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Graduate Program (MA)
Early Childhood Education
PreK – Grade 2 Initial Teacher Licensure
Throughout their time in an EP teacher licensing program, students are engaged in field-based practica. They begin their first semester with a pre-practicum 10 hours a week. During the second semester, students engage in their first student teaching practicum in a preK or K classroom -- often at the Eliot-Pearson Children's School or within a public school setting that is part of our STELLAR program. In the third semester, students complete their student teaching in a 1st or 2nd grade classroom. Many students complete a year-long paid internship in their 1st or 2nd grade student teaching placement in an urban public school, mainly in the Somerville, Cambridge and Boston Public Schools. Every student does at least one student teaching semester in an urban school placement, most do several semesters in urban classrooms.
Students take a series of curriculum courses, theoretical and foundational courses and student teaching seminars that go along with their placements. In addition to the rigorous schedule of coursework, students' field-based experiences occur within a dynamic set of community-university partnerships intended to enhance our students' learning, including the overlapping activities of: our Eliot-Pearson Children's School (EPCS), the Evelyn G. Pitcher Curriculum Resource Laboratory, and the STELLAR partnership program with the Somerville Public Schools. The figure below represents the focus on integrating the placements with coursework and with the ECE program's ongoing community collaborations and special partnerships.
A Teacher Preparation Model of Integration and Community Collaboration & Support
We present each component in turn as they relate to the overall program mission.
The Eliot-Pearson Children's School.
The Eliot-Pearson Children's School (EPCS)
is the on-campus, laboratory-demonstration site under the direction of the
Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts
University. The school provides a training and observation site for new and
experienced teachers and a research facility for faculty and supervised students
in the Department of Child Study and Human Development, as well as across
departments in the larger university. The Children's School enrolls
approximately 80 children each year in two preschool, one kindergarten, and one
first/second grade combined classroom.
The Evelyn G. Pitcher Curriculum Resource Lab
is a gathering site – both in a real world and
virtual sense – where Tufts students, alumni and teachers from local communities
work together, finding not only a repository of resources but also collegial
support for the production and dissemination of effective curriculum, materials
and pedagogical practices for working with culturally and linguistically diverse
young children in urban settings. The Lab is under the direction of
STELLAR: A Pre-Service/In-Service Integrated Model of Teaching and Learning. The Somerville + Tufts Enhancing Leadership, Learning, and Readiness (STELLAR) program is a new initiative between our teacher preparation program and the Somerville Public Schools, launched in Fall 2014. The Somerville Public Schools (SPS) represent the rich sociocultural diversity in our metro Boston area, with over 64 languages spoken among families served. SPS consist of one PreK-K, three PreK-8, three K-8, one K-6, one alternative middle school, one traditional high school, and one alternative high school. Eight of the schools receive Title I funds.
Through STELLAR partnerships, we are developing a model for integrating pre-service teacher preparation with in-service professional development designed to create a community of learners, where practice and research inform one another and where students can observe, interrogate, and contribute to high quality educational practice. A number of our students participate in the district as half-year or year-long interns. Their participation is supported by generous stipends provided by the school district. Their classroom work includes a focus on excellence in the instructional program, a focus on the whole child (academic as well as social, emotional, physical and aesthetic development; promoting self-regulation and approaches to learning), and on the active and meaningful engagement of families in the life of the school and in their children's education. Students' Cooperating Teachers (CTs) attend sessions in the student teaching seminar, which has greatly enriched the experience of our students, as they learn from seasoned teachers' perspectives, while also enlivening the experience of the CTs, who rarely have the opportunity to engage in an intellectual community beyond their school context. As we continue to define and grow this program together, the ECE students and faculty are playing an active role in shaping the early childhood education agenda in Somerville.
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