Standard 1

Program Design, Rationale, and Coordination

Each program of professional preparation is coordinated effectively in accordance with a cohesive design that has a cogent rationale.

Overall Design

University
California State University, Fresno is central California's major regional university, with an enrollment of approximately 21,000 students. The university is one of the 23 campuses of the California State University (CSU) system, one of the largest systems of higher education in the world. Fresno State's 388-acre main campus and its 1,011-acre University Farm are located at the northeast edge of Fresno, California, at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range. The surrounding San Joaquin Valley is one of the richest agricultural areas in the world, and Fresno is the sixth largest city in California. The University’s service area encompasses five counties and includes both urban and rural areas. The demographics of the service area reflect a highly diverse population.

Mission – “We will become New California’s premier engaged university, nationally recognized for our teaching, learning, transformational scholarship, and dynamic leadership which engages faculty, students, staff, and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration benefiting the region and society as a whole.”

The university strives to manifest its mission through strategic planning and goal setting. Progress toward meeting goals is reported annually to the Provost by the dean of each school or college. The University’s last three strategic plans — Plan for the '90s, Plan for Excellence I (1997-2000), and the Plan for Excellence II (2001-2006) — established a foundation for a new level of excellence and a culture of planning on our campus. To be implemented in the 2010-2011 academic school year, this plan differs from the previous three in that we are focusing on innovation and transforming the university. The Strategic Plan calls for

  • Enhancing Academic Excellence and Scholarship
  • Promoting the Success of all Students
  • Advancing Graduate Education
  • Using Technology to Advance all Aspects of University Life
  • Engaging with the Region
  • Developing a Diverse and Global Perspective
  • Generating Private and External Support
  • Developing our University Community

Teacher education occupies a primary position within the CSU system, which prepares a majority of teachers in California. At Fresno State, teacher education has received priority attention in the mission and strategic planning of the institution since its founding.

School
History - The Kremen School of Education and Human Development (KSOEHD) extends back to 1911 with the establishment of a state normal school. In 1921, the two-year teacher preparation program was changed to a four-year Bachelor of Arts in Teaching Degree with the institution being named Fresno State Teachers College; later it was changed to Fresno State College. In 1961, the Fisher Act eliminated the Bachelor of Arts in Teaching and affected general restructuring of programs in professional education. As more specialized courses were added beyond those of traditional education, the School of Education was renamed the School of Education and Human Development in 1981. The first Master's degree at CSU, Fresno was awarded in 1949 and a Joint Doctorate in Educational Leadership was approved in 1991. Through a significant gift by the spouse of one its former faculty members, the school was renamed, the Marion and Benjamin Kremen School of Education and Human Development in 2002.

The professional education unit at Fresno State has been fully accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1953. All credential programs were reviewed by California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) program review teams in March 2006 and were approved without stipulations by the Commission.

Leadership for Diverse Communities

At the heart of the conceptual framework for the professional education unit at California State University, Fresno is its theme, Leadership for Diverse Communities.

Vision: The Kremen School of Education and Human Development is a center for academic excellence and collaboration in the fields of education and counseling. Graduates will become community leaders who advocate for high standards and democratic values with attention to professional ethics and diversity.

Mission: The Kremen School of Education and Human Development's mission is the recruitment and development of ethically informed leaders for classroom teaching, education administration, counseling, and higher education. Our mission is realized through a framework of teaching, scholarship, and service that addresses regional, state, national, and international perspectives.

