Discussions of race, gender, sexuality, and other topics have become contentious in the current political climate, and critical race theory has become a bogeyman for those seeking to steer the conversation away from systemic discrimination and marginalization. BU Wheelock faculty emphasize the importance of holding these difficult conversations in the classroom, especially for youth of color and LGBTQ+ students.
BU Wheelock's Child Life and Family-Centered Care program has a long history dating back to the 1960s, when faculty and alumni at Wheelock College drew attention to chronically ill children's need for play and enrichment as they spent long stretches of time in hospital wards. In 1972, Wheelock founded the first academic program designed to train child life specialists, and in 2022, BU Wheelock celebrated the 50th anniversary of the program.
Founded by Sarah Besse ('17), Shela Sinelien ('19), and Sara Murray, the Boston Outdoor Preschool Network (BOPN) is a nature-based preschool that immerses kids in the outdoors. Now, the pair is looking to expand nature-based schooling to reach into even more communities.
The pandemic disrupted the lives of students around the world, forcing them to face questions about life and death, take on more responsibilities at home, encounter difficult feelings, and reorganize their support networks. Teachers struggled as well, with some even leaving the profession altogether. Two BU Wheelock studies explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and teachers in Massachusetts.
Grace Kim, a clinical associate professor in BU Wheelock's counseling psychology program, shares tips for teachers who must navigate difficult conversations about race, privilege, and oppression in the classroom.
Melissa Holt, a professor of counseling psychology at BU Wheelock, is investigating bias-based harassment and bullying of marginalized students at school. Alongside her coinvestigators—Jennifer Greif Green, also of BU Wheelock, and Gabriel "Joey" Merrin of Syracuse University—Holt is surveying teenagers to learn who is bullying them, why they are being bullied, and how schools respond to harassment.
In a research collaboration, BU Wheelock's Center for Future Readiness and the Boston-area nonprofit Sociedad Latina have joined forces to prepare Latinx middle-schoolers for STEM careers. The Center and Sociedad Latina have created a series of after-school courses in which students learn about data analysis, computational thinking, network modeling, and other technical topics.