The Child and Family Research Center (CFRC) at the College of Education and Human Development was honored with the Outstanding Service-Learning Community Partner Award on May 12 at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Recognition Breakfast. The award recognizes a community partner who has exemplified excellence in collaborating with a service-learning course to provide meaningful learning opportunities for students. The award expresses appreciation for community partners' commitment and vital role. The Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement is grateful for the many partnerships it has forged, and it is delighted to celebrate one partnership each year with this award.
“The partnership between the Child and Family Research Center and the HDFS program is priceless,” said Ashley Tate, program coordinator for the Child and Family Research Center. “The CFRC leadership team and teachers look forward to helping and guiding new practicum students and interns each semester. We aim to provide an experience that will bring their instruction to life and solidify their knowledge.”
The Child and Family Research Center creates service learning opportunities for more than 100 University students per semester. Students enrolled in select Human Development and Family Science or Education courses can gain hands-on learning at the CFRC.
Not only does the CFRC host University students for observations, practicums, and internships and serve as the lab school for the entire University, it is an integral partner for our two service-learning courses, HDFS 231 – Practicum with Children and Families and HDFS 470 – Pre-Professional Internship. Faculty at the Child and Family Research Center also serve as guest speakers in the HDFS 231 course, providing academic content from the field perspective and assisting in designing the course evaluation forms and other key assignments.
"The Child and Family Research Center is the hub of best practice for the HDFS 231 and 470 courses," said Jenna Dewar, senior lecturer and coordinator of the HDFS internship program. "The courses could not be executed efficiently without its support, engagement and feedback. The leadership team, support staff and teachers have put their mark on these two courses. The CFRC has partnered with our program since its inception and is wildly deserving of this recognition!"
The Human Development and Family Science degree includes courses to provide students with the opportunity to integrate classroom learning, theory, and course content into experiences outside of the classroom setting and to allow for the exploration of a variety of career choices available to them after graduation.
Kosei Otsu interned at the Child and Family Research Center during his final semester before graduating in Fall 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science. As an intern, he assisted the lead teachers in the classroom. Eventually, he was hired as a lead teacher, responsible for making daily journals, creating a curriculum, discussing children’s behavior, and addressing appropriate strategies. Through this experience, Otsu learned the importance of being proactive. One of his ideas was introducing American Sign Language, which improved the children's connection between words and comprehension.
Kiara Lee Moffett also interned at the Child and Family Research Center during her final semester before graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Science in Fall 2022. She assisted the lead teachers with feeding the babies, putting them to sleep, promoting enrichment activities, and providing a safe and clean classroom. The experience was significant to her because it helped her discover what she would like to do in the future. Moffett said that she absolutely loved the experience.
Melissa Burnham, Ph.D., department chair for Human Development, Family Science, and Counseling (HDFSC) and executive coordinator of the CFRC, said, “We are pleased to have such a strong partnership between HDFSC and the Child and Family Research Center. The CFRC is not only a great placement for our students to gain hands-on experience and opportunities to see child development in action, but contributes to the university’s research mission as well. It’s truly a gem for our campus community, and I couldn’t be more proud of this award.”
The Child and Family Research Center provides a developmental, child-centered approach to early education. The program offers early childhood care and education to children aged 6 weeks to 6 years old. The CFRC is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).