School Goals

  • To be a model for collaboration with higher education and K-12 colleagues.
  • To prepare professionals who are committed to leadership and service in diverse community settings.
  • To prepare education professionals who have a command of content knowledge and pedagogy and who continuously strive to improve their practice.
  • To integrate performance assessment as a key evaluation technique in each of our programs.
  • To support the lifelong development of practicing professionals with services and programs including the doctorate.
  • To recruit qualified candidates, who are representative of the diversity in our community, into the fields of education and counseling, beginning with students in the public schools.
  • To be a national demonstration site for exemplary practices in education and counseling.
  • To be at the cutting edge of the application of best practice models and educational technology.
  • To sustain a university work environment that is exemplary in its humanity, ethics, effectiveness and intellectual vitality.
  • To secure, through advancement efforts, the supplemental funding needed to provide the margin of excellence for programs and special initiatives.
  • To be the higher education partner of choice for the public schools and other relevant institutions of the five counties we serve in the Central Valley.

Dispositions: Both basic and advanced programs are committed to providing leaders who have a command of content in their field, who will be reflective, collaborative leaders for our schools, and who are prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities of working with diverse communities. The professional education unit fosters the development of the following professional dispositions among candidates. Candidates increasingly reflect these dispositions in their work with students, families, and communities.

Reflection: Candidates develop the dispositional tendency to reflect on their professional practice. Unit programs support the development of this disposition by having candidates regularly reflect on their learning and on their practice.

Critical Thinking: Candidates analyze situational contexts, resulting in more informed decision-making. Unit programs provide candidates practice analyzing the implications of intrapersonal, interpersonal and contextual issues in educational settings.

Professional Ethics: Candidates learn to make well-reasoned ethical judgments. Unit programs foster this disposition by teaching ethical decision-making that relies on reflection and results in professional action.

Valuing Diversity: Candidates are able to work effectively with diverse populations and recognize the importance of valuing of cultural, linguistic, cognitive, and physiological diversity. Unit programs promote this disposition through experiences in educational settings with diverse populations and opportunities to discuss, observe, and reflect on the benefits of valuing diversity.

Collaboration: Candidates learn and practice the skills of collaboration in their classes and in their fieldwork. Furthermore, program faculty model collaboration in their work with one another and with the larger educational community.

Life-long Learning: Candidates demonstrate a commitment to life-long learning about their profession and beyond. Unit programs foster this disposition through pre-professional experiences that bring the candidate into the profession in meaningful ways and by acquainting them with opportunities for continuing professional growth.

Commitment to Technology
The conceptual framework includes a commitment to the appropriate use of technology in ways that enhance the learning environment for students. The unit has been involved in many initiatives to manifest this commitment. For example, the KSOEHD was the lead institution in a Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education and was involved in two other such grants. Programs have infused technology in coursework and all coursework is enhanced by the use of Blackboard. Multiple and Single Subject candidates are now submitting their key performance assessments through an online portfolio system. The Instructional Technology Resources Center (INTERESC) in the KSOEHD supports faculty professional development in technology; at the university level, Teaching, Learning, and Technology (TLT) provides computer workshops and many professional development opportunities related to technology.

Alignment of Proficiencies with Professional and State Standards
Coursework and fieldwork syllabi are aligned with standards such as the California Standards for Program Quality and Effectiveness, California Teaching Performance Expectations, national standards for professional organizations where applicable, and, in the case of teacher preparation programs, with state content standards. Evidence of the conceptual framework is also evident in the commitment of program faculty to providing instruction that expands candidates’ pedagogical and content knowledge base and that incorporate technology to enhance learning. Each unit program has a knowledge base, consistent with the unit’s conceptual framework while unique to the research, standards, theories, and wisdom of practice particularly appropriate to the program.

Commitment to Diversity
The rich diversity of the university’s service area makes commitment to diversity a natural and critical component of the conceptual framework. This commitment is woven through all unit programs. Course outcomes related to preparing students to work with diverse populations are common. Foundations courses provide understanding of and appreciation for differences. All candidates have at least some field experience in a setting with students from diverse backgrounds.

Advanced Programs:

Leadership and collaboration are taught and practiced throughout the advanced programs of the KSOEHD. Learning to work as a collaborative leader in a culturally diverse context is a focus of the advanced coursework. ECE students in the specialist credential program apply these skills in problem solving and curriculum development.

