Original Research

Knowledge of child development in the interface of theory and practice in foundation phase teacher education

Lara Ragpot
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 7, No 1 | a501 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v7i1.501 | © 2017 Lara Ragpot | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 October 2016 | Published: 12 December 2017

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Lara Ragpot, Department of Childhood Education, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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How the child develops and learns should be an integral part of pre-service teacher education programmes. This article argues that for foundation phase teachers to teach young children effectively, course content in initial teacher education (TE) should cultivate a thorough understanding of the developing child by infusing theories of childhood development into coursework and practicum. To strengthen this argument, the article gives examples of international TE programmes which recognise that child development should take preference in these programmes. However, for the future teacher to really know the developing child and how to intervene when optimal development is not in place, the theories on child development taught in coursework need to be done in tandem with practical work in a school classroom. This theory–practice interface in initial TE could be optimally supported in a foundation phase pre-service TE programme, which utilises a university-affiliated teaching school as site for practical cross articulation of coursework theory.


Childhood cognitive development; Pre-service teacher education; Theory practice interface


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