Early Childhood: Teacher of Students with and without Disabilities: Grades PreK - 2

Summer Session: 6 credits

Students in the Early Childhood Licensure program begin the summer session with courses that familiarize them with schools and the children and families they serve through an immersion experience in Expeditionary Learning. They also consider how technology is used in primary grade classrooms and how it can enhance learning and instruction when used in careful balance with and an active, hands-on curriculum.

Schools, Schooling and Society (4 credits)

This course familiarizes students with theories of early childhood development, theories of teaching and learning and current initiatives in education reform such as Race to the Top, Common Core Standards and assessment of student learning. In keeping with Massachusetts Department of Education mandates for approved licensure programs, the course also provides foundational readings to prepare teachers for work in a diverse society. Topics include knowledge of: subject matter; curriculum; learners; educational goals and assessments; sociocultural contexts; and pedagogical content. Key tenets of Expeditionary Learning are also explored.

Teaching with Technology (2 credits)

Students will read current research examining the effectiveness of teaching with technology in early childhood settings as they explore questions about the role of technology in 21st century education. Students will experiment with a variety of tools such as iPads, smart board, EKLMO, digital recorders, along with web-based tools appropriate for the early childhood environment. Use of digital media as a resource for teachers will be emphasized, with students developing electronic portfolios to document their growth in addressing performance assessment standards. Review of the work of national teacher technology organizations and resources will also be covered.

Fall Semester: 16 credits

Developing Literacy in Early Childhood Classrooms (4 credits)

Through a balanced and integrated approach, students will learn to develop literacy in an early childhood setting. Class members will learn about emergent literacy, diagnosing language needs, integrating phonics skills in a literature-based classroom, the teaching of process writing, children’s fiction and nonfiction literature, and the use of multiple forms of assessment and the effective use of data to inform instruction. Course evaluation is based on written and oral work done individually and in groups. Requires a pre-practicum.

Developing Math / Science / Technology Instruction and Curriculum (4 credits)

Students will learn about inquiry-based science/math curriculum and use of technology in the classroom. They will construct more extensive understandings of science/math instruction by developing lessons that implement the Massachusetts Frameworks. At the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst, MA, and in classes on campus, emphasis will be on learning diverse management and instructional practices, such as the use of manipulatives, problem solving, cooperative learning, and project-based learning. Students will become more adept at developing effective approaches to using assessment to guide instruction.

Teaching English Language Learners (4 credits)

This courses addresses core competencies outlined in the Massachusetts Department of Education English Language Learner certificate requirement. Readings in language acquisition theory, language learning and teaching, effective lesson design and assessment, Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol and knowledge of intercultural learners are covered. Students will have experience developing and adapting lessons and curriculum to address the needs of students in their pre-practicum settings.

Mathematics or Children’s Literature (4 credits)

Students will have the option of either taking either a mathematics or children’s literature course as their fourth course for the fall semester.

Spring Semester: 14 credits

Students complete a full-time, semester-long student teaching semester (the practicum) as well as a weekly seminar in which they reflect on their developing practice. Students also begin to explore the job market, participate in practice interviews, attend job market fairs, and meet with Career Development Center staff. Upon successful completion of the semester, students are institutionally recommended for licensure to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Student Teaching in Early Childhood Schools (10 credits)

Students participate in full-time student teaching in both early childhood and Grade 1 or 2 classrooms until the end of the semester (according to the public school calendar). During this semester-long field-based placement, students hone classroom management skills, implement an extended integrated curriculum unit, deliver lessons in all content areas, and develop a wide range of assessment skills. The practicum culminates in a number of weeks of Lead Teaching, during which students are responsible for managing all aspects of the classroom program. Students work with classroom teachers and college supervisors to address Professional Teaching Standards as required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Pre-service Performance Assessment Program.

Practicum Seminar in Teaching and Learning: Early Childhood Education (4 credits)

This weekly seminar provides students with opportunities to examine curriculum development models, develop an integrated curriculum unit utilizing state and national content area standards, review researched based models of classroom management, and engage in dialogue with practicing teachers regarding numerous aspects of teaching and student learning. Additional topics covered include the arts in education, physical education, legal obligations of teachers, and home-school communication. As is the case in all pre-licensure programs, there is continued emphasis on addressing the needs of students with disabilities and English Language Learners.