Knowledge Base:

ECE philosophy, foundational beliefs, research-based practices, literacy and technology orientation, cultural competence and collaborative leadership skills are the pillars supporting program design and delivery. The sequence of the courses builds upon these structural underpinnings and is concretized in the learning experiences designed to promote student understanding and application of these principles. Program Philosophy, Goals, Theories of Human Development and Learning, Research/Practice and Technology orientation are explained fully in following sections of this document.

Organizational Structure

University

Governance - CSU, Fresno derives its existence, authority, and power form the State of California through enactments of the Legislature (California Administrative Code) and the rules and regulations promulgated by the Trustees of the California State University System (Executive Orders of the Board of Trustees). Under principles enumerated by the Trustees, the president is authorized to delegate functions and consult with the faculty, and is charged with the final responsibility for and given final authority over the university. To accomplish the purposes of the university, the Academic Assembly was created and authorized to serve as the official means of consultation between the faculty and the president. Through the Academic Assembly, the faculty have responsibility and authority to develop/recommend policies and are consulted on academic policy matters.

The university academic governance structure includes the President, the Academic Provost, and Deans who administer the academic colleges/schools/divisions: Agricultural Science and Technology, Arts and Humanities, Sid Craig School of Business and Administrative Sciences, KSOEHD, Engineering, Health and Social Work, Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences, Global and Continuing Education and Graduate Studies. Detailed descriptions of CSU, Fresno University governance, policies and procedures are obtained by review of the California State University, Fresno Academic Policy Manual and by review of the Agreement Between the Board of Trustees of The California State University and the California Faculty Association.

Unit Governance - University organization and Kremen School of Education and Human Development (KSOEHD) governance structure provide the leadership and authority necessary to plan, deliver, and evaluate coherent unit programs. The Dean, Dr. Paul Beare, is the Chief Administrative Officer of the KSOEHD. By virtue of the university president’s authorization, Dr. Beare also serves as the Director of Teacher Education for the university and is responsible for administering the policies for all basic and advanced teacher education programs offered at California State University, Fresno. Dr. Beare reports directly to the Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

Accreditation - CSU, Fresno is fully accredited by the California Board of Education and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). CSU Fresno is also a member of the Western Association of Graduate Schools, the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Teacher education programs offered in CSU, Fresno are fully accredited on a national level by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). All credential programs offered at CSU, Fresno have received full approval by the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

School

Governance - As the chief administrator, the Dean is charged with final responsibility for and given final authority over the KSOEHD. He is extensively involved in a variety of functions that support the development, implementation, evaluation, and modification of all credential and master’s degree programs. He frequently consults with department chairs, program coordinators, and individual faculty to address programmatic and other issues. The dean has the authority to delegate responsibility and authority to faculty delegates and does so according to approved KSOEHD policies and procedures. The KSOEHD functions within policies and procedures specified in the Constitution for the School of Education and Human Development of theCalifornia State University, Fresno. There are currently 11 KSOEHD standing committees: Executive Committee, Admissions and Standards, Basic Credential and Curriculum,

Budget, Educational Equity, Graduate. Personnel. Research. Scholarship. Development and International Education.

ECE program faculty currently serve on the following committees: Basic Credential and Curriculum, Educational Equity, Graduate. Personnel, Research. Scholarship. Development and International Education.

The KSOEHD has four departments:

Department Chair
Counseling, Special Education and Rehabilitation (CSER) Dr. Albert Valencia
Curriculum and Instruction (CI) Dr. Jack Benninga
Educational Research and Administration (ERA) Dr. Sharon Brown-Welty
Literacy and Early Education (LEE) Dr. Glenn Devoogd

The ECE initial and advanced programs including the ECE Specialist Credential Program are housed in the LEE department.

