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Course Overview

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Enrollment in Understanding Today’s Child demonstrates a desire to meet the needs of today’s child. Before we begin let’s review the requirements necessary for the successful completion of Understanding Today’s Child. We will also discuss the rationale and examine the expected learning outcomes.

Course Requirements
You will be required to interview children during Week 1 and Week 3 of this course and write an observation paper based on the interview experience and the responses of the children. You will compare your observations to the characteristics of children that you learned about during the course. You will need to provide the interview questionnaire for the child’s parent(s) to review in advance of the interview, and have permission to interview their child. See the Real-world Observation Interviews section for more details.

Rationale
Today’s child is growing up in a world that is incredibly complex and ever-changing. The days of carefree childhood are history. In order to effectively minister to the child of today, the children’s ministry leader must have insight into the child’s unique problems and an understanding of how to meet his needs through various teaching situations as well as one-on-one.

Understanding Today’s Child is designed to broaden the children’s workers’ perspective on the nature of childhood and provide some practical insights for relating to children according to their level of physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual development. In addition, the worker will develop greater sensitivity for the needs of today’s child, taking into consideration the child’s family life as well as the child’s religious background.

This course will challenge you to examine child development and behavior from early childhood to adolescence. It will also help you to identify the particular needs of children from troubled home situations and/or different religious backgrounds so that you can minister more effectively to today’s child.

Instructional Methods

Individual assignments along with community forum discussions will allow you to interact with the curriculum on both a personal and interpersonal level. Project assignments will provide you with practical tools that can be applied within your ministry setting.

Learning Outcomes
By the conclusion of this course, you will:

  • Interview five children ages 6-11 using the questionnaire provided, research the behavior and characteristics of this specific age group, and write a three-page observation paper describing the physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual characteristics demonstrated by the children.
  • Interview three little kids ages 3-5 using the appropriate questionnaire provided, research the behavior and characteristics of this specific age group, and write a three-page observation paper describing the physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual characteristics demonstrated by little kids.
  • Interview three adolescents ages 12-17 using the appropriate questionnaire provided, research the behavior and characteristics of this specific age group, and write a three-page observation paper describing the physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual characteristics demonstrated by adolescents.
  • Construct an individual project that will minister to at-risk children and/or their families based on the principles shared in this course.
  • Summarize basic foundational beliefs along with practical ways to relate biblical truths to children of different religious backgrounds, compiling information in an individual project.
  • Describe your growth progress with classmates in a forum discussion.