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What is a practicum class?
Students in the Early Childhood Education program are expected to complete assigned practicum classes in order to earn their certificate or degree. Each course requires that the student work with young children in the college ECE lab or in an approved early childhood classroom. In addition the student completes assignments related to this placement. A final portfolio containing the assignments and illustrating the student’s work at the assigned placement must be submitted at the end of the quarter. The hours for each practicum class are as follows:
ECE 103, 104, 214, and 215 – Each class requires 44 hours with children in addition to a one-hour weekly meeting with the instructor.
ECE 181, 182 – Each class requires 66 hours with preschool children in the campus Montessori lab school plus one hour meeting each week with the instructor.
ECE 265 – Requires 88 hours with children in an approved Montessori classroom serving children between the ages of 3-6 years.
EDUC 210 – Requires 88 hours with students in an approved elementary setting along with weekly Internet participation.
ECE 250 – This practicum is required of those who are completing their Associate of Applied Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education. It is the final class of the degree and documents all other ECE classes in an E-portfolio. The student must meet with the instructor weekly plus work in the classroom a minimum of eight hours a week. The student is expected to implement all knowledge gained in his or her previous courses by assuming a lead teacher position for the quarter in an approved practicum location, which can be the student’s own work site upon approval from instructor.
What if I live out of the area and cannot do my practicum at one of the assigned locations?
Students living outside the local area (such as those taking the course online) can apply to have their chosen site approved by the instructor prior to the start of class. These students are required to complete and submit an application showing that their site meets the expectations for the placement; NAEYC accreditation is highly recommended. The selected site must follow the description for the appropriate class prefix and number. In addition to the application, the student must provide photographs of the setting along with a letter from the school’s teacher or administrator stating their approval for the placement.
Can I challenge any of these classes?
Students who feel that they meet or exceed the requirements of one or more of the practicum classes must request a “challenge packet” to complete. This packet requires that the student answer some key questions about his or her prior experience plus complete all assignments for the course. What the student is actually challenging are the hours that he or she has already worked with children plus the hours with the instructor. The coursework remains the same. In some instances, the student may be required to complete a portion of their hours in the Campus Lab School. Students who hold a current CDA may challenge the practicum classes without having to submit all assignments; they may instead complete an abbreviated version of the challenge packet. All students must submit an evaluation/recommendation form from an educator who can attest to the student’s competencies. The CDA student must also meet with Green River Community College’s CDA instructor for final approval. ECE 250 and ECE 265 cannot be challenged. Challenges are subject to both instructor and department approval.