Field and Clinical Experiences
Students in the Master of Science in Early Childhood Education
programs complete a total of 300 clock hours in Field and Clinical
Experiences. Whether engaging in within- course fieldwork, practicum
or student teaching experiences, candidates for the Early Childhood
Masters programs are placed (or are teaching) in some of the most
diverse and exciting schools and programs throughout the city. Our
midtown location allows us to partner with a wide array of programs in
public and private schools that offer a range of curricular
experiences. Except for within-course fieldwork that is tied to
specific courses in our programs, every other clinical experience is
college-supervised. This intensive focus on the real world experience
of schools and programs and the opportunity to work with children as
individuals, or in small or large groups is invaluable to our Masters
Field and clinical experiences also allow our teacher candidates to be mentored by a cooperating teacher and a college professor. A seminar attached to each of the clinical experiences provides opportunity for the teacher candidates and college professors to debrief the experiences in the schools in their afternoon and evening classes. This kind of intensive engagement with theory and practice in a small group seminar experience provides a place for testing the experiences gained in schools and programs and the content gained in study at the college. Seminar topics are rich and varied and relate to the refinement of a teacher’s skills and techniques. We believe that the opportunity for study, practice, reflection and evaluation at various stages during the course of study produces professionals who are thoroughly grounded in content and in the best practices in their field.
Coursework with Field Experience Requirements
Fieldwork hours serve three main purposes:
- They provide teacher candidates with an opportunity to get into schools and programs immediately upon entering the program for observation and examination of classroom phenomena.
- They allow candidates to examine aspects of classroom functioning relevant to the coursework right from the start. This experience helps teacher candidates themselves to determine whether they are really comfortable in the world of children and teachers, at an early stage of preparation.
- Fieldwork hours also provide a way for teacher candidates to link theory and practice and test their own developing ideas, with guidance from the college professors teaching the courses.
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 activities to be undertaken in the fieldwork site. Placement may be done by Hunter College or by the student.
Students must have either a pre-student teaching or a student teaching experience at each of the three grade levels: Pre-kindergarten, Kindergarten, Grades 1-2.
Pre- Student Teaching
- ECC 712: Pre-Student Teaching in Early Childhood (50 hours at two different 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 once per week. If you are already teaching, your classroom may be used for one of the placements, with permission of our 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, 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. Student teaching courses are offered in the regular semesters and in the summer. All placements are done by Hunter College. The details of student teaching and practicum are provided below:
- ECC 716: Early Childhood Student Teaching (40 days 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 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 lead teachers or associate or assistant teachers in schools and programs. It is a college-supervised experience with a 15-hour seminar.
- ECC 718: Early Childhood Student Teaching (20 days in an 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.