The Early Childhood Education Specialist Credential (Advanced Credential Program) and Master of Arts in Education with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Education

The ECE Programs are located in the Department of Literacy and Early Education in the KSOEHD. The advanced program provides students with relevant educational experiences for advanced careers in ECE and related professions and enables graduates to become leaders in the early childhood profession at the local, state and national levels. At application students indicate whether they are applying for the Masters in Education ECE Emphasis and/or an ECE Specialist Credential program. Not all applicants are interested in or qualify for admission to the ECE Specialist Credential, but virtually all ECE Specialist Credential applicants concurrently enroll in the Masters in Education Program. The ECE graduate program is designed to accommodate all three graduate groups:

  • ECE Specialist Credential only
  • Masters in Education Early Childhood Education Emphasis only
  • ECE Specialist Credential and Masters in Education Early Childhood Education Emphasis

The graduate courses have a strong developmental and constructivist philosophical and ideological orientation. In the courses, students reflect on the best professional practices to meet the needs of young children and their families, learn to interpret and apply relevant ECE research and develop skills as teachers, administrators, researchers and leaders. Students are expected to integrate new knowledge into practice that is developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive. Graduates of the ECE master's and specialist programs are expected to be reflective, collaborative leaders in the profession.

The ECE graduate courses have a strong philosophical and ideological base from which students learn how to make judgments about developmentally appropriate practices. As leaders who will "make a difference" they are exposed the history, questions and practices central to their discipline in Trends and Issues in ECE (LEE 171). In subsequent courses, they reinforce and extend this philosophical and ideological base.

The ECE graduate courses are rich in dialogue, discussion, analysis and reflection. The class members have a wide variety of experiences and career goals ranging from child care and preschool educators to kindergarten and primary grade teachers and administrators. Interaction generated in the classes emanates from readings, lectures, and professional and personal experiences. The interaction is stimulated by instructors who are aware of conflicts in the field and who assist students in constructing their own belief statements based on past and current ECE research and practice.

In graduate courses, Literacy in ECE (LEE 232), Curriculum and Assessment in ECE (LEE 233), and Concept Development in ECE (LEE 235), students are expected to analyze and integrate their understandings about best practices in ECE through research on programs, curricular approaches and strategies, assessment and evaluation methods. In fieldwork in ECE (LEE 241), students build individual portfolios which document their application of ECE practices in a "real world" setting and demonstrate their understandings of advanced ECE principles in order to provide leadership for the profession.

Students in the graduate courses are on the cutting edge in their learning about developmentally appropriate practices and cultural diversity. Throughout the courses and especially in Culturally Responsive Teaching in Early Childhood (LEE 271), students develop new understandings about how educators, young children and families gain knowledge, attitudes and dispositions about learning, cultural competence, schooling, prejudice and stereotypes. The graduate classes provide valuable opportunities for students to share their personal and professional experiences regarding living and teaching in a diverse community. Under the guidance of the faculty, ECE graduate students gain skills for becoming leaders who make a difference at local, state and national levels to promote culturally responsive programs for young children and their families.

The major goals of ECE graduate and specialist programs are to:

  • Meet individual needs of candidates who differ in experiential and educational backgrounds and who have varied career objectives.
  • Provide an advanced study in fundamental theories and philosophies of child development.
  • Examine curriculum development serving programs for children eight and under.
  • Interrelate field experiences and appropriate course work.
  • Develop techniques and skills for understanding and utilizing family backgrounds, ethnic, cultural, economic, linguistic and socio-cultural influences in order to develop appropriate learning activities for young children.
  • Offer learning experiences designed to interpret and assess processes of physical, mental and psycho-social growth of young children both typical and atypical who are functioning at different developmental levels.
  • Use appropriate technology for teaching and facilitating early childhood learning experiences for parent and professional audiences.
  • Give information concerning current research, models, administrative practices and supervisory skills as those relate to program in ECE.
  • Afford experiences that emphasize the development of human interaction skills and guidance techniques appropriate for working with young children and adults in a variety of cultural settings.
  • Prepare students for work in a variety of professional roles including ECE teachers, instructional leaders or demonstration teachers, resource coordinators for ECE programs, supervisors or directors of ECE programs, parent educators, research team members, consultants to ECE programs, instructors of child development and ECE courses in institutes of higher education.

