Course 1: Professional Foundations
Course Description: Across 15 weeks, candidates are presented with an in-depth introduction to the profession of early care and education (ECE) of young children. Professional Foundations focuses on developmentally appropriate practices, models of programs, historical perspectives, major theoretical frameworks, professional ethics, current issues, advocacy trends, and the Louisiana Early Learning Developmental Standards. Within this course, all participants will complete 14 hours of approved CLASS™ training for either Toddler or Pre-K settings by a certified CLASS™ Trainer. Not only will this education provide candidates with extensive knowledge of the tool but will also provide them with the same “quality” lens that the LDOE, district administrators, and our leaders use to evaluate programs across the state. Furthermore, after completion of the training, candidates are eligible to sit for the online CLASS™ reliability examination, after which they are qualified to conduct CLASS observations in their sites and for other ECE. A substantial body of research indicates that individual participation in official CLASS™ training contributes significantly to the quality of teacher-child interaction and overall instructional quality. As CLASS™ is the benchmark assessment employed by the LDOE under ACT-3, UL Lafayette faculty believe that it is critical for all teachers to be fully aware of the attributes, process, and intent of the instrument that will be used to evaluate their classroom.
Course 2: Mental and Physical Health and Well-Being: Infancy to Pre-K
Course Description: Across 15 weeks (40 seat hours), candidates explore the developmental sequence of normal child development; the relationships between physical and mental health; the nature and impact of early experiences (good and adverse) on short and long-term learning and wellbeing; and how the CLASS™ tools reflect teachers’ critical roles in physical, cognitive, and social/emotional development. During on-site experiences at the Picard Center, candidates will learn to administer the Ages & Stages-3 and ASQ-SE Questionnaires and apply the tools with families in their programs, participate in LA adopted Adverse Childhood Experiences training, learn and practice safe food handling and preparation, and develop basic first aid skills. During mentored practicum candidates are supported as they administration of ASQ-3, ASQ-SE, and CLASS™ observations of social and emotional interactions between teachers and children, use cultural competence resources with families from diverse backgrounds, delivery of healthy food and activity choices, and presentations/information for families. Mentors are recruited from the sites, lead agencies, or regional partnerships in which the candidate’s work placement is located. Practice activities are conducted in the candidate’s current work placement with the approval of the director and consent of families. Families with whom the ASQ-3, ASQ-SE, and ACE activities are conducted or recruited from the candidate’s work placement.
Course 3: Instructional Strategies and Environmental Enhancements in Early Childhood
Course Description: Across 15 weeks (40 seat hours), candidates will learn and apply a continuum of instructional strategies that reflect evidence-based best practices in early care and education for children in toddler and Pre-K programs. Strategies will support high-quality instruction defined by CLASS™ observations administered by reliable observers before instruction and within the final 30 days of the semester. All content will be usable within classrooms and tailored to meet the needs of both toddler and Pre-K learners. The structure of the course is designed to build upon the theoretical components and observational skills acquired in courses one and two as well as the expanding body of knowledge related to families, child development, community resources, and adaptations for the unique needs of culturally diverse learners, as well as children, and families with special needs. Assessment of competencies is determined by examination of a portfolio of work-product, an online capstone presentation selected by the candidate, and increases in CLASS scores.