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Child Development

The Breakdown

You know all the clichés.  Children are a precious gift.  They are the future.  They are incredibly expensive.  While all this is certainly true, children themselves also need to be nurtured and educated in a healthy, productive manner.  If you love kids and know you want to work with them in some capacity in the future, you should contemplate majoring in child development.

By and large, child development is an interdisciplinary pursuit.  Covering ground that stretches from infancy to adolescence, you will study childhood through biological, psychological, social and cultural lenses.  You’ll learn all about a child’s physical and emotional development as well as methods and means to maximize his/her intellectual growth.  Moreover, you will study how different groups and settings (be it family, school, etc.) effect a child’s decisions and interactions.  Additionally, you’ll learn how to both work with and create tools for assessment.  Finally, a handful of programs also provide opportunities for fieldwork and/or internships.  These can take place within various settings and organizations including family courts, pediatric hospitals and children’s media companies.   

Successful child development majors tend to possess certain (and similar) attributes.  To begin with, the strongest candidates are students who are organized, flexible and for whom patience is the most prized of virtues.  They also tend to be both creative and analytical thinkers.  And they are armed with stellar people and communication skills.  Finally, they understand the weight and importance of a kickball game at recess.


Nuts and Bolts

As a child development major, you’ll become an expert in all topics kid-related with courses such as: Intellectual Development in Young Children, Developmental Crises, Parent-Child Relationships, Language Development in Children, Infant and Child Nutrition, Developmental Psychology, Childhood Across Cultures, The Exceptional Child, Adolescent Development and the Transition to Adulthood, Juvenile Justice, Abnormal Child Psychology, Child Welfare and Behavior Modification.

Decisions, Decisions

Child development majors are usually concerned about the healthy growth of children.  Therefore, they are also typically interested in education, psychology, music education, special education, physical education, neuroscience, social work, human development, biology, sociology, anthropology, speech pathology, art education, deaf education, nursing, pre-medicine and occupational therapy.

What's Next

Majoring in child development is the first step toward a number of rewarding career opportunities.  Undoubtedly, many graduates enter the field of education.  Some become classroom teachers, some administrators and some work in areas such as curriculum development.  A number of child development majors also head into the social services.  Indeed, it’s common to find graduates working in group homes, family counseling, child protective services, juvenile justice and mental health agencies aimed at children.  Of course, some students also take their skill-sets and apply them to the field of communications.  You’ll discover many majors working for production companies and publications that produce content for kids and teens.  Truly, one of the greatest aspects of the child development major is that you can virtually head in any direction you desire and make an impact.



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Don Munce