Students at centennial college's early childhood education benefit from real world experiences

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This article documents the Early Childhood Education program at Centennial College, which includes both on-campus and off-campus experiences for students to learn their field.

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Students at centennial college's early childhood education benefit from real world experiences

  1. 1. Students at Centennial College’s Early Childhood Education Benefit from Real World Experiences Today, it isn’t only nursery schools or childcare centres that require the know-how of childcare professionals. Places such as drop-in centres, shelters for women, and children and parent resource centres are also employing men and women with expertise in this area. Centennial College’s Early Childhood Education is a full-time program that teaches students the know-how they need to provide high standards of quality care to children and their families. This is achieved in a proactive way, with all four semesters of training featuring hands-on practice and a curriculum that reflects current trends and directions in the ECE field. In fact, one of the standout aspects is the amount of hands-on practice that students receive during their time in the offering. The useful experiences include practical application in two, on-campus early childhood education centres that serve as lab schools, which allow students to witness and understand what high quality childcare is all about. As a result of the thorough training students receive in the ECE program, graduate employment, graduate and employer satisfaction have all consistently remained above 80 per cent for several years. Among the employers hiring students are: Aisling/ Discoveries Centre for Children & Families, Friends Day Care, Toronto Board of Education and the YMCA. Among specific program courses are: An Introduction to Early Childhood Education: A solid base is vital for success in early childhood studies. As such, this overview course is offered in the first semester to give students grounding in the history of the profession from a global perspective and the exploration of various service delivery models and theoretical approaches to working with young children and their families. The Child at the Centre of the Curriculum: Children’s interests must be recognized in the development of a curriculum and this course teaches students to construct and implement experiences that are responsive and enhance the development of the whole child. As a hands-on component, students use Emergent Curriculum principles to construct, implement and document a variety of experiences that enhance children’s learning in a range of curriculum content areas.
  2. 2. Child Development - Theoretic Perspective: Freud, Piaget, Erikson and Vygotsky have significantly affected the understanding of child development. Their contributions are studied in this course as the framework and foundations that define ‘quality’ experiences in the early years. Advocacy and the Emerging Professional: Accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and quality child-care issues impact children, family life and the roles and responsibilities of caregivers. In this course, students examine current trends and issues in the field of early childhood education, including relevant legislation, policies, procedures, and regulations, within a changing social context. Centennial College students compliment their on-campus experience with field placements at child care centres in Toronto under the supervision of faculty members. These instructors visit agencies at pre-arranged times to observe students in action with the children, clarify student expectations and responsibilities and provide feedback regarding strengths and needs. Final grades are assigned based upon the competencies and grading system outlined in the field manual.

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