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This course focuses on understanding, teaching and meeting the needs of children in upper elementary grades and the middle school years. The interaction of physical growth and social, emotional and cognitive development will be an organizing focus in the course. Different developmental theories will be examined and related to graduate students' own backgrounds and current teaching situations. A range of learning and behavioral variations will be explored in the context of family, school lives, and community. Issues related to race, class, gender, sexuality, power, ability and disability will be recurring themes. Specific topics will include emerging concepts of self and others, dependence and autonomy, and the social and educational implications of the wide range of developmental differences among children during the upper elementary and middle school years. Topics and issues will be addressed and explored through a combination of readings, projects, case studies and discussions. The course gives an overview of the beginning of life through infancy and early childhood, ultimately focusing on the development of children in grades 5 through 9.