Child development course should count as required art credit


Photo by Mandy Schoen

Artwork made by Mandy Schoen in child development class during the 2019-2020 school year.

Drawing and cutting up pieces for a homemade puzzle, gluing and coloring hand turkeys for Thanksgiving, painting pictures and words on huge posters around the classroom. These activities all sound extremely creative and artistic, right? However, you might be shocked to find out that this class, full of constant art projects, does not count toward an art credit.

Child development is a popular class that students of all grades have the opportunity to take. The class is essentially a mini-pre school, so students get the chance to prepare lessons, teach, and observe real students, ages four to five. 

Students may believe that this class doesn’t need to be counted as an art credit because it is taken solely to prepare people for a career in education. This class is mostly taken by people with a passion for teaching, and for those looking to go into a career in child education, this class is a great use of time and extremely helpful. However, tons of students, especially eighth graders, choose the class because it looks fun and don’t think about the possible drawbacks of using up one of the few elective slots. 

Child development is taken by all grades and all types of students, from a senior who is looking for a fun class to finish off the semester with, or freshman who is uncertain about their future career and wants to try something new. Speaking as someone who took the class freshman year, I thought it was a great learning experience and a nice break from the normal rigor of my schedule. However, I do regret taking child development. 

With my current knowledge of what I want to do after high school, I wish I devoted that vital spot in my schedule to something that would be more beneficial in the long run, such as one of my required credits. That way, I would have more room in my schedule my junior and senior years to explore areas that I am now more passionate about. However, if the class counted as an art credit, I would have so much more space in my future schedule.

Child development would be a much more popular and useful class if it counted as an art credit. One fine arts credit is required in order to graduate in the county. According to MCPS website, the purpose of the fine arts credit is to “open the minds of students to new worlds and cultures and enable them to creatively express themselves and value the multiple perspectives of others.” 

On top of fitting the criteria defined by MCPS, the majority of the time in class is spent doing some sort of artistic project. While planning for lessons, you have to cut, paste, paint and draw in order to create the assignments for the kids. While in the teaching rotation, students have to create a demo and assist the kids in their lessons, the great majority of which involves hands-on art-related activities. Finally, while in the observation week, students often have to use their artistic abilities for their assignment, such as creating a home-made board game or painting a nursery rhyme poster. 

Clearly, art is involved in nearly every aspect of the class, and more students would take the course if it contributed to helping them graduate by fulfilling the required art credit.