and long-term developmental outcomes. For example, the emotional bond infants develop with key persons in their live, also refered to as attachment, not only affects infants’ immediate development, but also their future relationships and well-being.
During the first 1000 days of life, developmental plasticity is at its greatest. Developmental plasticity is our capacity to adapt to different environments. Adapting to the immediate environment makes infants both versatile and vulnerable, as development in this period is highly sensitive to both positive and negative environmental influences. As such, the first 1000 days of life can contain risks with lifelong consequences for health and wellbeing, but is also a period filled with chances to ‘get things right’ and to boost childrens’ development.

Presumed foreknowledge
At least a full year (60 ects) of prior study in the field of psychology or educational theory/ pedagogics.
Test information

As room space is limited, a registration cap may apply for this course. Make sure to register at your earliest convenience. Registration will open December 2. In case of too many enrollments Psychology students have priority over students from other faculties or universities.
Required materials
Recent scientific articles.

Instructional modes
Type of instructional modeLecture

7 lectures (duration=2h/lecture) and 7 mini online lectures (duration=15 minutes/lecture), organized around a specific topic.
Led by questions/discussion points submitted by students before each meeting; discussion of further implications.

MC Exam
Test weight60
Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
OpportunitiesBlock PER4, Block PER4

Weekly discussionpoints
Test weight10
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock PER4

Final assignment
Test weight30
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock PER4, Block PER4