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Child Development


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What to Expect

If you have a picture of child studies majors as just highly knowledgeable babysitters, you're only looking at a very small part of the picture.

Caroline Vezina says child studies programs churn out childhood experts, not professional babysitters. She took a bachelor's degree in childhood studies. She hopes to use her knowledge to nurture children's lives.

"We mold children's lives and prepare them for the future," Vezina says.

Giancarlo De Lisi took a BA in child studies. "Graduate studies is where I'm going, because it will open more doors," says De Lisi. "One cannot even teach with a BA in child studies."

Ultimately, De Lisi says he wants to become an educator. In fact, he initially applied for admission to the bachelor's program in early childhood education. He later opted for the most closely related program -- child studies.

De Lisi says he particularly liked the education courses he took, which he describes as excellent.

The program included a stint as an intern. But De Lisi would like to see child studies majors spend more time doing a practicum (practical training).

Vezina shares the same view. "I have a lot of theoretical knowledge, but not the practical kind," she says. "I liked the child studies practicum, but it was not enough. The program needs at least two to four practicums."

De Lisi says the academic aspect of the program required lots of papers and reading. However, he says if you have good time management skills, you can have a comfortable semester. It also helps if you have a deep understanding of children.

Without a graduate degree, says De Lisi, you may not have many options open to you other than in day-care work.

Taking further training and certification to be an elementary school teacher, however, may offer the best employment prospects.

"An educator is the backbone of society," says De Lisi. "Without teachers to teach the future doctors and engineers of the world, there would be no society."

But De Lisi says before you rush to enroll in a child studies program with the aim of teaching kids, stop, think and assess. "Make sure this is what you want to do," he says. "The last thing the world needs is another bad teacher."


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