Students who major in Child Development (CHLD) are interested in working directly with children and families or they want to work indirectly for children in administrative, advocacy, helping, or researcher roles. All majors acquire a comprehensive understanding of how children grow and develop from conception through adolescence. Our six emphases include: foundations of child development, child and environmental assessment and study, programs for children and families, professionalism, critical thinking, and developmental context. Students know from the first semester what learning areas will be addressed and what skills they can expect to have upon graduation.
The Program includes the following innovative components:
- Interdisciplinary coursework ranging from the fine arts to the natural and physical sciences,
- Integration of supervised field experiences and internships with academic studies, and
- Opportunities to apply principles and best practices in campus child laboratory facilities.
There are three levels of supported internship experiences totaling over 250 hours. The first level is observing and working with children at an "introductory" level in an agency serving children. The second level is direct work with children in campus child laboratory facilities. The final level is as a member of a professional team in one of over 40 social service agencies that provide a broad range of services to children birth to 18 and their families. Students receive academic credit for internships. Students may explore different types of internships or custom-design their own program based on career goals.
Emphasis is placed on critical thinking, writing, computer literacy, public speaking, and leadership skills, allowing majors to find jobs in many different areas.
Child Development graduates meet California State academic requirements for the Child Development Permit at the Site Supervisor level, which allows the holder to direct an early childhood program. Career opportunities include counseling, social work, family resource and referral specialization, elementary education, parent education, family service coordination, early education and intervention specialization, childcare administration, and human service positions. Advanced study may be needed for some career options.
Child Development Majors and Elementary School Teaching
In order to obtain a multiple subjects teaching credential to teach at the elementary level, additional assessment and coursework is needed. Students should contact the Liberal Studies program for the most recent information in this area. A double major in child development and liberal studies can be completed in four years and incorporates multiple subjects credential prerequisites while preparing students for competency exams.
Faculty and Facilities
Child Development faculty are recognized as superior instructors; student evaluations of CHLD faculty are consistently above University norms. All CHLD faculty work with students on their academic programs, independent study, internships, and research projects. Faculty have a wide variety of research interests, serve on community agency advisory and governing boards, present research at local, state, national and international conferences, and serve as trainers and consultants for regional, state, and federal agencies.
The program partners with the on-campus Associated Students Child Development Laboratory, which has programs for infants through preschool-aged children. The facilties are nationally accredited and provide opportunities for observation, on-floor experience, and research with children and their families.
The Child Development Minor
The minor complements coursework in many majors such as liberal studies, psychology, social work, recreation, health and community services, human resource management, foreign languages and others.