Bachelor of Child Studies

Experiential learning

Experiential learning is an essential component of the Bachelor of Child Studies Degree. These opportunities (fieldwork, practicum and capstone courses) introduce students to a wide array of practice, agencies and skilled professionals. Graduates will have completed three practica over the course of study, along with a capstone course. These provide students with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in their related discipline. The practicum is a place to begin learning from others and to receive supervision in the development of core skills for competent early childhood education or child and youth care practice.

Some practicum agencies where our students have been placed include, but are not limited to:

Child and Youth Care Counsellor Early Learning and Child Care Leadership Practicum
Boys and Girls Club Akidemy Preschool 12 Community Safety Initiative
Boys and Girls Club, Airdrie Bow Valley Child Care Centre Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta
Calgary Board of Education Bowmont Community Preschool Autism Aspergers Friendship Society
Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth Calgary Board of Education Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary
Children's Cottage Calgary Urban Project Society Bloom Wellness
Cornerstone Youth Centre Child Development Dayhomes Bridges Social Development (Canada Bridges)
Enviros Churchill Park Family Care Society Catholic Family Services
Families Matter Families Matter Calgary Urban Project Society
Foothills School Division Heartland Agency Foothills Creative Beginnings
Hull Services Louise Dean Little Red Reading House
Janus Academy Métis Little Sundance Daycare Trellis Society
McMan Youth Family & Community Services Mount Royal University Child Care YWCA and YMCA
Rockyview School Division Providence
Trellis Society Renfrew Educational Services
Woods Homes Rhyme and Reason Early Learning 
YWCA and YMCA Rosedale Community Preschool
Thornhill Child Care Society
Topp Kidds
University of Calgary Child Care
Wee Wild Ones and Of the Wild
YMCA Child Development Centres

Bachelor of Child Studies Capstone Projects Each year of the four-year program, experiential learning components in and out the classroom allow you to put theory into practice and gain valuable skills that will support you later on in your career. A fourth-year community-based capstone course brings your learning together and prepares you for the workforce or graduate studies.

Here are some of the innovative and impactful projects that our students have worked on over the past few years:

2021/22 Capstone Projects

Terrace Road Elementary School — Calgary Board of Education
Faculty: Tricia Bianchini

In this Capstone, CY and EL majors had the opportunity to guide and learn from each other as they worked collaboratively on projects and in the classroom environment. Capstone students change the lives of vulnerable children/youth by nurturing and strengthening their individual resiliency and by building up the communities that surround them.

Students worked in the classrooms of Terrace Road School. They contributed to the development and implementation of practical educational opportunities aimed at supporting the children’s social-emotional development and life skills beyond the classroom. They worked individually with students to help them gain the confidence and skill they needed to navigate life. Students choose a team project of interest. Project teams: created education/lessons for the classrooms; strengthened the community within the classroom, the school and the schools’ neighbouring communities of Montgomery/Bowness; organized and built community within this Capstone experience.

Youth Unlimited — Streetlight Program: Carissa Lawton
Next Step Ministries: Danielle Stone
Faculty:Chelan McCallion
“A community where hope burns brighter: breaking cycles of addictions, homeless and exploitation.”

Frequently, when youth and young adults have made the courageous step of finding a way to leave a lifestyle of exploitation, there is no safe place for them to go. Detox beds, which do not address trauma, and are not specific to exploitation, are few and difficult to obtain.
Furthermore, not every youth is facing substance use concerns. Drug treatment programs have long wait lists and again, are not specific to the exploitative lifestyle or trauma. Sexual exploitation often does not fit domestic violence shelters mandates or shelters and are
frequently full within Calgary.

Students will assist in designing a program (both housing & day-to-day living) which addresses the gap in services for youth and young adults aged 16-22 years old, who are survivors of sexual exploitation, human trafficking and survival sex. These individuals do not have Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act (PSECA) status, are not mandated to attend programming and are emancipated. Students will also assist in providing research and best practice for programming which addresses the gap of individuals wanting to immediately exit sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and survival sex, commonly know as First Stage. Students will be able to access current models of service within Next Step Ministries and YU-Turn Housing and research other choice-based services within the city of Calgary and abroad. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with community partners focused on ending exploitation of youth.

