Prepare to work with children in diverse settings.
The child development major is a multidisciplinary field of study that prepares students for careers in early childhood settings and agencies serving young children and their families, as well as the pursuit of graduate and professional studies. You may choose to combine the child development major with the licensure requirements for either Birth through Kindergarten or K-6 to be eligible to teach in the public school setting.
If you wish to complete the major without pursuing licensure, career options are available in a variety of settings including early education and child care programs, child life, early intervention, government agencies and other agencies offering children’s programs, such as those provided through museums.
Most classes in Meredith's child development program have opportunities for students to observe and work with young children. Meredith also has an on-site infant toddler program where students observe and may be hired as work-study students, as well as a curriculum lab where students can review and borrow materials and a small kitchen where students practice cooking activities for children. All students complete an advanced practicum or student teaching internship prior to graduation. In addition, students may choose to develop independent studies and internships based on their particular career and academic goals as part of their academic program of study. Employers often comment that this experience is a strength of Meredith's program.
Meredith child development students are active in their professional organizations at the local and state level. Students often attend conferences, such as the NC-Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC). A Meredith student recently represented MAYC and Wake County-AEYC as a delegate to NAEYC Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. with one of the Wake AEYC board members. At the NAEYC conference she spent a full day discussing public policy concerning early childhood education, and spent a second day on Capitol Hill speaking to the representatives from the Raleigh area.
Multiple internship opportunities allow students to focus on unique and specific aspects of serving young children and their families. Students, in consultation with faculty, design an internship that meets their individual goals. Our faculty provide on-site supervision for individual students, who may choose a particular faculty member with whom to develop an independent study or community internship.
Meredith's extensive contacts in the Raleigh community allow students to choose from a variety of options in early education and community-based services. For example, a student interested in pursuing a career in child life may pursue internships such as the programs at Duke University Medical Center or WakeMed. A student interested in pursuing graduate studies in allied health sciences, such as physical therapy or speech therapy, may shadow a professional in her field of interest. A student interested in administrative or state initiatives may work with child care directors or programs under the auspices of the Division of Child Development. Such opportunities allow the student to develop an in-depth experience that better prepares them for employment in that area or for continued education in graduate school.
Students may complete research projects that are designed to match their interests. Recent topics investigated by students include:
- special education
- inquiry based learning
- developmentally appropriate practice
- outdoor learning environments
- home visiting practices of kindergarten teachers
- emergent writers and classroom practices
- the relationship between temperament and the social behavior of toddlers
- teacher knowledge and support of children whose parent(s) have died.
Child development majors who would like to study abroad have a number of options to earn credit for courses in their major. Specific child development courses have been offered through Meredith College in Sansepolcro, Italy. Most recently, students spent three weeks in Italy studying the cross-cultural aspects of children’s play. As part of this program, students observed in various early childhood programs such as the Montessori Internationale Center in Perugia and the Loris Malaguzzi Center in Reggio Emelia.
Students may also choose to study at the Danish International Study Program (DIS) in Copenhagen, Denmark, and take courses such as child development and diversity or children with special needs as well as other courses that will meet requirements in general education.
A child development degree prepares students for a wide array of potential careers as well as graduate study. Professional positions held and graduate programs attended by recent graduates of Meredith's child development program include:
- Master’s degree in speech and language pathology, NC Central University
- Assistant Teacher at the Langley School in McLean Virginia
- Wake County Teacher of the Year, 2009, IRT/magnet coordinator at Fuller Elementary School, Raleigh, N.C.
- Senior Youth Director, Kerr Family YMCA, Raleigh, N.C.
Scholarship opportunities for students majoring in child development include The Sue Ballard Scholarship, the Marilyn Stuber Scholarship and the Dapore Scholarship.
In addition to these discipline-specific scholarship opportunities, Meredith offers a range of merit and need-based financial assistance. Last year, Meredith coordinated $42.8 million in financial assistance.
Kathryn S. Clark, Ph.D., CCLS. Professor and Program Coordinator for Child Development. A certified child life specialist, Dr. Clark currently serves on the Child Care Commission for the Division of Child Development and has served on the NC Interagency Coordinating Council for Children and their Families. She has taught in preshool programs, developed and worked in early intervention programs, and worked as a developmental specialist and child life specialist in pediatrics.
Diane Strangis, Ed.D. Associate Professor and B-K Program Coordinator. She was a classroom teacher for 15 years in inclusive programs in Minnesota and Kentucky and a faculty member in the Unified Early Childhood PROTEACH program at the University of Florida for five years. She has served as the national chair of the subdivision committee for the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children and a chairperson for the Birth-Kindergarten Higher Education Consortium.
For more detailed information about the child development major, please go to the program website.
For information about other majors at Meredith, return to the Admissions majors page.