Early Childhood Unified Program Structure
Field experiences in Early Childhood Unified are offered as applied courses that support the supervised practice of professional skills in high quality programs serving infant, toddler, preschool and kindergarten-aged children with and without disabilities and their families. These courses are intended for persons currently working toward the Kansas State Department of Education teaching license in Early Childhood Unified (Birth through kindergarten) as well as persons interested in expanding their skills in teaching infants, toddlers and young children with and without disabilities. All field experience courses address the Kansas Professional Teaching Standards and the Kansas Early Childhood Unified (Birth through Kindergarten) Teaching Standards, and reflect the Council for Exceptional Children-Division of Early Childhood (CEC-DEC), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAYEC) and the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) joint positions on effective practices for the preparation of early childhood personnel. Pre-requisites include admittance to the ECU* graduate program, completion of appropriate instructional methods course, and the approval of the academic faculty advisor.
Two practicum/student teaching experiences are required for all Master's degree in Early Childhood Unified students. Both experiences will be taken as SPED 739 ECU Student Teaching. SPED 739 - The student teaching course(s) is an intense, direct teaching field-based experience. Two three credit hours – two semesters long courses of SPED 739 in two types of settings (i.e., infant and/or toddler, and preschool, or kindergarten) are required for the Early Childhood Unified Education (birth through Kindergarten) Masters Program. Settings must reflective provisions of services for all children including those with disabilities and those at risk for disabilities. The Kansas Professional Education Standards, along with the Kansas Early Childhood Unified (Birth through kindergarten) Teaching Standards, are embedded into the course objectives and requirements. Competency of these standards must be demonstrated. Students will work directly under the supervision of qualified personnel in the field of Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Depending on the age of the children served and the nature of the student teaching site, each student teaching experience includes either the development of a two-week lead teaching experience in the classroom or equivalent lead role appropriate to the context and role of the mentor/clinical professional/educator. Students will be required to: (a) provide details about their classroom/program setting and describe the learning environment; (b) set learning goals/outcomes for a variety of classroom, playgroup activities, and/or home visit contexts; (c) devise and implement their instructional and home visit plans; (d) demonstrate competence in supporting families; (e) demonstrate competence in communicating and collaborating with program personnel (i.e., para-educators, related service personnel, etc.); and (f) develop, implement and use for instructional planning child progress monitoring procedures. Ongoing meetings with mentor/clinical professional/educator and university supervisors are designed to facilitate both reflective and instructional learning. Participation is required in all seminars held on related content areas throughout the semester.
ECU Field Experience Requirements and Procedures: Students completing the Early Childhood Unified Education Masters program must enroll in two 3-credit hour sections of student teaching (SPED 739). Students must choose two placements: an infant and/or toddler setting, and a preschool or kindergarten setting. The specific settings will be determined together with the student, student's academic advisor, and the ECU field services coordinator. Each 3 credit-hour section is to fulfill a minimum of 240 hours in the field over a 14-week period. Only one 3-credit-hour section of SPED 739 may be taken during a single semester. Student must apply for assignment to a student teaching setting one semester prior to the experience. While students are asked to indicate various factors that may affect their specific assignments, the ECU faculty and the ECU field services coordinator make the selection of the actual sites and the onsite mental/clinical professional. The ECU Masters program has a number of approved student teaching sites that offer a range of excellent experiences for our students. Access to personal transportation is highly recommended since many sites are in neighboring communities and require car travel. For those students with no access to transportation, every attempt will be made to assign them to sites that may be reached via public transportation within the Lawrence community.