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Childhood, Youth, and Learning

The Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth, and Learning (CYL) program is an interdisciplinary academic program connecting students, faculty, staff, and the larger community. 

CYL promotes critical thinking about how children and youth grow, change, create, and learn in the context of larger social structures and cultural practices.

Students are encouraged to:

  • Integrate practice with existing theory and research through community-based projects
  • Critically examine theories and practices concerning young people in relation to questions of power
  • Implement innovative methodologies and creative critical pedagogy for young people's participation
  • Reflect on one's practice as an educator and learner
  • Participate in "A Day At Hampshire College," and other events that bring young people and Hampshire students together on campus
  • Conduct basic and applied research in childhood studies and education studies

The CYL Program offers students the chance to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real life situations in local community schools and organizations, enriching their educational experience and deepening their learning about childhood and youth issues.

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Associated Faculty

Associate Professor of Cognitive Development
Hampshire College Professor Rachel Conrad
Professor of Childhood Studies
Dean of Multicultural Education and Inclusion, Associate Professor of Education Studies
Visiting Assistant Professor of Education Studies
Reba Rosenberg
Visiting Assistant Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Education
Associate Professor of Theatre
Dean of Curriculum and Assessment, Associate Professor of Cognition and Education
Visiting Assistant Professor of Cognition and Education

Student Project Titles

Sample First-Year Course

Girls in School: Feminisms and Educational Inequality

Feminists have long been invested in the relationship of girls' empowerment and education. Second Wave liberal feminism, for instance, strove to make schools more equitable places for girls, demanding equal access and resources for girls and boys and the elimination of discrimination specifically impacting girls. Yet the relationship of gender inequality and schooling is a complicated and contentious site of research and policy.

In this course we will examine how various feminist perspectives have defined and addressed the existence of gender inequality in American schools. By analyzing research, pedagogies, policies, and programs developed in the past few decades to address gender inequality and schooling, students should complete the course with a complex view of feminism and how these different, and at times contradictory, perspectives have contributed to the debates around educational inequality and the design of educational reform.

Sample Courses at Hampshire

Through the Consortium

Facilities and Resources

CYL Educational Outreach Coordinator
The CYL outreach coordinator's office facilitates opportunities to work on and off campus. Our on-campus partners include the Hampshire College Early Learning Center and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The CYL outreach coordinator also helps coordinate class-based and individual community engagement opportunities in local schools, after-school programs, and youth-serving organizations, and supports students in finding placements for various internships and field research sites.

Community Partners
The CYL program has strong connections to area schools, after school programs, museums, arts programs, and social service agencies. Our partner organizations are important sites for internships and field research.

Child Development Research Center
The Child Development Research Center is equipped with one-way observation glass, A/V recording, and a reception area for parents and children. Students working in the research center can gain valuable firsthand experience in all stages of the research process.

Three College Teacher Licensure Program
Teaching licenses obtained through the Three College Teacher Licensure Program are recognized in approximately 46 states. To become eligible for licensure in the state of Massachusetts, students must successfully complete the requirements of a teacher licensure program, pass the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), and submit licensure application materials and fees to the Massachusetts Department of Education. The Five College licensure coordinator is available on-site at Hampshire to support students through the licensure process or to advise them about post-baccalaureate licensure opportunities.


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