Developmental Niche Paper


This paper focuses on the notion of the Developmental Niche and its three components. Write about the Developmental Niche of your own childhood, or the childhood of an individual whom you know very well. (For the latter, you must know the persons family too.)

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You are expected to write about 5 pages (no less than 4 pages; no more than 6 pages). Use headers throughout the paper. For example, when completing #2 on the prompt you should begin with the header: Physical and Social Setting


Your paper should include the 5 sections below.

1) Introduction paragraph

Get readers ready for your discussion (in one to two paragraphs).

Tell readers about the purpose of your paper. Explicitly mention culture in your statement of purpose.
Introduce the notion of developmental niche; tell readers what it is and why it is important in a discussion of child development and culture.
Tell readers whose developmental niche you are describing. Provide a few background details about the focal person: i.e., ethnic/cultural background, social class, education and gender.
Identify the age period(s) you will focus on.
2) Physical & Social Settings

Tell readers about your or the target child’s neighborhood(s)/ community/location. Briefly describe all four categories below.

Give physical setting information such as (a) city & state; (b) rural, urban, suburban; and (c) pertinent geographical characteristics. Also, describe your home’s physical characteristics (e.g., apartment).
Give social class information of neighborhood such as low-income, working-class, middle-class, or mixed. Also, mention the social class of your family.
Give cultural/ethnicity information for neighborhood: i.e., degree of cultural diversity or specific cultures/ethnicities living there.
Describe who lived in your home and which people you regularly spent time with.
3) Childcare practices & family Interactions

Tell readers about the kinds of childcare practices & adult-child interactions that regularly occurred in your developmental niche (using multiple paragraphs). Focus & elaborate on the following 2 kinds:

Language practices (e.g., teasing, verbal humor, emotion talk, storytelling, or other conversational practices
Family activities (e.g., dinnertime, recreation, or educational activities; household chores)
Disciplining or behavior regulation practices
4) Psychology of Caregivers (ethnotheories):

Tell readers about some beliefs, values, socialization goals, and/or expectations of your parents or other family members. Focus and elaborate on at least 2 kinds of beliefs, values, goals, etc.; focus on ones that relate to the practices and interactions you describe in the section on caregiver practices/family interactions. Choose from the following:

Collectivist and/or individualist socialization goals
Beliefs about learning & development; beliefs about talking to children
Beliefs about children’s emotions and/or self-esteem
Developmental and educational expectations
5) Analysis
Draw conclusions and wrap up the paper.

Write three paragraphs (one for each component of the Developmental Niche) on how your childhood developmental niche influenced your development as an adult. Include at least one example from each of the three components of the Developmental niche.

You will also be evaluated on writing mechanics. Be sure to proofread your paper before submitting.

Use good sentence structure and punctuation in your writing.
Aim for good organization of your descriptions
Use a moderately formal style of writing. For example, write “mother” rather than “mom”; and avoid colloquial expressions and slang.
It is fine to refer to yourself in this paper, and therefore to use “I”, “me”, and “my”. In fact, you are encouraged to do this.

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