The Child Studyis a semester-long investigation of one student in an elementary school classroom. The goal is to get to know this child as an individual and a learner, to try to see the world through this child's eyes, and to consider how well the curriculum and classroom culture serve his or her needs, interests and abilities. In the process, students should discover some of their own biases and beliefs, move beyond categorical thinking, and experience the power of seeing children in terms of capacities not deficits.
In this introductory, undergraduate education course, Child Study embodies the idea of teachers as students of children and childhood. It sends a message that knowing and caring about students as individuals and learners is a foundation for effective teaching. It helps prospective teachers begin to develop habits and skills of observation and description and orients them to their basic responsibility -- helping all students to learn.