Inspired by Darwin’s work, Hall and his well-known student Arnold
Gesell (1880–1961) devised theories of childhood and adolescence
based on evolutionary ideas (genetic influences).
These early leaders regarded development as a genetically determined process
that unfolds automatically, much like a flower (Gesell, 1933; Hall, 1904).
Gesell was also among the first to make knowledge about child development
meaningful to parents. If, as he believed, the timetable and pattern of development
is the product of millions of years of evolution, then children are naturally
knowledgeable about their needs. His child-rearing advice, in the tradition
of Rousseau, recommended sensitivity to children’s cues. Along with
Benjamin Spock’s Baby and Child Care, Gesell’s books became a
central part of a rapidly expanding popular literature for parents.
From his lab at Yale University Gesell studied children of various ages
and cataloged their behavior through the early developmental process.
Based on those observations, he was able to identify NORMS of development;
patterns of behavior that were typical and predictable at certain ages
of development. This perspective is referred to as the "Normative-Descriptive
Approach", since it utilizes norms of development to describe the growth
See Gesell video clip - HERE