In the spring semester of each school year, the Early Childhood Education I and II students are provided the opportunity to work with local day cares, preschools and elementary schools. The program has been in place for several years and was implemented while Dr. Gainey was still principal of Leesville Road High School.
Students must be 16 years of age or older to participate in this internship, and have taken and successfully passed the prerequisite course of Child Development. The current ECE students meet second and third periods under the direction of Mrs. Underwood.
The requirements for both EC I and II are similar, with extra assignments to distinguish the work of the EC II (honors) students. These students spend the semester compiling a portfolio of their lesson plans, notes and personal experiences.
Every EC I and II student is automatically a part of the internship by meeting the requirements for enrollment in the course.
On Mondays and Fridays, the class meets on campus; Tuesday through Thursday they visit other schools in the area to work with other children. The schedule of school visits changes from week to week, and ECE students are encouraged to seek out time with their desired grade level or age group.
The typical situation for off-campus learning is interaction with 1-5 year old children. Licensed teachers of those students are required to evaluate the ECE students’ interaction with the students and the effectiveness of their lesson plans.
While in class, ECE students create their own lesson plans for certain topics and demonstrate them to their classmates. Those being “taught” act in their imagined age demographic to add authenticity to the results of the lesson plan. These lessons vary in difficulty and student requirements based on the age group for which the plan is being created.
Every student keeps a “learning log” in class, which requires the contemplation of issues that might be a factor for a child of any age. An invaluable part of the teaching process for young children is the ability to support students emotionally, socially, physically and morally.
For Abby Leitner, senior, her reason for taking the class is simple. “I love kids,” Leitner stated. Her favorite activity that she participates in are the visits to Leesville Road Elementary School and working with the children there. “I want to work with kindergarten students,” said Leitner. “It is rewarding to work with actual [kindergarten] students because they are always so excited to see you during visits.”
The application process for the 2013 spring semester EC I and II classes began during the week of February 20 and will continue through course registration for the 2012-13 school year.