Practicum FAQs

 

What is Early Childhood Practicum?

In practicum students spend a full semester demonstrating their ability to apply concepts learned in other Early Childhood courses in actual settings with young children under the supervision of a mentor teacher (the classroom teacher) and a faculty instructor.

How many practicum courses must I have?

Students in the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program are required to complete two Practicum courses: Practicum I (EDU 184)  and Practicum II (EDU 284). Students in the Early Childhood Associate Specialization Certificate program are required to complete one practicum course: Practicum I (EDU 184).

How is practicum different from other Early Childhood courses?

The practicum experience is designed to provide students with an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the program. Practicum I has 3 lab hours and Practicum II has 9 lab hours per week in assigned childcare centers. The instructor will visit the practicum site(s) to observe and evaluate the student’s interactions with children per the course competencies.

What happens in the class hour of practicum? 
The class meets for 2 hours every other week to provide students with an opportunity to discuss their practicum experience. Students also may be required to complete various practicum related assignments.

How are practicum placement sites chosen?

The Early Childhood Practicum Coordinator, in cooperation with the Early Childhood faculty, selects various sites throughout the Charlotte region to serve as “placed sites.” To be considered, a site must have a minimum 3-star rating and/or NAEYC accreditation and teachers with, at minimum, AAS degrees in Early Childhood who can serve as mentor teachers. Every effort is made to locate high quality settings that are consistent with our program’s philosophy.

Can I complete practicum at my own center?
Maybe. Students’ employment situations are considered during the practicum placement process.  In order to complete your practicum hours at your work site, the center must have a 3-Star rating or higher to be considered.  Also, if a student is a director of a Childcare Facility, the student will be placed at a different location.

Do I get paid for practicum?
Early Childhood students are not paid for their participation in practicum placed sites. Practicum experiences are a required aspect of the Early Childhood AAS degree program and of the Early Childhood Associate Program Specialization Certificate. Four semester credits are awarded upon successful completion of practicum.

How will I be evaluated?
Practicum students’ grades are determined on the basis of how well they achieve the competencies of the course. Practicum grades are determined and assigned by the faculty instructor.

Once I’ve registered for Practicum, how do I prepare for the experience?
Once the Practicum Coordinator has assigned/approved a student’s practicum site(s), the student should contact his/her mentor teacher to introduce him/herself. An initial pre-practicum visit to the placed site is recommended.  Students are required to make their first official practicum visits during the first week of the semester.