Objectives of the Early Childhood Specialist Credential Program (Advanced Credential) and Masters in Education Early Childhood Education Option

Graduates of the ECE Specialist Program:

  •  Demonstrate knowledge of the dominant theories of human development and learning; research on social, emotional, cognitive, language, motor and perceptual development and learning in children from birth through age eight; importance of studying the child in the family context.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the theories and content of curriculum and instruction and alternative teaching models and methodologies.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of alternative perspectives in ECE, child development, programs for young children and their parents, research priorities, teacher education and staff development.
  • Demonstrate competence in use of technology assisting research and program development and information dissemination to diverse audiences.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of appropriate strategies, procedures and instruments for assessment and evaluation of young children, ECE environments and ECE programs.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of program planning for children from a variety of diverse cultural and language backgrounds, as well different age and developmental levels.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the diverse delivery systems through which programs are offered for young children and their families (social service agencies, public schools, private enterprise).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of research methods and findings in ECE and translate research into practice.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of expertise in a specialized area of ECE such as infant/toddler, child care, parent education, kindergarten, other preprimary programs, primary grades in connection with teaching, administration, advocacy or other leadership role in the specialized area.
  • Demonstrate application of appropriate curriculum, demonstration of leadership in the field and use of community resources.
  • Demonstrate ability to design, implement and complete appropriate graduate level project or thesis work in ECE.

Sequence of Courses for the Masters in Early Childhood Education and the Early Childhood Specialist Credential See Appendix A

 

Required ECE Core Courses (6 Units)

LEE 235

Concept Development in ECE (3 units)

LEE 241

Field Work in ECE (3 units)

 

Elective ECE Core Courses (12 units, Select 3 of 4 courses)

LEE 171

Trends and Issues in ECE (3 units)

LEE 232

Literacy in ECE (3 units)

LEE 233

Curriculum and Assessment in ECE (3 units)

LEE 271

Diversity and Inclusion in ECE (3 units)

 

Masters of Arts Degree Core Requirements (15 Units)

ERF 153

Educational Statistics (Prerequisite for ERF 220)

ERF 220

Research in Education (3 units)

ERF 285

Seminar in Advanced Educational Psychology (3 units) or

ERF 288

Educational Measurement and Program Evaluation (3 units)

LEE 298B

Project (4 units) or

LEE 299

Thesis (4 units)

Other Electives

5 units of approved electives

Early Childhood Specialist Credential (30 units)

The ECE Specialist Credential Program is an advanced credential for those who already hold a valid California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. For the Specialist Credential, two years of successful ECE teaching at two levels of ECE is required.

The ECE Specialist Program may be combined with the Master’s program or taken separately. Master’s candidates in the ECE Teacher Leader Specialization may use their course work to fulfill requirements for the ECE Specialist Credential. For the Specialist Credential only, a summative research paper is required in lieu of a thesis or project.

Required ECE Core Courses (6 Units)

LEE 235

Concept Development in ECE (3 units)

LEE 241

Field Work in ECE (3 units)

 

 

Elective ECE Core Courses (9 units, Select 3 of 4 courses)

LEE 171

Trends and Issues in ECE (3 units)

LEE 232

Literacy in ECE (3 units)

LEE 233

Curriculum and Assessment in ECE (3 units)

LEE 271

Diversity and Inclusion in ECE (3 units)

Other Electives

15 units approved electives

Description of Field Experiences, Student Teaching

All of the ECE core courses require observations and/or practice assignments that must be completed in the field. In all of the courses, advanced students have access to a variety of professional settings in the community where they can gain experience, collect data and interact with professionals in the field. Expanding on this theory-to-application approach, Fieldwork in ECE (LEE 241) provides advanced candidates with an extended, supervised field experience that is tailored to meet our program’s areas of specialization. For the ECE Teacher Leader, the focus of fieldwork is completing supervised fieldwork in ECE classroom settings at two different ECE levels. ECE Specialist candidates have additional fieldwork requirements as specified in the course syllabus to meet CTC standards.

