Master's degree in the Child Development program
Head of program: Prof. Esther Adi-Japha
The child development program in the School of Education at Bar-Ilan University was founded by the late Prof. Yaakov Rand and the late Prof. Pnina Klein; both of whom were recipients of the Israel Prize for Education.
Ours is the first study program in the field of child development established in Israel. Over the years, we have accumulated extensive knowledge, experience, and repute in Israel and abroad.
Our program aims:
1. To train outstanding graduate and doctoral students with a focus on early childhood research (birth to 8).
2. To qualify educators and therapy professionals in the early detection of developmental risk factors
3. To qualify educators and therapy professionals who wish to specialize in instruction, counseling, supervision and management of early childhood education (birth to 3)*.
4. To train educators and therapy professionals to work with young children and their families**.
* See details below regarding studies toward certification of instruction/educational counseling for preschool age, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Welfare.
** See details below for further studies in parental counseling according to the mediation model.
Our program is designed for early childhood educators, therapy professionals, practitioners working in the field, and interested students who wish to acquire professional knowledge and partake in research in the field of child development. Our students are taught with a strong focus on the social-emotional, sensory, motor and cognitive development of infants and toddlers, including early detection of challenges in these areas while accounting for the importance of the quality of adult-child interactions and other environmental variables. They learn to identify risk factors that can occur during the development process, diagnose quality learning environments for infants and young children- both within the family setting and in out-of-home care and education frameworks (such as day care centers, nursery schools and kindergartens). In addition, they are qualified to create relevant educational intervention programs and properly share acquired knowledge with the families, caregivers, and other educators with whom they work.
Our program includes practical training designed to prepare students for work in early childhood education and care. Students acquire the proper knowledge and skills to assess and measure child development using various methods, including skills acquired through observation of real-time practice. Studies focus on the social-emotional, sensory, motor and cognitive development of the child while considering the quality of the family life (i.e. the parent-child relationship), the educational-pedagogical environment, and the quality of the parent-teacher relationship. In addition, students are taught to develop intervention programs tailored to the individual needs of children, create age-appropriate settings of play, and use research-based tools in order to enhance the quality of interaction between them and the children with whom they work.
The program includes academic-research training for outstanding students, with the goal of conducting first-class academic work and publication in leading journals in the field (i.e. Child Development, Reading and Writing, etc.). For a list of the publications from the last five years of the various graduate students in cooperation with the members of the program, please contact the Head of Program - Prof. Esther Adi Yaffe email@example.com
Framework of studies
Studies are spread over two years, a total of four semesters (students in the thesis track can receive an extension of three years). The program is structured and students must study the full curriculum and meet all the study requirements in each year of study. The program includes theoretical and research studies alongside practicum courses.
Each student must register, as part of his or her studies, to one of the two practicum course options:
(A) Practical training in educational intervention in early childhood
Training in educational intervention is a requirement for the specialization in early childhood instruction and educational counseling (ages birth to 3) when receiving a government diploma (see below).
(B) Inborn and acquired self-regulation - Interaction with parents and caregivers
The practicum course in inborn and acquired self-regulation is a requirement for the specialization in parental counseling according to the mediation model (see below).
Both practicum courses also give specific attention to the subject of language development.
In addition, the students are required to complete basic studies in Judaism and English, as detailed on the website of the M.A. committee http://graduate-school.biu.ac.il/takanon (Hebrew)
1. Applicants must be bachelor's degree graduates with an average grade of 85 or above, with preference given to graduates of education, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, social work, cognitive/brain sciences or related fields.
2. Applicants must have experience in education and work with young children (ages birth to 8) or with their families.
3. Applicants who have completed their studies in fields other than early childhood, therapeutic, para-medical, or psychology are required to take two completion courses:
1. Developmental Psychology
2. Physiological Psychology
The abovementioned courses can be studied concurrently with graduate studies at an accredited academic institution on the condition that the applicant has received a grade of 80 or above.
