Early Childhood Director Practicum

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ECE 274

       Course Name: Early Childhood Director Practicum

       Credits: 3 (2 lecture; 15 lab Fee $50)

II.    Prerequisite

ECE 273, ECE 280, ECE 281, ECE 282, ECE 283, ECE 284, and ECE 285, each with a minimum grade of C, or consent of department chair.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course provides hands-on experience for students pursuing the ECE Advanced Administration Certificate.  Focus is on practical application of early childhood administrative principles and theories.  Students are supervised by qualified early childhood program director and a college instructor, and required to work in an approved center a minimum of 4 days/15-18 hours per week, in addition to attending a 2-hour weekly seminar.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will:

  1. Demonstrate ability to reflect on her/his own personal and professional communication and managerial style in order to be an effective administrator.
  2. Demonstrate ability to use management principles to develop successful relationships with teaching staff, advisory boards, program staff, families, and children.
  3. Demonstrate ability to appropriately support parents and families through referral to community agencies.
  4. Demonstrate ability to develop collaborative relationships with community agencies.
  5. Demonstrate ability to model leadership skills and to articulate relevant early childhood principles, practices and issues.
  6. Demonstrate ability to effectively promote and advertise program services to the community.

In addition to the objectives listed above, this course also meets the following Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and National Association for the Education of Young Children Teaching Standards.

IPTS Standards

STANDARD 8 – Collaborative Relationships – The competent teacher builds and maintains collaborative relationships to foster cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social and emotional development. This teacher works as a team member with professional colleagues, students, parents or guardians, and community members.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
8A) understands schools as organizations within the larger community context;
8B) understands the collaborative process and the skills necessary to initiate and carry out that process;
8C) collaborates with others in the use of data to design and implement effective school interventions that benefit all students;
8D) understands the benefits, barriers, and techniques involved in parent and family collaborations;
8E) understands school- and work-based learning environments and the need for collaboration with all organizations (e.g., businesses, community agencies, nonprofit organizations) to enhance student learning;
8F) understands the importance of participating on collaborative and problem-solving teams to create effective academic and behavioral interventions for all students;
8G) understands the various models of co-teaching and the procedures for implementing them across the curriculum;
8H) understands concerns of families of students with disabilities and knows appropriate strategies to collaborate with students and their families in addressing these concerns; and

STANDARD 9 – Professionalism, Leadership, and Advocacy – The competent teacher is an ethical and reflective practitioner who exhibits professionalism; provides leadership in the learning community; and advocates for students, parents or guardians, and the profession.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
9A) evaluates best practices and research-based materials against benchmarks within the disciplines;
9B) knows laws and rules (e.g., mandatory reporting, sexual misconduct, corporal punishment) as a foundation for the fair and just treatment of all students and their families in the classroom and school;
9C) understands emergency response procedures as required under the School safety Drill Act [105 ILCS 128/1], including school safety and crisis intervention protocol, initial response actions (e.g., whether to stay in or evacuate a building) and first response to medical emergencies (e.g., first aid and life-saving techniques);
9D) identifies paths for continuous professional growth and improvement, including the design of a professional growth plan;
9E) is cognizant of his or her emerging and developed leadership skills and the applicability of those skills within a variety of learning communities;
9F) understands the roles of an advocate, the process of advocacy, and its place in combating or promoting certain school district practices affecting students;
9G) understands local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture; and
9H) understands the importance of modeling appropriate dispositions in the classroom.

NAEYC Standards

STANDARD 1. Promoting Child Development and Learning
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs are grounded in a child development knowledge base. They use their understanding of young children’s characteristics and needs, and of multiple interacting influences on children’s development and learning, to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.

Key elements of STANDARD 1
1A) Knowing and understanding young children’s characteristics and needs, from birth through age 8
1B) Knowing and understanding the multiple influences on early development and learning
1C) Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments for young children.

STANDARD 2 – Building Family and Community Relationships
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities. They know about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities. They use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to involve all families in their children’s development and learning.

Key elements of STANDARD 2
2A) Knowing about and understanding diverse family and community characteristics
2B) Supporting and engaging families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships.
2C) Involving families and communities in young children’s development and learning.

STANDARD 4. Using Developmentally Effective Approaches
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children’s ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur. They understand and use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families. Candidates know, understand, and use a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and positively influence each child’s development and learning.

Key elements of STANDARD 4
4A) Understanding positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation of their work with young children
4B) Knowing and understanding effective strategies and tools for early education, including appropriate uses of technology
4C) Using a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching/learning approaches
4D) Reflecting on own practice to promote positive outcomes for each child.

STANDARD 6. Becoming a Professional
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs identify and conduct themselves as members or the early childhood profession. They know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice. They are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.

Key elements of STANDARD 6
6A) Identifying and involving oneself with the early childhood field
6B) Knowing about and upholding ethical standards and other early childhood professional guidelines
6C) Engaging in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice; using technology effectively with young children, with peers, and as a professional resource
6D) Integrating knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education.
6E) Engaging in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession.

STANDARD 7. Early Childhood Field Experiences
Field experiences and clinical practices are planned and sequenced so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions necessary to promote the development and learning of young children across the entire developmental period of early childhood – in at least two of the three early childhood age group (birth – age 3, 3 through 5, 5 through 8 years) and in the variety of settings that offer early education (early school grades, child care centers and homes, Head Start programs).

Key elements of STANDARD 7
7A) Opportunities to observe and practice in at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3-5, 5-8).
7B) Opportunities to observe and practice in at least two of the three main types of early childhood setting s(early school grades, child care centers and homes, Head Start programs).

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Personal and Self Awareness Staff Management and Human Relations Family Support
Leadership and Advocacy Marketing.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Discussion and Reflection
Journal Entries
Case Studies
Special Individual Projects
Participation in planning meetings, staff meetings, and professional development meetings
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid, or on line course.

  1. Reading of texts and supplemented readings will be required.
  2. Students will be required to demonstrate competency by successfully completing written tests, assignments, and reports.
  3. Students will be required to make complete a special individual project approved by the instructor.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

The Visionary Director: A Handbook for Dreaming, Organizing, and Improvising in Your Center. Carter, Margie and Curtis, Deb.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation of written case studies, students' individual projects, and participation in staff meetings and professional development projects.

XI.   Other Course Information



If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.