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MA Master's Child Study and Education

April 19, 2014

My decision to pursue a Master’s degree in this discipline results from a deeply felt desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children. I believe that the substantial child related voluntary activities that I have undertaken together with the success that I have enjoyed in my undergraduate psychology studies, involvement in research work and continuing informal study in the subject have provided a very firm foundation for my successful involvement in the program.

 I have always felt an affinity for children and had a general understanding of the immense importance of early experiences in shaping adult behavior. However my passion to study child-centered psychology was really fired during the second year of my undergraduate studies during the Child Developmental course. I watched a one year old child repeatedly throwing a spoon on the floor and observed the concentration and interest etched on his tiny face as he analyzed the relationship between the causes and effects involved. I was as fascinated by him and his reactions just as much as he was by watching the spoon arc through the air before it struck the floor each time. I realized that I was watching an experiment being successfully conducted by a tiny infant and felt enthralled as well as privileged to be a witness to it. I also understood that just as one care giver might consider this action in the same light as I did, another might regard it as irritating and pointless behavior and that this difference in understanding and attitude would have an effect on the child’s next ‘experiment’ and the results could be pivotal to the child’s whole future development and outlook.  I was ‘hooked’ and a determination to study the subject was fired and I have not wavered in that decision since.

 Another aspect of developmental studies that particularly fascinated me involves the dramatic effects on a child arising from the quality of his/her relationship with caregivers. The importance of security and consistency of care provision in the shaping of a child’s positive self image, promotion of emotional stability and consequent success in relationships, academic achievement and general well being can hardly be overstated, as has been demonstrated in so many studies. If we can persuade a sufficient number of deficient caregivers of the long term effects of their relationship and attitude to the child, we can go some way to improving society as well as the life of the individual child.

 My interest in the subject has deepened in the time since I made my initial decision and I carefully read the latest published research on the subject. For instance I have just become aware of very recent research demonstrating that a child who has been bullied by a sibling is between two and four times more likely to be bullied in school. The role of siblings on child development has perhaps not been fully explored and is an area in which further fruitful research might be undertaken and I would love to be involved in doing so. I am also fascinated by the fact that the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate still continues. Though I tend towards the ‘tabla rasa’ theory, I remain open- minded and look forward to the day when research resolves the issue and we can see how practice can be amended to take account of the outcome. 

 I concluded, some time ago, that there were few subjects as worthy of study and research as developmental psychology. One of my life aims has always been to ‘add to the sum of human happiness’ and I cannot see any better way than by pursuing studies, research and practical involvement in this vital subject.

 I have worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Psychology at the University of XXXX and enjoyed the work very much. I understand that successful research requires particular characteristics such as intellectual curiosity, determination, diligence and an ability to maintain very high level of interest in the area of focus. I am convinced that I possess these characteristics and it is my long term goal to be a successful researcher in this field and to pass on my knowledge to others.

 I am aware that cultural sensitivity and awareness is essential in this area of study and work. I have happily interacted with people of many cultural and social backgrounds since moving to Canada, six years ago. I have worked as a volunteer in various capacities to broaden my exposure to others, to learn more about my fields of interest as well as ‘giving something back’ to those less fortunate than myself. I enjoy being exposed to new cultures and enjoy sharing information about my own. I also possess a well developed sense of humor and fun that enables me to relate well to others and especially to children.

 I have significant practical experience of working with children from a wide spectrum of cultures and social situations as a volunteer in Summer Camps, a playschool and by involvement in the ‘Peace by Peace’ project at the University of XXXX. This practical engagement with children of various ages, types and backgrounds has been immensely valuable and has strengthened my determination to work for their betterment. Among a few of the important things that I learned are: the need to treat each child as an individual and recognize that being ‘different’ is not necessarily problematic; the value of looking for the child who ‘hangs back’ and encourage them to become involved; the vital role of creativity and play in the learning process; and the importance of being highly observant and being sensitive to non-verbal communication and responding appropriately to such signals. Perhaps the most important fact that I learned was that each session was just as much a learning opportunity for me as for the children. The feeling of satisfaction gained when one sees a child grasp a concept or share a toy for the first time is truly immense.

 I have carefully researched the available programs and regard that offered at the Institute is by far the ‘best fit’ for my purposes. I seek to join a challenging program in a supportive academic environment and wish to have the opportunity for a significant amount of practical experience. Naturally, I am also looking for an impressive faculty with a reputation for undertaking ‘cutting edge’ research.  I am also interested in ensuring that satisfying and challenging employment is likely to be available to me once I have qualified. I believe that the program fully meets all these criteria. I know that there will be many well qualified applicants for the program but I genuinely believe that I am an exceptional candidate. I hold a degree in a relevant subject; I am an academically successful; I have research experience in a related field; I have significant practical experience of engaging with children; but my main recommendation is a genuine and heart-felt passion for helping children to realize their potential for success and happiness.

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