Early childhood educators provide child care and learning experiences for children in preschool/ childcare programs. This is accomplished by providing rich learning opportunities through play and sensory experiences. Childcare teachers are responsible to set up a classroom that is divided into specific learning center areas to create an environment that is developmentally appropriate and provides children with a wide variety of choices for learning and socialization.
Students are taught how to write developmentally appropriate lessons plans to teach basic concepts in a wide variety of curriculum areas including literacy, math and science. Students are trained to deliver their lesson using a thematic approach using sensory and open-ended creative materials. Students are also trained on how to create a learning environment that promotes physical, social/emotional and cognitive development by creating safe and caring environments that are designed to be rich child-centered learning opportunities.
Students spend approximately 8- 10 hours a week at an approved practicum site each of the four semesters that they are attending the theory classes. They write and teach one lesson each week that is observed and evaluated by their practicum mentor. These lesson plans are posted to a blackboard class. Students then read and evaluate lesson plans written by other students in the class each week. Students are also taught how to write observations to assess individual children as part of their practicum requirement. They are then required to use the individual child assessments to create a target or focus for their lessons each week. This form of lesson plan development creates purposeful lessons that are based on the developmental level and interests of the children.
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