The Major in Child Development & Learning is an option for those students who are interested in working with children and adolescents outside the teaching profession. Students in the Child Development and Learning major build a strong foundation in the theory and practice of child development, from conception through adolescence. Various hands-on opportunities are embedded throughout the curriculum for students to provide direct service to children, engage in developmental research, and advance child welfare initiatives and policy. Factors such as economics, family, education, and culture are explored to understand the ecological contexts in which children develop. Close to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the college is uniquely situated for students to also explore the influence of nature on children’s development.
Other special areas of interest for Child Development students include children with special needs, child advocacy, and international child welfare. Child Development majors often go on to graduate studies or professions within education, social services, special education, or child/family intervention and prevention. Students interested in teaching in elementary grades pursue the Child Development and Learning for Teacher Licensure major.
Students in the Child Development & Learning for Teacher Licensure Major are prepared to become highly qualified teachers in elementary education (grades K-6), following collaborative, supportive, and stimulating learning experiences and successful completion of the Praxis exam required by the State of Tennessee. This major draws upon the strengths of the broad study of the liberal arts, specialized courses in psychology and education, and the professional application of skills through a semester-long student teaching experience. Child Development with Licensure majors develop a strong understanding of child development, the learning process, and the skills to design, implement, and assess instruction appropriate for diverse student populations.
Grounded in a commitment to personal and professional growth, students gain skills to solve the many theoretical, practical, and ethical problems associated with what to teach and how to teach, as well as the ability to effectively integrate technology into the instructional process. Various screening criteria, including a minimum GPA, are required for admission to and completion of this major.
Students interested in middle or high school education (grades 7-12) should pursue a major in the subject area in which they plan to teach. A major in Teaching English as a Second Language is another teacher licensure option.