The Child Development Center As A Demonstration Site
As a demonstration site for early childhood majors in the Keene State College Teacher Certification Program, the staff at the Child Development Center create a high-quality learning and care environment for young children to develop as individuals within the center community. Each of our classroom teams includes a facilitating teacher with a master's degree who is responsible for mentoring and evaluating the academic students. Currently the academic program coordinator teaches Early Childhood Methods at our center and supervises and assigns placements for all academic students.
This 'best-practices' model offers our academic students experiences in creating positive relationships with children and families, developing age appropriate curriculum and assessment strategies, designing the classroom environment and practicing their role as teachers of young children.
As part of their course requirements our student teachers take over all responsibilities of the classroom teacher during their solo teaching weeks during the 5th and 6th week of their full time seven week placement. To be effective in this practice our student teachers plan and implement curriculum, assess children's progress, design the environment, lead routines and transitions, communicate with families, and document their work through portfolios. Student teachers may have access to children's records under the direct guidance of the facilitating teachers. This includes background information, home visit records, medical information, special education documentation, and parent-teacher conference reports.
The Early Childhood Methods I course is housed at the Child Development Center. Students are at the CDC for a 3-hour class each Friday morning and complete field work at the Child Development Center 4 mornings per week in the classroom for the semester. The Methods students plan learning experiences, observe teachers and children, lead group times, supervise children in play, and complete a semester long child study.
Observations, Research and Internships
In addition to the required placements, students from other Keene State College programs and from the greater community participate at our center. We encourage the use of CDC as an observation site for the study of young children and of best practices in early childhood education. All projects and observations are approved by the academic program coordinator in consultation with the CDC director. Research projects are approved by CDC staff and the CDC Research Review Panel. Parental/Guardian permission is required when projects are carried out with individual children.
Many KSC students choose to work at the CDC for their work/study job which is part of their financial aid package. These students are hired to assist throughout the day in a variety of roles. We strive for consistency for children as we schedule work/study students. CDC staff train and supervise the students and students are required to attend 4 'in-service' trainings per year on various early childhood topics. Each student is expected to maintain a professional attitude throughout the duration of their scheduled participation.