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Early Childhood Practicum I: Observing a Child through Family/ Cultural Contexts

Early Childhood Practicum I and II is a year-long course that provides graduate students in the Special and General Early Childhood Education programs the opportunity to integrate theoretical knowledge with guided practical experience as they work individually with a child and the child's family. Early Childhood Practicum I addresses two areas of study that are fundamental for early childhood professionals: 1) observation as the basis of early childhood assessment and 2) culturally responsive, family-based practice. The overarching goal of the course is that students become reflective teacher/practitioners, developing a deeper awareness of themselves and of the life experience of the children and families with whom they work. During Early Childhood Practicum I, students learn to observe and record children's behavior in a variety of settings: home, school, and community. Through regular interactions with a child, students construct a full, respectful and increasingly complex understanding of the child, as he/she exists in his/her family, culture, and community, with special emphasis on the strengths of the child and his/her social environment. Based on analysis and synthesis of their observations, students will develop and present a thorough, detailed, and respectful study of a child that will inform their work with the child during the second semester. Through discussion, course readings, and analysis of observations, students develop greater awareness of their own perspectives and beliefs and the ways their personal experiences affect what they notice and how they interpret their observations of children and families. Students will also begin to integrate information on adult development, family systems theory, and cultural/linguistic diversity as a basis for developing relationships with the child's family. Prerequisites EDUC 500 or EDUC 800; and EDUC 803.Co-requisite: EDUC 892 (with the exception of students in the Infancy programs).