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Child Studies in Britain and Child Research in Norway Based on Child Science

In the past few years, an increasingly number of educational institutions seem to be offering programs called "Child Studies." King's College in Britain, for example, is one that offers a Master's Degree in Child Studies. This program focuses on various children's issues in present-day government policy and society from an academic perspective that encompasses medicine, nursing and childbirth care, law, sociology, psychology, public policy, etc. The objective is to understand and share the specialized knowledge and different perspectives that have been developed by each of these disciplines regarding particular problems and issues from what is called a "multi-disciplinary and holistic approach." As a matter of fact, this approach has much in common with the fundamental principles of Child Science or Kodomogaku of CRN.

When I was invited to Bergen, Norway for an international conference in 1992, I learned of the Norwegian Center of Child Research, and at that time, it struck me that this institute's research orientation was based on the same principles as CRN's Child Science. Both Child Studies in Britain and Child Research in Norway seemed to share the same founding principles and orientation as my concept of Child Science. Children's issues today cannot be resolved within conventional disciplinary frameworks, but require an integrative and comprehensive approach that brings together all the involved disciplines in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary effort.

Child Science was an idea that came to me when I visited medical schools around the world. I was astonished to discover that basic medicine was not divided into specialized fields such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, etc., but taught as human biology or one of the human sciences from the perspective of the human, the patient, or the disease. Eschewing reductionism, this approach to teaching medicine was integrative and comprehensive. Needless to say, these encounters opened my eyes. In this sense, Child Science can be considered a human science of children.

Since then I have stayed abreast of developments in this new science and learned much in the process. I began to think that we also had to apply it to solving the problems of children. From my perspective as a pediatrician, rather than bio-morbidities such as infectious diseases and malnutrition, co-morbidities such as obesity and school refusal that are related to a number of factors are now the serious problems society today. In this regard, Child Studies, Child Research and Child Science have much to offer in the future and I look forward to new developments to come.
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