Annual Child Science Conference
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The annual conference of the Japanese Society of Child Science brings together researchers working with different ages of children in a wide range of fields as well as educators and professionals. The conference aims to share research, knowledge and expertise and promote a healthy growth environment for children. Each annual conference focuses on a theme of critical importance in contemporary children's issues. The conference functions both as a network and valuable opportunity for dialogue among researchers, educators, and professionals who work with children.
The Third Conference of the Japanese Society of Child Science
Date: Sept. 2 (Sat) to 3 (Sun), 2006
Location: Konan Womens University
The theme of this years conference was Thinking about the Future of Child Science (Kodomogaku in Japanese).E Child Science has become a well-known field of study and research that is now part of the curriculum at many colleges and universities. Fifty institutions have now established departments or programs that use the term Child Science.E Most of them offer programs for certification as child care providers, nursery school teachers, etc., and thus aim to train professionals in the fields of child care and related support. At the same time, many faculty members are concerned that their institutions are turning into vocational schools for professional training and certification. How can the principles of Child Science be put into practice and become effective in education? In Symposium I, faculty from programs related to Child Science discussed how their institutions are approaching this issue. A lively discussion ensued on the future direction of Child Science.
The conference featured two special lectures. Professor Masuko Honda, former President of Ochanomizu University focused on the problems of children today from the perspective of her research on the history of Japanese children. Professor Masato Sasaki, Graduate School of the University of Tokyo, spoke on human development based on his research and observational studies of infant behavior. Professor Sasaki has observed infants in certain households over a period of several years, and organized this voluminous research in a newly completed and impressive DVD called Dictionary of Moving Babies.Ebr>
In the first effort of this kind, the conference featured a workshop for children that conference participants were able to observe. These mock classes for fifth graders were conducted by researchers in educational engineering. This program provided a number of ideas for creating environments that promote enthusiastic learning. Other presentations introduced the Muu robot that plays with building blocks together with children, the use of software for infants, and analyses of child abuse cases by family members of children who were then in children’s homes. The wide range of research presentations demonstrated the interdisciplinary breath of Child Science.