ECE 411 – Early Childhood Practicum II
ECE 411 is a practicum class where students apply the knowledge they’ve gained in their early childhood coursework to their a 90 hour internship in an early childhood classroom. Class assignments include designing and implementing learning experiences that support young children’s language and literacy development. In the on-campus seminar we review many resources (academic articles, videos, children’s literature, etc) to strengthen our capacity to support children’s growth and learning.
The intervention I designed offered us the opportunity to share and reflect on our experiences of learning to read – either our own experience or our recollection of supporting a child in this process. I distributed prompts to help prepare the recollections, and we shared the recollections orally in class and then wrote up our stories on padlet. Next we all reviewed these written recollections made a second entry on padlet drawing connections across the collection of stories. This allowed us to describe what we had collectively learned about the process of reading through sharing these stories.
Why did you select this project? How does it relate to identity and purpose?
I wanted to begin our semester by establishing a foundation of the knowledge that my students bring into our work on the topic of children’s language and literacy development. In our ECE coursework we read a lot of research and theory written by “experts” about these issues, so I wanted to foreground the deep knowledge my students bring to these questions. For example, nearly all of my students are bi/multilingual learners, so they have deep knowledge of the joys and challenges of learning to read in more than one language. One thing I did not anticipate was that in sharing their recollections the students were able to disclose challenges they currently have as adult learners with literacy. This allowed me to research adult literacy supports for my students and connect them with support services at the college.
What advice do you have for other faculty who would like to implement a similar project?
Do it! Designing curriculum that amplifies the knowledge our students bring into our classrooms builds community and connection and offers a deep and complex perspective on the topics we teach.
I’ve attached the guidelines I developed to help us gather details to share in our recollections of learning to read. Note: The process of sharing recollections as a form of collective inquiry is not one I’ve come up with on my own. It was developed by a group of educators I have been working with for a number of years. For anyone that is interested in this framework and other tools of inquiry check out Prospect’s Descriptive Processes: The Child, The Art of Teaching, and The Classroom and School.