Should Child Development Classes be Mandatory?

Should Child Development Classes be Mandatory?

Olivia Cantaodori ‘23 


     At Bethel High School, Child Development classes are offered as an optional humanities credit, usually directed at students who are interested in pediatric or prenatal fields. However, these are also classes that tend to dive into deeper and more practical problems as well.

     In Child Development 1, the course discusses not only a child’s fine and gross motor skills but also the physiological aspects that impact people far into adulthood. Child Development 2 goes through the pregnancy process as well as its potential dangers. 

     Psychology and childbearing are skills that many students will find themselves needing as they move into adulthood, however, few students who are not directly interested in the field enroll in Child Development classes –and those who do are mostly female. 

     “I do believe child development should be a required elective,” said Child Development teacher Mrs. Pierpaoli. “These classes can prepare students for their adult life and also their teenage years.” 

      For those who have taken the class, the knowledge gained has had a positive impact.

     “In the future, I really want to become a kindergarten teacher,” Elliot William ‘24 said. “It can be embarrassing for some boys to take this class, but I guess my drive overwhelmed what others can think of me.” 

      For those not as passionate about careers with children and babies, the class offers other benefits such as learning how to swaddle and clean a newborn.

     “Many students have cousins, younger siblings, or will be lucky enough to have children someday so they must know how to provide care for those children,” Mrs. Pierpaoli said. 

     Taking the classes may help students prepare for their future, however, not all students might be comfortable with having to take on another graduation requirement. Though Child Development classes often go more in-depth into the process of having, raising and interacting with children, it’s important to note that like other required electives, this could distract students from focusing on career-driving classes. 

     The necessary skills that are taught in these classes raise the question of whether or not some sort of Child Development class should be made mandatory to better prepare students for their future.