Students will engage in a variety of tasks looking at best practice for this particular population. A basic framework will be provided; however, this project can evolve based on students’ findings. Students will learn and understand the terms sexual exploitation, human trafficking and survival sex through guest speakers and current programming. Gain an understanding of current resources and services available to this particular demographic. Design and implement trauma informed programming. Examine current housing market, purchasing property, and the importance of having a safe housing model.

Complete grants and fundraising tasks. Design surveys and interview questions to gain a better understanding of needs within current practice models. The end goal is to open up a housing model at the end of Capstone.

Students interested in this capstone should have an interest in the outlined demographic, willingness to work within a team environment and independently, an overall interest in program design and awareness of Streetlight, YU Turn Housing & Next Step Ministries as faith-based organizations.

Wee Wild Ones Capstone To Design Inclusive Programs for Children and Youth
MRU Faculty Supervisor; Carolyn Bjartveit, PhD
WWO Project Coordinator: Hannele Gordon 

The goal of this capstone project was to design inclusive programs for children and youth and to decolonize and enact anti-bias education practices within the WWO and WFI organizations. Mount Royal University students developed and implemented inclusive early learning and childcare curriculum, anti-bias staff training for WWO child and youth care frontline workers and developed partnerships and fundraising through child and youth programs within the Not-for-Profit sector.

Project 1: Early Childhood Curriculum and Design

Students examined similarities and differences between WWO’s pedagogical approaches and the Indigenous ways of knowing community partners within Treaty 7 Territory. They discussed ways to develop an inclusive classroom and made recommendations in consultation with WWO staff, MRU faculty and Indigenous leaders.

Project 2: Team Experiences and Health and Wellness Training

Students built and maintained a decolonized, non-bias work environment by establishing learning opportunities for staff focused on health and self-care. They designed a wellness manual in collaboration with Indigenous leaders and included the Medicine Wheel and Plains Cree teachings.

Project 3: Supports and Programming for WilderFutures

Students advanced the not-for-profit organization, WilderFutures, through partnerships and fundraising initiatives in collaboration with the Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY). The students developed an electronic toolkit, the alliedFutures project, and planned education sessions to increase people’s understanding of decolonization and the steps from Truth to Reconciliation. The education sessions and toolkit were launched in March 2022.

Bridging Community-University Evaluation Gaps
Community Partner: The Evaluation Capacity Network (ECN)
Faculty Lead: Monica Pauls

The Evaluation Capacity Network (ECN) is an interdisciplinary and intersectoral partnership, housed within the Community-University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth, and Families (CUP) at the University of Alberta. The ECN aims to advance evaluation practices within the early childhood field.

The purpose of this Capstone was to meaningfully engage students in evaluation capacity-building efforts, providing them with opportunities to build on and apply their leadership, research and evaluation skills as they respond to community needs. Students were assigned to three working groups based on their interests and experiences and were mentored by faculty and research staff. They contributed to four areas of capacity building over the academic year: 1) community needs assessment, 2) community-based research and evaluation, 3) teaching and learning evaluation models and 4) evaluation knowledge mobilization. Additional training, professional development, and networking opportunities were provided throughout the year.

WP Puppet Theatre Society (WPTS)
Faculty: Pat Kostouros & Susan Garrow Oliver
Wendy Passmore & Erin Prosser, W.P. Puppet Theatre Society

WP Puppet Theatre Society (WPTS) uses the power of puppetry to impact positive social change. Through puppetry-infused learning opportunities and performances, they inspire, challenge, empower, support expression and encourage empathy in audiences and program participants.

Through an initial exploration of research, students learned how applied puppetry can enhance and support the role of child and youth care counselors and early childhood educators in their everyday work with children & youth. Students participated in the planning and support of an international puppetry conference, presented pop up puppet shows to other practitioners and families as part of community outreach, write and submitted an article for publication, prepared resource documents related to applied puppetry for working with diverse children and youth, and a professional presentation for ongoing use at conferences/public presentation. Students had a significant role in bringing awareness of applied puppetry within human services fields and its impact on positive social change.