In this opening chapter we examine what is meant by child development, which leads us to look at how important both history and culture are to any understanding of child development. We will start by looking at childhood, as a concept, and examine its origins and the importance of thinking about childhood as a space or a phase separate from adulthood. As we do this we will also look at how concepts of ‘the child’ have developed and how they do not remain static over time or place. Closely allied with concepts of childhood per se are aspects of reality such as poverty and rights and we touch on these. We develop a workable image of the child of the twenty-first century and touch on the notion of ‘good parenting’.