Practicum I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ECE 257

       Course Name: Practicum I

       Credits: 5 (2 lecture; 15 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ECE 102, ECE 104, ECE 106, ECE 107, ECE 125, and ECE 226 or ECE 227, all with minimum grades of C, or consent of department chair. Satisfactory health as certified by a physical examination.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course is first-semester capstone experience for students pursuing the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education. Emphasis on practical application of early childhood principles and theories in a supervised early childhood setting. Students supervised by qualified professionals and college instructor, and required to work in approved center for a minimum of 4 days/15-18 hours per week, in addition to 2-hour weekly seminar.

IV.   Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this class, students who satisfactorily complete all work will be able to:

  1. Observe and assess developmental needs of children.
  2. Apply principles of child development and curriculum by planning and implementing developmentally appropriate activities according to the physical, emotional, intellectual, creative and social needs of children.
  3. Develop and utilize appropriate guidance techniques.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to create special learning activities and materials to meet the individual and group needs of children.
  5. Participate in the preparation of a safe and healthy learning environment for young children.
  6. Practice professional relationships with children, staff and parents.
  7. Function as part of the setting’s professional team, following routines, rules and policies.
  8. Begin to develop individual teaching style and philosophical approach to Early Childhood Education.
In addition to the objectives listed above, this course also meets the following Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and the Early Childhood Content Standards as put forth by the Illinois State Board of Education.

IPTS Standards

STANDARD 1. Content Knowledge
The competent teacher understands the central concepts, methods of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines and creates learning experiences that make the content meaningful to all students.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
1A) understands major concepts, assumptions, debates, principles, and theories that are central to the discipline(s) in which certification is sought.
1B. understands the process of inquiry central to the discipline.
1C. understands how students’ conceptual frameworks and their misconceptions for an area of knowledge can influence their learning.
1D. understands the relationship of knowledge within the discipline to other content areas and to life and career applications.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher

1G. uses differing viewpoints, theories, “ways of knowing” and methods of inquiry in teaching subject matter concepts.
1J. anticipates and adjusts for common misunderstandings of the discipline(s) that impede learning.
1K. uses a variety of explanations and multiple representations of concepts that capture key ideas to help students develop conceptual understanding.
1L. facilitates learning experiences that make connections to other content areas and to life and career experiences.

STANDARD 2 – Human Development and Learning

The competent teacher understands how individuals grow, develop, and learn and provides learning opportunities that support the intellectual, social, and personal developments of all students.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
2A. understands how students construct knowledge, acquire skills, and develop habits of mind.
2B. understands that students’ physical, social, emotional, ethical, and cognitive development influences learning.
2C. understands human development, learning theory, neural science, and the ranges of individual variation within each domain.
2D. understands that differences in approaches to learning and performance interact with development.
2E. understands how to include student development factors when making instructional decisions.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher
2G. analyzes individual and group performance in order to design instruction that meets learners’ current needs in the cognitive, social, emotional, ethical, and physical domains at the appropriate level of development.
2H. stimulates student reflection on prior knowledge and links new ideas to already familiar ideas and experiences.

STANDARD 3 – Diversity

The competent teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher
3C. understands how students’ learning is influenced by individual experiences, talents, and prior learning, as well as language, culture, family, and community values.
3D. understands and identifies differences in approaches to learning and performance, including different learning styles, multiple intelligences, and performance modes.
3E. understands cultural and community diversity through a well-grounded framework and understands how to learn about and incorporate students’ experiences, cultures, and community resources into instruction.
3F. understands personal cultural perspectives and biases and their effects on one’s teaching.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher
3G. facilitates a learning community in which individual differences are respected.
3I. uses information about students’ families, cultures, and communities as a basis for connecting in
3J. uses cultural diversity and individual student experiences to enrich instruction.
3K. uses a wide range of instructional strategies and technologies to meet and enhance diverse student needs.
3L. identifies and designs instruction appropriate to students’ stages of development, learning styles, strengths and needs.
3M. identifies when and how to develop and implement strategies and interventions within the classroom and how to access appropriate services or resources to assist students with exceptional learning needs.

