Students in the Department of Education and Child Development receive instruction in the field of education and child development, which fuses the three areas of psychology, pedagogy (elementary education), and disability science, in order to prepare them to seek solutions to issues related to child psychology and development. The goals of the Department are to train teachers able to understand the psychology of school-age children and support their mental and emotional development, and to foster individuals capable of working to realize solutions to the problems involved in contemporary school education.
The solution of issues related to the psychology of modern children demands a comprehensive approach that combines a deep understanding of children’s development with a perspective that takes in the entirety of children’s lifestyles. We tend to imagine school counsellors as approaching education with a basis in psychology, but counsellors generally provide support after children have already met with setbacks. The Department of Education and Child Development seeks to understand the stresses on children and to realize support that encourages their growth, asking how education should be approached to ensure that children do not become maladjusted.
In the first year, students focus on subjects that provide a foundation in child psychology. From the second year, they select a course from among the Child Development Course, the Special Needs Course, and the International Education Course, depending on their particular specialization and career path. Career options diversify as students develop the ability to provide the various forms of support demanded in the actual process of education.
In the first and second years, full-time members of the Department’s educational staff act as class advisors, with each advisor providing support to about 10 students. Class advisors are available to consult with students regarding issues related to study and career options. From the third year, students are divided into small seminar groups, and tackle academic topics under the guidance of supervisors from within the Department.
In the third and fourth years, students form teams and gain practical experience in the provision of support for children with special needs. Students develop their basic abilities by gaining an understanding of children’s needs and their actual situations, and by repeating the process of keeping records and conducting evaluations based on support plans.
In the second year, all students gain practical experience in the educational environment by acting as teaching assistants at an elementary school for one day per week. By interacting with the same children over the course of a year, students gain a real sense of their growth. Students seek their own answers to the issues that arise in the classroom while discussing them with their fellow students in the Department.
As an introduction to the study of education and child development, students in the first year take Outline of Education and Child Development, which covers children’s education, child psychology and development, and issues related to disabilities. Other subjects offered include Outline of Psychology, which provides a foundation for understanding children, Japanese Language, and Arithmetic. Students also study special needs education, with a particular emphasis on the characteristics of children with disabilities.
In the Educational and Child Development Program (an experiential program), students gain experience in providing educational support in Yokohama City municipal elementary schools. Students study a variety of subjects tailored to the actual educational environment, including Educational Psychology and Pathology of Intellectual Disability. From the second year, the Department’s program is divided into three courses to enable students to deepen their specializations.
From the third year, students focus on subjects that prepare them to provide support to children, and study concrete theories and methods related to the area of support for child development. Groups of seven or eight students pursue independent learning under the guidance of a full-time faculty member in the Education and Child Development Seminar 1, and learn through group work and practical activities.
Students seeking to acquire a teacher’s license engage in practical teacher training for four weeks in the case of elementary schools or kindergartens, and for two weeks in the case of special needs schools. They may also concentrate the results of their four years of study in the form of a graduation research project based on academic research conducted in the Education and Child Development Seminar 2 and their practical training.
Study in this department enables students to receive four different types of qualification: 1) Class 1 elementary school teacher; 2) Class 1 kindergarten teacher; 3) Class 1 elementary school teacher + Class 1 kindergarten teacher; and 4) Class 1 elementary school teacher + Class 1 special needs school teacher. Students are also able to earn qualification as school librarians, social education officers and social welfare officers. Using these qualifications, graduates can work in a variety of fields, with a focus on school education and the rehabilitation of disabled children.