Field and Clinical Experiences
Students in the Master of Science in Early Childhood Education programs participate in a range of field and clinical experiences including within- course fieldwork, supervised practicum or student teaching experiences.
During the course of study at Hunter College, early childhood teacher candidates must fulfill a pre-student teaching and/or a student teaching/practicum experience at each of the three grade levels: Pre-kindergarten, Kindergarten, Grades 1-2. Clinical experiences are instrumental in helping teacher candidates see how the theories and methods discussed in each of the courses of the Early Childhood Programs are applied in the real world of children, families, and other educators.
Hunter College’s midtown location puts us in close proximity to a wide variety of New York City’s private and public early childhood programs, offering teacher candidates a range of curricular experience. Teacher candidates for the Early Childhood Masters programs are placed (or are teaching) in diverse and innovative schools and/or early childhood settings, many with whom we have established strong partnerships.
Clinical experiences allow our teacher candidates to be mentored by cooperating teacher(s) and a college professor. A seminar attached to each of the clinical experiences courses, fieldwork, student teaching, and/or practicum, provides opportunity for the teacher candidates and the college professor(s) to discuss the experiences in the schools. This engagement with theory and practice in the small group seminar provides an opportunity for making sense of a teacher candidates’ daily experiences in early childhood settings.
Seminar topics relate to the enrichment of a teacher’s knowledge, skills and techniques. Fieldwork, student teaching, or practicum provides opportunities for planning, instruction, reflection, and assessment at various stages to support the professional development of teacher candidates.
Coursework with Field Experience Requirements
Fieldwork hours serve three main purposes:
1. They provide teacher candidates with an opportunity to get into schools and programs immediately upon entering the program for observation, planning, instruction, and assessment.
2. They allow teacher candidates to observe and understand aspects of the organization and design of an early childhood classroom. This experience helps teacher candidates and the college professor to assess the extent to which the teacher candidate is comfortable educating young children.
3. Fieldwork hours provide teacher candidates to integrate learned theories into their own practice.
The required fieldwork courses are:
- ECF 700: Child Development: Birth to Age Eight (15 hours)
- ECC 703: Early Childhood Curriculum (20 hours)
- ECC 708: Early Childhood Special Needs (15 hours)
Course instructors provide details on the specific assignments to be carried out at the fieldwork site. For courses that require five to 20 fieldwork hours, the student is responsible for identifying his/her placement.
Pre- Student Teaching
- ECC 712: Pre-Student Teaching in Early Childhood (a minimum of 50 hours at one of the three age/grade levels) is for teacher candidates in Program 1 only. Placement is done by the college and it is a college-supervised experience with a 15-hour seminar that meets at the college bi-weekly.
If you are already teaching, you may use your teaching position, if you do not intend to use this position for ECC 717: Practicum (on the job), with permission of the clinical director. Please note that ECC 712 is a progress standard in the course of study, is not typically waived or exempted, and must conclude with a B or better to maintain a student’s academic standing.
Student Teaching and Practicum
Teacher candidates in the MS in Early Childhood Education programs must complete college- supervised student teaching at two of three age/grade levels: Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and Grades 1-2. If you are currently teaching, your age/grade level of teaching counts as one placement and is referred to as Practicum (on the job), which is a one-credit course with a 15- hour seminar attached. Students who complete practicum will need to take a student teaching course of two credits at a different age/grade level, ECC 718: Student Teaching at one age/grade level. All placements are done by Hunter College. The details of student teaching and practicum are provided below:
- ECC 716: Early Childhood Student Teaching (a minimum of 60 days. Placed at two different age/grade levels). This is a college-supervised experience with a 30-hour seminar over the semester. Candidates who are full-time or not employed in schools or early childhood programs, typically pick this option.
- ECC 717: Supervised Practicum in Early Childhood: This is an on-the-job experience and is taken by teacher candidates who are associate/assistant/head teachers in schools or early childhood settings. It is a college-supervised experience with a 15-hour seminar.
- ECC 718: Early Childhood Student Teaching (a minimum of 30 student teaching days at one age/grade level different from ECC 717). This is a college-supervised experience and is offered during the regular semesters or summer to facilitate the opportunity for practice at a different age/grade level than ECC 717.