STANDARD 4 – Planning for instruction

The competent teacher understands instructional planning and designs instruction based upon knowledge of the discipline, students, the community, and curriculum goals.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher
4A. understands the Illinois Learning Standards, curriculum development, content, learning theory, and student development and knows how to incorporate this knowledge in planning instruction.
4B. understands how to develop short-and long-range plans consistent with curriculum goals, learner diversity, and learning theory.
4C. understands how to take the contextual considerations of instructional materials, individual student interests, and career needs into account in planning instruction that creates an effective bridge between students’ experiences and career and educational goals.
4D. understands when and how to adjust plans based on students’ responses and other contingencies.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher
4I. establishes expectations for students’ learning.
4J. applies principles of scope and sequence when planning curriculum and instruction.
4K. creates short-range and long-term plans to achieve the expectations for students’ learning.
4L. creates and selects learning materials and learning experiences appropriate for the discipline and curriculum goals, relevant to the students, and based on students’ prior knowledge and principles of effective instruction.
4M. creates multiple learning activities that allow for variation in students’ learning styles and performance modes.
4N. incorporates experiences into instructional practices that relate to the students’ current life experiences and to future career and work experiences.
4O. creates approaches to learning that are interdisciplinary and that integrate multiple content areas.
4P. develops plans based on students’ responses and provides for different pathways based on students’ needs.
4Q. uses teaching resources and materials which have been evaluated for accuracy and usefulness.

STANDARD 5 – Learning Environment

The competent teacher uses a understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
5A. understands principles and strategies for effective classroom management.
5B. understands how individuals influence groups and how groups function in society.
5C. understands how to help students work cooperatively and productively in groups.
5D. understands factors that influence motivation and engagement and how to help students become self-motivated.
5E. knows procedures for inventorying the instructional environment to determine when and how best to meet a student’s individual needs.
5G. knows strategies for intervening in situations to prevent crises from developing or escalating.
5H. knows environmental arrangements that promote positive behavior and learning for students with diverse learning characteristics.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher
5I. maintains proper classroom decorum.
5J. maximizes the amount of class time spent in learning by creating expectations and processes for communication and behavior along with a physical setting conducive to achieving classroom goals.
5K. uses strategies to create a smoothly functioning learning community in which students assume responsibility for themselves and one another, participate in decision-making, work collaboratively and independently, uses appropriate technology, and engage in purposeful learning activities.
5L. analyze the classroom environment and makes decisions to enhance social relationships, students’ motivation and engagement in productive work through mutual respect, cooperation, and support for one another.
5M. organizes, allocates, and manages time, materials, and physical space to provide active and equitable engagement of students in productive tasks.
5N. engages students in and monitors individual and group learning activities that help them develop the motivation to achieve.
5O. demonstrates a variety of effective behavior management techniques appropriate to the needs of all students, including implementing the least intrusive intervention consistent with the needs of these students.
5R. uses effective methods for teaching social skill development in all students.

STANDARD 6 – Instructional Delivery

The competent teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students’ development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and performance skills.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
6A. understands the cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning and how these processes can be stimulated.
6B. understands principles and techniques, along with advantages and limitations, associated with various instructional strategies.
6C. knows how to enhance learning through the use of a wide variety of materials as well as human and technological resources.
6D. understands the disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to learning and how they relate to life and career experiences.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher:
6F. evaluates how to achieve learning goals, choosing alternative teaching strategies and materials to achieve different instructional purposes and to meet students’ needs.
6G. uses multiple teaching and learning strategies to engage students in active learning opportunities that promote the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and performance capabilities and that help students assume responsibility for identifying and using learning resources.
6H. monitors and adjusts strategies in response to learners’ feedback.
6I. varies his or her role in the instructional process as instructor, facilitator, coach, or audience in relation to the content and purposes of instruction and the needs of students.
6J. develops a variety of clear, accurate presentations and representations of concepts, using alternative explanations to assist students’ understanding and presenting diverse perspectives to encourage critical thinking.
6K. uses a wide range of instructional technologies to enhance students’ learning.
6L. develops curriculum that demonstrates an interconnection between subject areas that will reflect life and career experiences.
6O. adapts the general curriculum and uses instructional strategies and materials according to characteristics of the learner.

STANDARD 7 – Communication

The competent teacher uses knowledge of effective written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual communication techniques to foster activity inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
7A. understands communication theory, language development, and the role of language in learning.
7B. understands how cultural and gender differences can affect communication in the classroom
7C. understands the social, intellectual, and political implications of language use and how they influence meaning.
7D. understands the importance of audience and purpose when selecting ways to communicate ideas.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher:
7E. models accurate, effective communication when conveying ideas and information and when asking questions and responding to students.
7F. uses effective questioning techniques and stimulates discussion in different ways for specific instructional purposes.
7G. creates varied opportunities for all students to use effective written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual communication.
7H. communicates with and challenges students in a supportive manner and provides students with constructive feedback.
7I. uses a variety of communication modes to effectively communicate with a diverse student population.
7K. communicates using a variety of communication tools to enrich learning opportunities.

