This program offers credit for the following course:
CHFD 4000/6000: Special Topics: Early Childhood in Italy (3 credit hours)
The objectives of this course are:
- To offer students the opportunity to understand, explore and appreciate another culture and worldview through interactions in Italian communities.
- To read and discuss research that introduces the students to the role of culture, family and educational practices within the Italian context.
- To develop critical reading skills by applying intellectual standards of critical thinking to assigned readings.
- To provide the resources to conduct ethnographic research to effectively understand and learn from Italian peoples culture.
- To foster a trust and friendship that could develop into future opportunities for international collaborations.
In additions to course meetings before and after the program abroad, class will be held Monday through Friday on-site in Italy.
Assignments include the following:
Research paper: Prior to the program abroad, students will complete basic readings on Italian culture & family, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia and do mini-papers on each. This allows each student to have a basic understanding of the country, community, and early childhood programs.
Analysis of selected articles: Students will be given selected readings and articles to analyze by answering question that will include: What is the purpose of the article? What information, data, or evidence does the author present to support his/her point of view? What key concepts are used to organize the information? What are the main conclusions of the article? Are those conclusions justified and supported by the article? These will be the basis for discussion during the daily seminars.
Ethnographies: For this project students will work partially in class and outside of class to develop a series of ethnographies. Students will come up with (1) a thesis statement for each ethnography, (2) a series of questions for each statement, (3) resource list of possible sources for answering the questions, (4)Papers should be 3-5 pages in length, double spaced.
Observations: Prior to leaving for Italy, students will observe in the following settings: two observations in different early childhood settings prior to departing for Italy, one that is a Montessori program and one that is Reggio-inspired; one observation in a church of their choosing; one observation of families and children in a public park/playground.
Once in Italy, students will be observe in at least two early childhood programs where they can observe children at play as well as the interactions between children and adults. Naturalistic observations will also be conducted in two different settings where students can document adult-child interactions.