What are the most effective ways to help a child learn? How can you boost
a child's self-esteem? A degree in child studies will make you better able
to answer questions like these.
A child studies program helps graduates understand children better. Students
look at kids through the lenses of a number of different subjects, mainly
sociology, psychology and cultural studies.
Training in this field can come under different program names, which may
imply a slightly different focus. Look for programs that include the word
"child" or "children," such as child life studies, family and child studies
or child development.
A number of universities and colleges have bachelor's (three to four
years) and graduate degree programs in child studies. Some may even have certificate
or diploma programs.
Courses could include child psychology, sociology of the family,
characteristics of children with special needs and family and childhood in
You may also take courses in early childhood education, research methods,
social work, interviewing techniques, working with groups, health studies
Most programs include a practicum. That's where you spend some time
working with children and practicing what you've studied.
Jill Korbin is director of the childhood studies minor program at Case
Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She says her program provides an
opportunity for students interested in a wide array of issues concerning children.
It focuses on the life stages of infancy through adolescence. But it also
includes issues of parenting, gender and the place of children in society
"Students wishing to undertake a childhood studies program could come from
a variety of backgrounds," Korbin says. "If high school students have opportunities
to work with young children, this would help them in their studies.
"However, this would not be necessary. Childhood studies should be appealing
to all students who are interested in careers with children."
If you're interested in this field, take psychology and social studies
while in high school.
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