STANDARD 8 – Assessment

The competent teacher understands various formal and informal assessment strategies and uses them to support the continuous development of all students.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
8A. understands assessment as a means of evaluating how students learn, what they know and are able to do in meeting the Illinois Learning Standards, and what kinds of experiences will support their further growth and development.
8B. understands the purposes, characteristics, and limitations of different kinds of assessment.
8D. understands how to use the results of assessment to reflect on and modify teaching.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher:
8J. appropriately uses a variety of formal and informal assessments to evaluate the understanding, progress, and performance of the individual student and the class as a whole.

STANDARD 9 – Collaborative relationship

The competent teacher understands the role of the community in education and develops and maintains collaborative relationships with colleagues, parents/guardians, and the community to support students’ learning and well-being.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
9A. understands schools as organizations within the larger community context.
9B. understands the benefits, barriers, and techniques involved in parent/family relationships.
9C. understands school and work-based learning environments and the need for collaboration with business organizations in the community.
9D. understands the collaborative process.
9E. understands collaborative skills which are necessary to carry out the collaborative process.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher:
9I. works with colleagues to develop an effective learning climate within the school.
9J. participates in collaborative decision-making and problem-solving with other professionals to achieve success for students.
9K. develops relationships with parents and guardians to acquire an understanding of the students’ lives outside of the school in a professional manner that is fair and equitable.
9S. demonstrates the ability to co-teach and co-plan.

STANDARD 10 – Reflection and Professional Growth

The competent teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates how choices and actions affect students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community and actively seeking opportunities to grow professionally.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
10A. understands that reflection is an integral part of professional growth and improvement of instruction.
10B. understands methods of inquiry that provide for a variety of self-assessment and problem-solving strategies for reflecting on practice.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher
10E. uses classroom, observation, information about students pedagogical knowledge, and research as sources for active reflection, evaluation, and revision of practice.
10F. collaborates with other professionals as resources for problem-solving, generating new ideas, sharing experiences, and seeking and giving feedback.
10G. participates in professional dialogue and continuous learning to support his/her own development as a learner and a teacher.
10H. actively seeks and collaboratively shares a variety of instructional resources with colleagues.
10I. assesses his or her own needs for knowledge and skills related to teaching students with disabilities and seeks assistance and resources.

STANDARD 11 – Professional Conduce and Leadership

The competent teacher understands education as a profession, maintains standards of professional conduct and provides leadership to improve students’ learning and well-being.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
11A. understands the unique characteristics of education as a profession.
11B. understands how school systems are organized and operate.
11C. understands school policies and procedures.
11D. understands legal issues in education.
11E. understands the importance of active participation and leadership in professional organizations.
11F. is familiar with the rights of students with disabilities.

Performance indicators – The competent teacher:
11I. contributes knowledge and expertise about teaching and learning to the profession.
11J. follows codes of professional conduct and exhibits knowledge and expectations of current legal directives.
11K. follows school policy and procedures respecting the boundaries of professional responsibilities, when working with students, colleagues, and families.
11L. initiates and develops educational projects and programs.
11P. demonstrates positive regard for individual students and their families regardless of culture, religion, gender
11Q. promotes and maintains a high level of integrity in the practice of the profession.

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 5 – Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaning Curriculum
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.

Key elements of STANDARD 5
5A) Understanding content knowledge and resources in academic disciplines: language and literacy; the arts – music, creative movement, dance, drama, visual arts; mathematics; science, physical activity, physical education, health and safety; and social studies.
5B) Knowing and using the central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of content areas or academic disciplines
5C) Using own knowledge, appropriate early learning standards, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum 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.

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

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Separation
  2. Curriculum Planning:  Long-term Goals; Short-term Objectives
  3. Units and Lesson Plans
  4. Children’s interactions with Materials
  5. Transitions
  6. Promoting Socialization
  7. You as a Teacher:  Style and Philosophy
  8. Children’s relationships and Adults
  9. Classroom Management and Discipline
  10. Staff Communication/Team Teaching

VII.  Methods of Instruction

A weekly seminar will be held to discuss scheduled topics and issues related to student teaching.  Individual conferences will be held.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students are required to attend weekly seminar and put in regular practicum hours (minimum 12) at field placement.  Students are expected to actively participate in seminar discussions and activities and complete all assigned work.

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grades will be based on Practicum and Seminar competence, quality of assigned work and evaluation of field and college supervisor.

XI.   Other Course Information

The instructor will provide each class with further information as to attendance, policies, and support systems.

Plagiarism/Cheating policies are covered under the Academic Dishonesty section of the current catalog.

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

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.