Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Children's Studies at York University

Cool news on the academic front. York University (in Toronto) has launched a new undergrad program and Children's Studies department dedicated to exploring "global childhood experiences in philosophical and social terms and their personal, societal and human consequences." The program currently maintains a small full-time faculty, with a much larger number of associated faculty drawn from different York University departments. According to the press release and program description, students will learn about the various dimensions of children's culture -- "distinguishing between culture created by adults for children and the culture of children themselves" -- as well as practical skills needed for working with and researching children. It sounds absolutely, positively awesome, and is the first of its kind in Canada. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
The Children's Studies program is truly interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary, incorporating expertise and courses from programs such as sociology and psychology. Courses include The World of Childhood, Listening to Children: Ethics and Methodology of Child-Centered Studies and Contemporary Children's Culture Internships/Practicums. You are required to participate in community-based programs involving local schools and are encouraged to take part in advocacy work. Graduates of this program can pursue a wide-range of careers including counsellors, social workers, lawyers, teachers, librarians and international development workers.

It also sounds like the program is hitting the ground running: the school has a massive archive of "child-related materials" called the Canadian Children's Culture Collection, which includes data from a number of previous studies conducted out of York University, as well as unique toy collections, including toys designed by kids themselves. Very cool indeed. No news about job opportunities, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye out.

Here's a link to the Children's Studies department website.

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