Alternately, completion courses can also include:
3. Emotional Development in early childhood and school age
4. Language Development in early childhood and school age
5. Social Development in early childhood and school age
6. The Brain and Language
Track A – Master's degree with a thesis
This track is intended for students interested in receiving a master's degree in the Child Development program, including writing a thesis as part of the curriculum. The theoretical studies are 18 weekly hours and take place over a period of two years with the possibility of an extension for another year. The studies take place on Sundays and/or Mondays, wherein each year of study, there is the possibility to study one day a week.*
Course structure and days of study are subject to change from academic year to academic year.
Track B - Master's degree without a thesis
This track is intended for students interested in obtaining a master's degree in the Child Development program without writing a thesis. The theoretical studies are 22 weekly hours and take place over two years. They include a broad theoretical and research-oriented foundation in the field of child development. The studies take place on Sundays and/or Mondays, wherein each year of study there is the possibility to study one day a week.*
Those studying in this track are required to pass a final examination on the material to be determined by the M.A. Committee of the School of Education.
Course structure and days of study are subject to change from academic year to academic year.
*Not including the English and Judaic subject requirements
Quality of care and education in early childhood settings – Connecting between theory and practice in the field
"Our intention is not to increase learning only in specific areas, not to teach more words or anything else in mathematics but to prepare the intellectual and emotional system so that a child will want to learn from the environment and others and become an independent person of value in his own eyes." (Hebrew) - Prof. Pnina Klein (1945-2014)
The early years of childhood are critical years in child development. One social phenomenon of the modern age is the increasing number of infants and toddlers under the age of three who spend most of their waking hours in educational-care settings (i.e. home daycare, daycare centers, nurseries, kindergartens, etc.). Experts in early childhood education and development in Israel and around the world have been studying the possible effects of this phenomenon on the current and future development of young children. As the developmental characteristics and needs of early childhood are unique, professionals have formulated criteria and principles that define developmentally appropriate practice with infants and toddlers in educational frameworks (DAP Developmentally Appropriate Practice). The goal is to ensure that the development of these young children is not compromised by the adoption of educational programs that are not culturally appropriate.
The aim of the practicum course is to train professionals with expertise in evaluation and promotion of quality education related care and practice and to deepen the understanding of the unique needs of very young children who are integrated into pre-school settings. In the framework of the course, students are trained to work with infants and toddlers by combining theoretical knowledge in the field of early childhood development and education (birth to 3 years of age) and its implementation in the field in accordance with the document of standard for educational frameworks for toddlers (2011).
This document constitutes part of the provisions of the Supervision of Day Care Law proposed by the Ministry of Welfare.
In the unique training process at Bar-Ilan University, students acquire tools and approaches to improve the quality of education and care given to infants and toddlers. The training includes hands-on experience in public and private daycare centers, with babies and toddlers from the age of birth up to 3 years old, once a week for 5 hours. During the course of study students learn:
1. To observe and evaluate the individual developmental needs of infants and toddlers.
2. The practical application of developmental and pedagogical principles adapted to the age and needs of children
3. To use tools to assess the quality of various educational frameworks
4. To evaluate the quality of interaction between adults and children in their care using the More Intelligent and Sensitive Child (MISC) developed by Prof. Pnina Klein.
Training takes place over one academic school year, including the semester vacation. Throughout the academic year, every student receives three weeks of personal instruction on the premises by a professional counselor on behalf of the university. The training is based, among other things, on the evaluation of video recordings of students during interactions with children in the educational setting.
The practical training process in the field is accompanied by two courses:
"Educational Intervention in Early Childhood" (77-767), in which students analyze and process professional dilemmas based on the practical experience of the students in the field while connecting the relevant theoretical knowledge in the fields of development, treatment, education, and pedagogy of early childhood.
"Education and Early Childhood Care" (77-768), which deals with a variety of issues related to early childhood education policy in Israel, evaluation of the quality of activity in educational-therapeutic frameworks, and early childhood development.
Practicum courses are designed for candidates with experience in the field of care and education in preschool frameworks, such as daycare principals and supervisors, kindergarten teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, mental health therapists, and social workers.
The practicum training enables (subject to individual basis) continued specialization in educational counseling and instruction in early childhood educational setting (Hebrew). The specialization is in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Welfare and provides a government diploma which allows work in educational counseling and instruction in early childhood education. The specialization studies are subject to additional tuition.
