Field Practica Information for Human Growth and Development

Student with young child

The Human Growth and Development course (HGD) is an eight-credit, yearlong course for first-year students that examines major developmental shifts throughout the lifespan. The first semester covers conception through early childhood and focuses on children under the age of six. The second semester covers middle childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and aging. In this course students study how social, emotional, physical, and cognitive domains change and interact to affect the life process. The course highlights the role of socio-cultural context and cultural diversity in understanding human development.

Fieldwork Component

The HGD field experience component is not only integral to students' understanding of the course material, but also lays the foundation for the development of students' emerging professionalism. During the first semester, placement sites include daycare centers, preschools, nursery schools, and kindergarten classrooms. In the second semester, placements are more varied and can include after school programs, museums, recreation programs, senior centers, and art programs, among many other options.
Fieldwork allows students an opportunity to develop observational skills and to make connections among theory, research, and practice. Furthermore, students are able to relate developmental theory to the lives of people in a variety of situations and contexts. For all students, observations and analysis provide the data upon which a number of written assignments are based.


Students are required to complete 30 hours each semester at their field placement, typically for three hours each week over a span of ten weeks. Students are expected to engage with the site population in ways that will enrich the program, as well as that help prepare the students for careers in education and human services.
Important: Students should not assume unsupervised responsibility, and should never be left alone without a staff member present at any time. Moreover, because the HGD coursework focuses on development rather than curriculum, students are not expected to plan lessons or activities, but rather to support the ongoing activities at the site.

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