Early Childhood Education Conceptual Framework
The Massasoit Community College Early Childhood Education Department strives to prepare students to become Early Childhood Educators who are knowledgeable in child development, demonstrate an understanding of partnerships between home, school and the community, support diversity and inclusion, and advocate for children, families and the advancement of the early childhood field.
Consistent with its mission statement and the NAEYC standards and supportive skills, the program provides a comprehensive early childhood education that meets the diverse needs of the students enrolled and the children and families served in the community. Current theory is linked to best practices through a variety of learning opportunities in the classroom and in field placement experiences. The program is designed to be inclusive by providing a developmental approach to teaching and learning. Individual student needs are addressed directly by the child care faculty as well as through college support services. Support and resources are provided to promote optimal student success.
The purpose of the Early Childhood Education program is to train students to become professionals who will offer quality early childhood experiences in an effort to enable all children to learn. Students will learn to create environments that meet the diverse needs of children and families. The philosophy of the department is grounded in the belief that “high quality early childhood development programs have many substantial payoffs” (R. Lynch). Long term studies have suggested that quality programs have the following characteristics in common: well educated staff, rich curriculum that emphasizes language and literacy skills, motor development, social-emotional development and parent involvement. The faculty is committed to an emphasis on quality in education. Students are exposed to current research and expected to link it to best practices in the field.
Professionalism in the field of early childhood education is a priority for the department. Students must demonstrate professional competencies during field placement experiences and are evaluated on these competencies as outlined in the Early Childhood Education Department , “Guidelines for Field Experience”. Students are informed about community trainings, workshops, speakers, and conferences and encouraged to participate. The program stresses a professional ladder that includes a certificate program, an associate degree, a transfer option that meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Education transfer compact and an articulation agreement with Eastern Nazarene College. The faculty of the Early Childhood Education Department is committed to professionalism. They belong to many early childhood professional and community organizations. Faculty members attend conferences, meetings, and hold topic discussions in an effort to stay current in the field. The link between professionalism, quality, best practices, student outcomes and children’s learning is recognized as the key to optimal teacher training. The department is always striving to make these connections.