Course Descriptions

The Dynamics of Early Childhood minor

EDUC 427: Vectors that Influence Early Childhood Development

This course focuses on developing global perspectives regarding childhood, families and the early development of children.  Each student participant will have the opportunity to investigate how particular factors advance or deter children’s development and how policy can alter the development trajectory for young children over the ages.  Students will investigate child issues based on their developing professional perspective.  For example, a history major could examine how historical events can affect the development of children or how society’s view of children and childhood has evolved over time.  The physics major could examine how the development and structure of toys has affected the child’s understanding of his world.  The journalist could pursue how picture books are both indoctrinating and educating youngsters.  The arts major could focus on how young children were portrayed by artists and how those images provide a glimpse of how children were viewed at a particular time.  The pre-med student might investigate the efficacy of bio/medical interventions for young children who are at-risk for developmental delays.  Finally, the student who is interested in the psychological and educational well-being of children can study the efficacy of policies that foster early ongoing intervention services for youngsters who are developmentally at-risk.

EDUC 428: The Effects of Curriculum and Institution on Early Childhood

The education of children is often said to reflect the contemporary issues and concerns of society. The questions that emerge in relationship to what and how society should prepare our children to contribute to self and the world in which they live are fundamental to the emergence of the research, philosophy, and pedagogy that guide early childhood education. The historical evolution of theorists that have informed the roles of policy makers, parents and community members, schools and their curriculum and instruction, and the expectations of children as scholars will be examined.  The beliefs identified as progressivism (physical and psychological development of children, perennialism (curricular emphasis on academics and classics), and re-constructivism (focus on learning to improve society) will be studied from the perspectives of historic and contemporary theoreticians.

EDUC 429: Early Childhood and Contemporary Society

This course emphasizes the impact of society on ideas about and reactions to the developmental growth of young children.  The influence of political, social, gender, and economics will be discussed with implications for philosophy and ideology regarding the education of young children. The consequences of the “corporate world” on developing the expectations for young children as consumers, members of society, and scholars will be discussed with an emphasis on films, television programs, toys, etc. that affect this age group.  In addition, technology and its influences on young children will be studied with concern for the social, intellectual, emotional, and physical growth of children at this age group.  As a consequence of this course, individuals interested in political policies, cinematography, psychology, journalism, and sociology will be able to comprehend the multiple factors impacting the rearing and education of young children.

EDUC 430: Early Childhood: Action Research Focus

The focus of this course is for students to select a problem that has both contextual and time references relate to early childhood (e.g. developmental factors that effect young children, ECE programs and their efficacy, economics, policy, or law and their affect on children and families).  Students in this course will survey research methods that are used to understand children, their development, and variables that affect the developmental trajectory of young children.  Basic research design and analysis are presented in “practitioner-language” that will help students conduct pertinent research in environments where young children are present. The goal of action research is to improve students’ understanding of factors that affect young children’s’ development and well-being.  Problems for investigation are student selected and can include examining various instructional practices, monitoring and evaluating student/child progress, the role others play in a child’s development, or the examination of how policy has influenced child and family well-being. Under the guidance of the instructor, students who participate in this course will complete an action research project that identifies a problem related to some aspect of early childhood, develops a research protocol to investigate the problem and presents the results of the investigation.