Human Development and Family Science prepares students with experiential learning

Falk College students in CFS 325: Children and Families in Health Care Settings study theories and practices of recreational, developmental, and educational programs for children and families in the pediatric care setting under the instruction of certified child life specialist and human development and family science (HDFS) professor of practice Colleen Cameron. Her students may go on to work in health care as child life specialists, physician assistants, even play, speech, or rehabilitation therapists, however, there is a much greater depth of career opportunities for these aspiring professionals.

Some alumni take administrative or teaching roles in early childhood or special education, others may enter social services as counselors, programmers. Some accept government opportunities in legislation, advocacy, and protective agencies. Still others enter the field of communications in journalism or public relations.

Cameron currently sits on the Child Life Council’s (CLC) Undergraduate Endorsement Review Committee, responsible for reviewing the quality of undergraduate child life academic programs at the national and international level. In August, she attended the CLC Academic and Clinical Preparation Summit in Detroit, Michigan as one of 60 committee members to discuss topics impacting child life students, academic institutions, interns, internship programs, and the workforce as a whole.

Academic institutions face a serious task to prepare students for vital roles in a variety of professional sectors. Experiential learning, or “hands-on learning,” is one of the key differentiating factors for Falk College’s academic programs in HDFS.

HDFS students have access to Falk’s on-campus teacher training facility, the Bernice M. Wright (BMW) Child Development Laboratory School, which offers early childhood education programming accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children to the Syracuse community and supports research regarding early childhood education.

In addition, all HDFS students complete a two-semester, 180-hour practicum in an area agency or organization. A portion of the practicum includes a weekly seminar surveying the various professional roles that exist in human services.

With a deeper understanding of children and families in the context of a range of community, educational and social services settings, Falk’s comprehensive approach gives students a competitive edge as they enter the workforce.