HomeExemplary PracticesExemplary Faculty PracticesSpring 2013University of Houston-Clear Lake | Early Childhood Model Classroom and Practicum
  • Early Childhood Model Classroom & Practicum

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    Dr. Elizabeth Beavers and Dr. Donna Kirkwood
    University of Houston - Clear Lake

  • About Our Practice

    Over the last year, we have created a model early childhood classroom in which we have been able to model best practices and provide hands on learning for our early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education candidates. In addition, we created a "lab school-like" practicum experience where candidates were able to work with community children in a supervised environment where we modeled best practices along with assessment and guided reflection.

  • Key Practice Features

    When teaching early childhood education courses, many times discussions focus on how materials are used, how children interact with their environment and how the environment impacts behavior and learning. Having a model setting where candidates can see and explore a high quality environment can provide a frame of reference for learning about the varied benefits of the classroom environment and in teaching about all aspects of early childhood education. It’s sometimes difficult to adequately explain to candidates how important the environment is when they work with children. We have found that it is much more effective to immerse candidates in an authentic classroom that bridges theory and best practices. Below are a few examples of how the environment has provided a meaningful context for learning:

    • Simulating authentic assessment by observing other candidates playing in centers
    • Assessing the classroom using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS) to see what additional materials are needed (Cryer, Harms, & Riley, 2003)
    • Modeling creative activities by allowing candidates to explore the art center freely
    • Using math manipulatives to practice assessing children’s mathematical abilities and asking appropriate questions to enhance learning
    • Exploring classroom materials and then identifying what national and state standards are being practiced during different types of purposeful play
    • Providing candidates with child profiles (including developmental objectives), assigning them a center, and having them plan for embedded learning experiences
    • Having candidates create adaptive materials based on objectives in sample Individual Family Service Plans (IFSPs) and Individual Education Plans (IEPs) that could be infused in various centers
  • Welcome
  • About Our Practice
  • Key Practice Features
  • Full Practice Description



About Faculty Practices

Exemplary faculty practices are innovative methods of conveying both knowledge and experience to teacher candidates in such a way as to prepare them to excel as leaders in the classroom.

Such practices may be the work on one faculty member, a group of faculty members or a department-wide practice in a teacher preparation program.

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Exemplary Defined

Exemplary faculty practices are those that provide teacher candidates a deep understanding of both content and the ability to put that content into classroom practice.

The ability to effectively translate knowledge into student learning helps make the difference between ordinary teachers and exceptional teachers.

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Key Practice Elements

Exemplary faculty practices share a common thread of creativity and innovation in their design.

These practices are intended to provide the optimum environment for teacher candidates to put learning theory into practice.  Often, exemplary faculty practices sharpen one or more key teaching competencies.

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