In their field assignments, ECE graduate students demonstrate leadership, knowledge of child development and constructivist theory as well as application of professional knowledge, skills and dispositions gained throughout the ECE Graduate Program. Students create their own portfolios to support the realization of NAEYC standards (Assessment 2), conduct individual self-reflections identifying a personal growth area, and plan and implement a leadership activity (Assessment 4) to be documented in their portfolio.

In ECE Field Work (LEE 241), students have a supervised experience in advanced work with young children and their families at least two different levels including preschool, kindergarten and primary grades. Students demonstrate leadership, knowledge of child development and ability to apply constructivist theory gained in the ECE Graduate Program. Students maintain their own portfolios that support the realization of course objectives. They engage in self- reflection in an identified personal growth area, conduct a leadership and an outreach activity that are documented in their portfolio. The leadership and outreach activities are used to expand the candidate's roles as leaders in the field. They must develop a professional proposal, make a professional presentation of organize an inservice or parent training workshop. Presentation skills are emphasized and the candidates are encouraged to work collaboratively with each other or with faculty to expand their abilities to be reflective, collaborative leaders.

Although particular areas of specialization are not provided, in every course, students are encouraged to explore their individual interests in assignments, papers and projects. In fieldwork and final projects, students' interests and career goals are supported. Through individual advisement, electives are selected in relation to special interests or previous background.

Overall Design

The Master of Arts with an emphasis in ECE and the ECE Specialist Credential programs were approved by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing initially in 1977. Beginning with a faculty of one and expanding to a full time faculty of six in the late nineteen nineties, the program enjoys a strong reputation both in California and the US with faculty assuming leadership roles in regional, state, national and international professional organizations and projects.

The MA/ECE and Specialist Credential Programs are structured to provide advanced study in fundamental theories and philosophies of ECE and child development for students who have a wide variety of experiential and educational backgrounds. To distinguish candidates seeking the ECE Specialist Credential from others in the program with divergent ECE responsibilities and career objectives, two specializations are identified within the graduate program:

ECE Teacher Leader Specialization
This specialization is for primarily intended for those in K-3 settings and meets requirements for the ECE Specialist Credential. ECE teacher leaders must hold a valid multiple subject credential.

  • Kindergarten-Primary Teacher Leader
  • Preschool Teacher Leader
  • ECE Curriculum Specialist
  • School Readiness Coordinator

ECE Program Leader Specialization
This specialization is for ECE professionals in diversified settings.

  • Infant/Toddler and Preschool Teacher Leader
  • ECE Program Administrator Community College Teacher Home Visitor Coordinator Parent Program Coordinator

Within the ECE courses, ECE teacher leaders have additional, specific requirements to meet such as documentation and demonstration of practice with P-3 children and work in public school settings.

The Specialist Credential program provides training for ECE teacher leaders in the public schools and related agencies. In addition to advanced work in P-3 public school programs, content on infant and toddler, preschool, ECE administration, ECE development, community college teaching are included in the areas of curriculum development, observation, assessment, multicultural education, and research. The field experience class requires that students integrate their knowledge demonstrating their abilities to teach children of various developmental levels, identify their own professional strengths and weaknesses and formulate a professional growth plan, utilize community resources, and prepare a leadership activity that involves a professional presentation. As one of the requirements of the specialist program, ECE candidates must document mastery of nine essential tools for ECE professional practice identified by NAEYC:

The nine Essential ECE Professional Tools are:

