This fifth edition of Theories of Development is basically similar to the earlier editions. Its purpose, once again, is to introduce students to a variety of theorists, giving special attention to those who have contributed to that distinctly developmental perspective that began with Rousseau. The book focuses, that is, on writers who help us understand how development might arise from our inner promptings and spontaneous interests and how we might view the world differently at different stages of life.
This new edition updates several chapters. Most notably, it discusses recent critiques of Piaget's theory and the growing research that bears on Schachtel's theory of early memories. The book also suggests how Werner's holistic approach is becoming increasingly relevant, especially with respect to the current push for early literacy instruction. Werner's approach cautions us against rushing in to teach reading and writing skills at young ages. Instead, we should consider all the activities out of which literacy might more naturally emerge.