Becoming a field placement site for your local early childhood degree programs may be a real benefit to your early learning program and your community. Hosting and supporting students can be very satisfying, whether they are preparing to enter the field or increasing their professional knowledge and improving their practice.
Field experiences in teacher education programs are defined in PA law (pdf file) as “Off-campus activities that provide candidates with opportunities for practical application of theoretical constructs and concepts developed in coursework, under the supervision and direction of college faculty, prior to student teaching, internship or clinical experiences. The activities include: observing, tutoring, miniteaching, lesson planning and evaluating student performance, and may take place in public or nonpublic schools or community organizations.”
Field sites host students as assigned by the college and agree to support the students’ success in completion of course requirements. Responsibilities can include documenting student attendance, completing evaluations of student work using college evaluation metrics and forms, meeting with the student to discuss assignments and provide feedback, and meeting with faculty to discuss partner responsibilities and student progress. There may be additional requirements such as signing permission forms to allow the student to photograph or videotape the work environment and interactions with children.
In order to be eligible to be considered a field placement site on ECEhigherEd.PHMC.org, programs must be PDE licensed or DHS Certified.
The first step toward becoming a Field Placement Site is to register with ECEhigherEd.PHMC.org:
EMPLOYERS RESPONSIBILITY AS A FIELD PLACEMENT SITE
Employers are responsible for ensuring that they continue to meet all DHS certification regulation regarding adult volunteers in their center. This may include securing current criminal record checks, child abuse clearances, and FBI clearances for the adult teacher preparation students that complete field placement at the center.
In addition, each institution of higher education typically has policies and requirements related to field placement – particularly the more extensive field experiences and student teaching placements. IHEs set guidelines around communication between the center and the student, between the center and IHE faculty, and the roles and responsibilities of student, center, and IHE.