Inborn and acquired self-regulation: Interaction with parents and caregivers
Self-regulation is a vital human capability that serves as the basis for the development of many abilities and skills and has a significant impact on one's functioning throughout life. Many studies on child development link the ability to self-regulate with optimal development. Other studies associate self-regulation disorders with developmental difficulties and psychopathology.
The ability to self-regulate develops rapidly in the first two years of life based on two main components:
- Inborn neurobiological processes that affect how the infant and child respond to sensory stimuli and events in their environment (sensory processing).
- Interpersonal processes that occur in daily interaction with parents and primary caregivers (parent-child relationships).
The practicum consists of four semester courses. Two courses (theoretical workshop and practicum - Dr. Jagerman) include a theoretical review of individual differences between children in their inborn neurophysiological capacity for sensory processing and self-regulation, while the other two courses deal with the acquired component of self-regulation (theoretical and practical) and central theories on the subject of parent-child relationships and ways of assessment and quality.
In the theoretical workshop, students will learn up-to-date theories surrounding sensory processing and self-regulation for understanding sensory processes, and the effect these processes have on the child's ability for self-regulation and adaptive behavior. Emphasis will be placed on the impact of these individual differences among children on the quality of interaction with the adults who care for them, and on the understanding of the processes of mutual regulation in the child-therapist interaction as the basis for the child's development. As part of the practicum, the students will experiment with analyzing their interactions with a young child photographed on video. In analyzing the photographed interactions, emphasis will be placed on interpreting the child's behavior through understanding his sensory-logical profile, as well as on the processes of mutual regulation and interaction mediation.
In the framework of the theoretical course about work with parents, students will familiarize themselves with the main processes related to parent-child relationships in the first years of life and the role of the parents in its various aspects and characteristics in this context. In addition, the course will include an introduction on recent approaches to working with parents of young children, based on major theoretical models as well as intervention studies. The purpose of the practicum course in the parent-child relationship is to enable students to familiarize themselves with key tools for assessing the quality of the interaction between the child and the parent, both in research and in the clinical field of preschool age education. In the span of the practicum course, the students will practice analyzing parent-child interactions with a young child filmed on video. The analysis of the filmed interactions will focus on observing the parent's behavior, the child's behavior and the interaction between them, with an emphasis on parental behaviors that promote development.
Continuing Education in parental counseling in self-regulation based on the mediation model
There is an option for students to continue their studies beyond the scope of the practicum course in Inborn and acquired self-regulation toward a certification in a research-based intervention program to promote the quality of parent-child interaction according to the methodological approach. The training will emphasize parent-child interaction for children with regulatory difficulties. The students will acquire practical tools that will enable them to instruct parents of young children in their work. Students who complete their continuing studies will receive a certificate from the Harris program - Bar-Ilan University.
- Applicants must register through the online registration form.
After registering, the following documents must be sent to the M.A. Committee office:
- Graduation certificate – official and original (should include the stamp of the accredited university or establishment, signature, and establishment logo)
- An updated curriculum vita (CV)
- Photograph of Israeli identity card (Te'udat Zehut)
- Passport picture
Address: M.A. Admissions Committee, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 5290002
- Two recommendations must be sent – a letter of recommendation from an employer and an academic recommendation (students who completed their degree requirements beyond the two year period can instead submit two letters of recommendation letters from an employer).
The recommendations must arrive at the School of Education, the secretariat for M.A. studies directly from the person providing the recommendation and not from the applicant and in one of the following formats:
Mail: Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 5290002, School of Education, M.A. studies
An invitation to an interview is dependent on the completion of registration and confirmation of receiving the abovementioned forms by the university.
Applicants who are eligible will be invited to an interview
The above mentioned are the minimum requirements and do not guarantee acceptance
For more information, please refer to the program secretariat: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone reception hours Sunday through Thursday: 10: 30-11: 30 and 13: 30-14: 30
Reception hours on Sunday, Wednesday between the hours of 11: 30-14: 00 and on Mondays, Thursdays between 8:30 and 10:30.
On Tuesdays, there is no reception
Study program – Track B (no thesis)
Study program – Track A (thesis)