Early Childhood Model Classroom & Practicum
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.
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: