EC redesign SIUE
EC redesign SIUE
Hi Everyone – In an effort to get some discussion going regarding EC program redesign, I thought I’d share a little about our journey at SIUE. This is just an incomplete overview of our work in progress. I hope it starts some conversation for all of us. We still have a lot to do and could benefit from exchanging ideas.
WHO WE ARE
We are a small program with 2 full time tenure track faculty. In addition, we’ve had several very knowledgeable and experienced non-tenure track instructors/supervisors who have actively participated in the redesign process. We have a traditional on campus cohort of 20 – 30 students entering as juniors every fall. We have a program with evening classes only serving primarily non-traditional students who are working full time in early childhood settings that enrolls an average of 15 students each fall. They take 2 classes a semester year round and complete the professional sequence in 3 years.
STARTING WITH THE IPTS
We began, as I think many faculty did, by looking at the IPTS. We pulled them apart and put them together in various configurations. At one point, we printed them out, cut them into individual standards and shuffled them around into possible course combinations. As we worked, we found ourselves ending up with courses that were remarkably similar to our previous offerings. The value of this process was becoming very familiar with the ITPS, but we needed a new approach.
We decided to switch gears, set the standards aside for a bit, and talk about the kind of program we really wanted to create, a program we thought would develop great early childhood professionals. We talked about values, priorities, necessary knowledge and skills, how to strengthen areas like the infant/toddler strand, and content each of us felt to be especially important. We then all spent some time working independently developing a vision of what our program might be. (This brief paragraph summarizes months of working together!) The move from group to individual work really helped us develop some unique ideas. For example, Martha Latorre, our program director, did a sabbatical with an infant/toddler focus and went to Reggio Emilia to visit their infant/toddler classrooms. Her ideas in this area went far beyond what the rest of us could have developed.
STRANDS TO CONNECT ALL THE CLASSES
Some ideas became common threads and are now woven into classes (or under construction) across course content in all four semesters. They are listed below in no certain order (this is still a work in progress!)
- Inquiry and investigation as a mode of learning for both children and adults
- Play as essential to learning and development
- Current trends and issues, including advocacy and social justice issues
- Appropriate use of technology with a focus on the child as an active user of technology rather than just a consumer
- Relevant guidelines, standards, and regulations (by discipline and profession, etc.)
- Local programs, Illinois programs, national and international models and perspectives
- Relevant theories and current and foundational research
- Nature and Environmental Literacy
- Social and emotional development
- Inquiry-professional and reflective practitioner
THE CURRENT PLAN (IN PROGRESS and WITHOUT MANY DETAILS)
Semester 1 – Birth to three focus (mostly): Active Engagement with Infants and Toddlers, Health, Safety, Nutrition, and Physical Development, Learning environments, Infants and toddlers/families with special needs
- About half of the semester students will be placed in a birth to three classroom
- The remainder of the semester students will visit an array of early childhood programs (e.g., Early Head Start, Early Intervention, Montessori, Waldorf, early childhood agencies, and so on)
Semester 2 – PreK focus (mostly) - Inquiry, Investigation & Play (pre-primary) – This will be 3 hours of content and 3 hours of lab with the goal being to prepare students to create supportive, nurturing environments that allow young children to thrive through active play and investigation across all content areas
This semester will also include a course in collaborative relationships/family-community involvement, an early literacy course and others.
- PreK or EC special education placements
Semester 3 – Primary focus - Inquiry, Investigation & Play (Primary), math methods, literacy, and young children and the arts
- K – 2 placements
Semester 4 – Student teaching and Senior seminar - Professionalism, Ethics, and Advocacy in Early Childhood Education
We have basic syllabi in place for the new courses including the appropriate IPTS. We will be spending this year fleshing them out, refining key assignments and assessments, and working through our “interwoven strands” to fit it all together.
We’d love to hear your thoughts!