Early Childhood Education (ECE)
This course builds on major theories and themes from human development and educational psychology. Students study the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical development of the individual child in early childhood from three to eight years of age. Learn to value and nurture each child while using research-based best practices to create an inclusive preschool climate that respects and celebrates diversity and fosters equity for all children, including those with limited language proficiency and those identified as having special needs. Contemporary research on multiple intelligences, learning styles, brain function and development, appropriate models of classroom management, and the role of discovery and play in early learning is studied for implications for curriculum and instructional practices in inclusive settings.
This course introduces candidates to the teaching profession and to general, inclusive, and special education models for early childhood education. Candidates will consider teachers’ roles and ethical practice standards and will begin to articulate personal views from the vantage of an early childhood educator. The course also focuses on the importance of developmentally appropriate practices in curriculum and assessment for P–3 students and introduces constructivist, interdisciplinary, and universal design approaches for developing curricula based on the New Jersey Preschool Early Learning Standards and the New Jersey Core Content Curriculum. Issues related to the use of play and discovery, classroom design, guiding individual and group behavior, creating safe and supportive classroom environments, sources for curriculum resources, the use of structures and scheduling, planning appropriate multidimensional formative and summative assessments, engaging parent/caregiver support for curriculum goals, and the use of technology are addressed. Principles of culturally responsive teaching are reviewed and practiced.
This course investigates the special needs of children from three to eight years of age as well as the contributing factors and characteristics of young children at risk. Learn to identify community resources and link them to child and family needs. Explore diversity in family and caregiver units and the impact on development and learning of children’s homes, communities, health, and cultural experiences. Through a family- and community-centered approach, develop understanding of the social, historical, political, legal, and philosophical constructs that resonate in current day education of young children, including those with limited English proficiency or special educational needs. Consider teacher–child interactions and the advocacy role of the inclusive early childhood teacher.
This course is designed to help candidates apply, analyze, and evaluate the principles of instructional design and constructed models toward the development of instruction based on learning theory, curricular frameworks, project planning, content expertise, and technology tools to architect effective experiences for today’s learners. The development of lessons for diverse learners is addressed using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework for effective teaching that involves providing students with multiple means of engagement, representation, and expression. Developmentally appropriate techniques, including the integration of play, and principles of culturally responsive teaching are reviewed and practiced.
This course develops teacher candidates’ understanding of the integral relationship of children’s cognitive, linguistic, and cultural development in the acquisition of the English/language arts of reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and representing. Candidates will learn to use assessment data and students’ individual and group strengths and needs as guides for creating developmentally appropriate and evidence-based literacy instruction for literary and informational texts. Candidates will also learn strategies for advancing the literacy skills of students with specific learning disabilities including dyslexia, students who are eligible for special education, students who struggle with age-appropriate literacy skills, and students with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
This course focuses on early childhood mathematics instruction and the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) in mathematics. The course uses contemporary research in student motivation, cognition, and comprehension of mathematical processes to inform strategies for differentiated instruction. Candidates will create instructional activities with adaptations for diverse learners, including English language learners, and practice modifying instruction and materials for students with disabilities.
This is the second part of a two-part course sequence that builds on the foundational knowledge gained in ECE5202 Instruction in English Language Arts and Literacy I in Early Childhood and Special Education. Candidates will develop interdisciplinary activities demonstrating their knowledge of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) in social studies and English/language arts and pedagogy to build effective and culturally responsive instruction for P–3 students. Instructional planning and accommodation/modification of instruction and assessment to meet students’ diverse needs are addressed. Instructional strategies based on learning theory in the social studies and English/language arts including children’s literature will be highlighted.
This course focuses on a holistic approach to P–3 science instruction, through a consideration of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in science and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), design thinking, and problem solving. The course uses contemporary research in student motivation, and cognition of scientific processes to inform strategies for differentiated instruction. Candidates will create integrated instructional activities with adaptations for diverse learners, including English language learners, and practice modifying instruction and materials for students with disabilities.
This course focuses on contemporary issues in the field of early childhood education. A 50-hour clinical experience in early childhood education is required. Emphasis is placed on the integration of the early childhood clinical field experience with research as candidates develop professional dispositions and the skills needed to make informed decisions regarding pedagogical practices and collaborate with families and service providers in the educational setting.
In this course, candidates gain experience applying their knowledge, skills, and attitudes for promoting learning by planning and managing instruction during their clinical experience in an inclusive classroom. The clinical practice serves as a bridge from theory to professional practice. It provides candidates with the opportunity to develop skills necessary to collaborate with families, educators, multidisciplinary teams and community partners in IEP and transition planning. Co-teaching and a variety of instructional strategies for students with special needs will be included. Candidates will complete 175 hours of clinical practice in this course.
Clinical Practice is the capstone course in teacher education. During clinical practice, clinical interns demonstrate their integration of content knowledge, understanding of students, ability to create effective instructional environments, and their professional knowledge and attributes. Clinical practice is a full-time commitment (15 weeks) in an inclusive setting and required for all teacher candidates. Candidates are supported and evaluated by an in-class cooperating teacher and a GCU clinical supervisor. Concurrent with clinical practice, candidates attend a weekly seminar. Candidates develop a performance portfolio that demonstrates they meet the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers (NJPST) and that their teaching is guided by the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS), and/or the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Concurrent with clinical practice, this course provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their teaching experience to develop the meaning of teaching in a school setting. Candidates will be introduced to reflective practice developed by Donald Schon, an approach to teaching that enables novice teachers as emerging professionals to understand how to use their knowledge in practical situations and how to combine action and learning to elicit expected outcomes. The conceptual basis for the course are the works of Donald Schon, Chris Argyris, John Dewey, and Kenneth Zeichner, among others. Candidates develop a performance portfolio that addresses the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers (NJPST), guided by New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS). Offered at Lakewood campus only.