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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Oct. 6, 2017

Spring 2018 course invites students to study child development, visit Northern Ireland

By Taylor Middleton, media relations assistant

Two Northwest Missouri State University faculty members will offer an opportunity to travel to Northern Ireland next spring while studying childhood imaginary play and thinking.

Dr. Keely Cline, assistant professor of psychology, and Elizabeth Dimmitt, senior instructor of psychology, will lead the experience May 2-10. They will host an information session to discuss the program at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in Colden Hall Room 1600.

The experience will take a multidisciplinary approach while helping students develop a deeper understanding of development in early childhood and exploring children's unique ways of thinking. 

Interested students must enroll in Perspectives of Magical Thinking and Imaginary Play in Childhood. The course is a study of childhood thought, focused on the concepts of magical thinking, imagination and creativity. A minimum 2.5 grade-point average is required.

Coursework prior to the study abroad experience will have students combining theoretical and research-based readings on focused childhood thinking and imaginary play. Students also will read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis and explore ideas portrayed by the children with magical thinking and creative imaginations.

“This class has a wider appeal in that it explores developmental topics as portrayed in a classic novel, prompting us to consider the meaning of childhood in our society,” Cline said. “Furthermore, learning will unfold against a backdrop of mystical Northern Ireland, feeding the imagination and nurturing one’s inner child.”

In Northern Ireland, students will visit destinations and experiences relevant to Lewis’ writing of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” including the importance of play and experiences in nature. The tentative itinerary includes visits to the C.S. Lewis trail, Kilbroney Forest, Giants Castaway, Tollymore Forest Park and Dunluce Castle as well as a Grand Opera show and a bus tour of Belfast.

“When students participate in study abroad, the world is their classroom,” Cline said. “Leading a study abroad course is much more than leading a class. It is taking part in an adventure. In addition to gaining knowledge about the topics that are the focus of our class, students have the opportunity to further develop cultural competence and have a richer and deeper view of the world.”

The study abroad package also includes the costs of international airfare, entrance fees and reservations. It includes eight nights at the Belfast City Cathedral Quarter, daily breakfast, special welcome and farewell dinners, transportation, culture experiences and field trips with bilingual guides, academic and professional excursions and a coordinator to accompany the group during all planned visits and excursions.

Interested students must register by Friday, Dec. 1. A $200 deposit is due upon acceptance. Total cost is $3,225 which does not include the cost of tuition.

For more information, contact Dimmitt at or Cline at

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468