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Eastern Washington University's major in Children's Studies was the first in the nation. The curriculum of this interdisciplinary program focuses on the developmental, learning and social issues of children from birth to 18. The Children's Studies major incorporates coursework from departments across the University, including Education, Sociology, and Counseling, Educational and Developmental Psychology.
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Children's Studies Concept
Children's studies represents a new interdisciplinary approach to the study of child populations based on the following set of principles:
- Childhood should be studied in its own right
- Children should be the units of observation
- Children should talk about their own experiences
- Childhood should be seen as part of the social structure
- Children should be studied in the present as well as in relation to their future as adults
- Childhood should be seen in an intergenerational context
- Individuals studying children should be open-mindedly looking for new theoretical and methodological developments
Brooklyn College of The City University of New York is the founding institution for both the Sociology of Children and the interdisciplinary field of Children's Studies (1991). The CHST Minor at Brooklyn College is a 30 credit Concentration for Early Childhood and Early Education and was started in 2001. In addition, there is a Children's Studies Bachelor of Arts degree. All in all, there are over 800 students who have declared a CHST Minor, Concentration, and Major and Brooklyn College.
Based on shared principles and the foundation established by Brooklyn College, faculty at Eastern Washington University initiated the Interdisciplinary Children's Studies Program in 1991, and the University formally implemented the program in 2002. The program now offers both a bachelor of arts, ranking Eastern among the first academic institutions offering an interdisciplinary Children's Studies Program.
Graduates of this program are pursuing work with children and families through educational organizations, social service agencies, heath care organizations, advocacy groups, public policy and legislative reform groups, juvenile justice systems, recreation an entertainment services and the media.
Given the success of the children's studies curriculum and major, the Interdisciplinary Children's Studies Program at Eastern Washington University now wishes to formally organize and develop a Northwest Center for Children's Studies at Eastern Washington University. Such a Center would serve to enhance the well-being of child populations in the Northwest-Pacific Rim through a four-part mission, including the following elements:
- Develop and disseminate the interdisciplinary children's studies curriculum
- Recruit and support diverse students by strengthening seamless articulation between high school, community college and four-year institutions
- Develop,support and disseminate research on childhood
- Develop, support and disseminate projects enhancing children's physical,mental,emotional and social well-being