Child Development (EDUC 500) is one of the foundational courses that are required by many of the graduate programs at Bank Street. I took the course during my first semester here and it remains one of my favorite courses that I have taken at the Graduate School. The content was fulfilling in that I learned about the developing minds of children and my role as an educator to support their development, and it provided a deeper understanding of myself as a learner and how my sense of self and experiences influence how I engage with my students and peers.
My professor, Susie Rolander, challenged us to look at children, people, and situations with a different lens from our own in order to break the habit of making snap judgements about others based on our own personal biases. This was accomplished through the quality readings we were assigned, the independent and group projects that we completed, and the engaging and dynamic conversations and interactions that took place in the supportive environment my professor created through her own brand of humor and transparency.
The first assignment of the course was a paper on culturally meaningful activity, in which we had to investigate how parental and social beliefs shape our practices and relationships using literature assigned in the class and data from an interview. For the interview portion, we were tasked with asking a maternal primary caregiver a series of questions about her infant care practices and her reasons behind them. I chose to interview my mother, which was an interesting scenario, as we had never had the conversation about her bedtime routines for me as an infant and her reasons for choosing her particular feeding arrangement for me. These kind of illuminating and self-reflecting experiences were a major component of the class, which I found to be extremely valuable to my understanding of what we were learning and how that information could be carried out into the work that I do with children.
The developmental theories and research on cognitive, social, and emotional development of children that was presented in this course is embedded in every other class that I have taken at Bank Street, affirming the belief that effective teaching depends upon our deep understanding of children.
A note from the Office of Graduate Admissions: Child Development (EDUC 500) is one of a handful of courses available to take as a non-matriculated student. For Spring 2016, your next opportunity to register will be on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 from 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm. Visit the Office of the Registrar to find out more about our In-Person Registration event.