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The Family & Child Studies Department offers undergraduate programs in Child Development with the option to have a teaching license. These programs provide coursework and field experiences in a variety of settings for young children with and without disabilities. Our emphasis is to prepare professionals in working with infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners of all ability levels, their families, and other early care and education professionals. 

Mission Statement

The Department of Family and Child Studies creates a community of engagement around the capacity for learning and competence of children. By exploring how children develop and learn in context, we prepare professionals who work with children and families across a variety of settings. We are constructivist and inspired by the pedagogical practices of Reggio Emilia. We aspire to create professionals who consider the cultures within which the child grows and develops. Students are supported in developing sensitivity to all through critical thinking and community engagement. By embracing our obligation to create healthy, just and sustainable societies, our students are equipped to be knowledgeable, compassionate and dedicated in their professional endeavors; to respond to others with humility, and to recognize the dignity of all.

Vision Statement

We envision a world in which all professionals who work with children understand and respect children as competent beings and families are recognized as children's first and most important teachers. To paraphrase the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, we believe that intelligent children deserve intelligent practitioners. Through our community of practice, we seek to develop reflective practitioners and communities, who recognize and intentionally support children's construction of knowledge, feelings, and identity collaboratively with the other children and adults in their lives. We strive to be recognized as both a resource and collaborator for the creation of sustainable communities for children and families both within and outside the Appalachian community.

Inclusive Excellence Statement

Education is transformative and dynamic. Open and collaborative intellectual inquiry is the foundation of a university education and a democratic society. In the spirit of shared humanity and concern for our community and world, the faculty, staff, and students of the Family and Child Studies Department celebrate diversity as central to our mission and affirm our solidarity with those most at risk. In line with our departmental goals, we disavow all racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, classism, transphobia, ableism, ageism, and hate speech or actions that attempt to silence, threaten, and degrade others. We strive to model inclusion, reflection, advocacy, and care for community in order to work toward an equitable, democratic, and sustainable society.