Child development in the family context | Australian College of Nursing

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Child development in the family context

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The aim of this unit of study is to help students explore child development within the theory and context of the family’s bio-psychosocial and cultural environment. Child and family health nurses working with families with infants and young children must have an in-depth understanding of a child’s physical, emotional, cognitive and social development and the contextual and environmental influences on child health.

This knowledge assists nurses in facilitating parenting strengths and promoting the infant/child carer-relationship, therefore enabling the attachment process, this is a fundamental element in the healthy development of young children. Central to the role of child and family health nurses is the acquisition of skills in growth and developmental assessment. The interpretation of findings in relation to a child’s developmental age within their family, social and cultural context provides a good foundation for optimal developmental assessment, health screening and surveillance, and facilitates early intervention when developmental issues are detected.

Child and family health nurses promote the optimal development of children through a partnership approach and the provision of anticipatory guidance to parents; therefore, knowledge of child development helps in the provision of client-centred health promotion strategies leading to optimum child health outcomes.

Child development in the family context

Unit of study code



Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health Nursing

Graduate Certificate in Community and Primary Health Nursing

PG unit of study





Fee*Tier 3

Clinical Placement Information

There is a compulsory 40 hours clinical placement for this unit of study. Each state and territory has its own documentation requirements. Any costs associated with clinical placement involving obtaining the correct documentation, uniform and travel costs are the student’s responsibility.

Prescribed text:

Berk, LE & Meyers, AB 2015, Infants and children: Prenatal through middle childhood, 8th edn, Pearson, Boston.

Co-ordinated by: Sue Mapletoft MACN



Intended learning outcomes for this subject/program


After completing this subject, the learner will be able to:-

Assessment Tasks

Type of assessment

Not the completed assessment item. E.g. Assessment 1. Online discussion 


(% of total marks)

When assessed – academic week

(e.g. Week 8)

Theme 1: Developmental foundations & Influences

a) Discuss current literature, policies, models and frameworks that influence the child and family health nurse’s role in assessing and facilitating optimal child development

Assessment 1 Online discussions x 2



Theme 2: Developmental screening and assessment

b) Compare and contrast child development theories by reviewing the literature and examining their application to practice

Assessment 2 Professional experience placement

Achieved/Not achieved


Theme 3: Developmental progression  in infancy & toddlerhood

c) Demonstrate clinical leadership by developing partnerships with parents and community support networks to promote and protect the developing needs of children

Assessment 3 Case analysis (Part A) and Essay (Part B) (2500 words)



Theme 4: Developmental progression in the preschool years

d) Analyse the complex family and environmental influences that can affect child development

Assessment 4 Case analysis (Part A) and Essay (Part B) (2500 words)



Theme 5: Supporting optimal development

e) Discuss the significance of the early years for optimal brain development and infant-parent attachment





f) Examine the importance of nutrition, immunisation, sleep and settling, safety and play for optimal child development





g) Apply knowledge of the foundations of development to the developmental surveillance of infants and young children





h) Appraise the role of the child and family health nurse in promoting and monitoring child health and wellbeing





i) Analyse and interpret the elements of a comprehensive developmental assessment of infants and young children





j) Facilitate parents towards a deeper understanding of their child’s developmental needs through health education, anticipatory guidance and parenting skill development




Units commencing or have commenced in 2017

Tier 1$2,035
Tier 2$2,345
Tier 3$2,725
Tier 4$3,275

Units commencing in 2018

Tier 1$2,100
Tier 2$2,420
Tier 3$2,800
Tier 4$3,375

*Fees are subject to change without notice.