  1. Cultural Competence
  2. Knowledge and Application of Ethical Principles
  3. Communication Skills
  4. Mastery of Relevant Theory and Research
  5. Skills in Identifying and Using Professional Resources
  6. Inquiry Skills and Knowledge of Research Methods
  7. Skills in Collaborating, Teaching, and Mentoring
  8. Advocacy Skills
  9. Leadership Skills

Leadership in ECE

The ECE Graduate Program offers intensive preparation for ECE professionals in a multiplicity of educational and human development settings serving children from birth through primary grades and their families. The ECE Graduate Program is a learning community committed to developing collaborative leaders who:

  • Demonstrate knowledge, skills and dispositions that promote development and learning
  • Build strong relationships with families and communities
  • Integrate various perspectives to create quality early education for all children
  • Are responsive to ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Apply current ECE research to issues of practice
  • Utilize a variety of inquiry methods and the latest technology
  • Engage in reflection, documentation, self-assessment and life-long learning
  • Advocate for children, families and the profession

The Master of Arts/ECE and Specialist Credential programs have a strong emphasis on making a difference in practices in the classroom and in the community. Beginning with the core course, Tends and Issues in ECE (LEE 171), and throughout the program, students examine relationships among child development, early literacy practices, psychosocial development, family and school culture and appropriate classroom practices. Constructivist theory that supports a multicultural approach and builds on the experiences of the individual child are emphasized in order to facilitate language, literacy and concept development is stressed in every course. Educational Statistics (ERA 153) students become familiar with the tools of inquiry, allowing them the opportunity to critically analyze research in their discipline. Specialist program students also become thoroughly familiar with California standards.

Encouraging Collaborative ECE Teacher Leaders

With its commitment to diversity and interprofessional work, ECE teacher leaders contribute their knowledge in the context of collaborative decision-making on behalf of children and families. These skills are explicitly taught and practiced throughout the Master of Arts/ECE and ECE Specialist Credential programs. Students engage in collaborative inquiry and reflection that allow applications from theory to practice. Collaboration is required in group presentations and in their leadership activity during their fieldwork (LEE 241). The process of inquiry is further encouraged through research assignments that require understanding and use of technology to conduct searches of appropriate ECE data bases. Presentation skills are a focus in several of the classes (LEE 233, 235) and in LEE 241 the students must prepare a professional presentation proposal and frequently present at ECE conferences collaboratively with other students or faculty as a result of this assignment. ECE Teacher Leaders have also co-authored with faculty papers, articles and book chapters.

Early Childhood Education: Vision Statement and Goals

Utilizing diverse and dynamic communities as the primary resource, the ECE Program empowers ECE teacher leaders and ECE program leaders to construct a philosophy and approach to teaching and learning that empowers its graduates to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge, skills and dispositions that promote development and learning
  • Build strong relationships with families and communities
  • Integrate various perspectives to create quality early education for all children
  • Are responsive to ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity
  • Apply current ECE research to issues of practice
  • Utilize a variety of inquiry methods and the latest technology
  • Engage in reflection, documentation, assessment, and life-long learning
  • Advocate for children, families and the profession

With respect to the unit’s theme, Leadership for Diverse Communities, and consistent with the unit’s conceptual framework, our ECE Program focuses on NAEYC standards:

  • Ethical standards, dispositions and values of the ECE profession
  • Professional skills and exemplary practices
  • Interdisciplinary, family-based services
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Observation and documentation
  • Developmental appropriateness
  • Early literacy and language development
  • Cultural competence
  • Leadership and advocacy for children and families
  • Inquiry-based learning and critical reflection
  • Ability to understand research and apply findings
  • Standards and guidelines for curriculum
  • Outcome performance assessment of candidates
  • Meeting the needs of English learners and students with special needs through differentiated instruction

The specific goals of the ECE program are to develop literate, competent ECE teacher leaders and ECE program leaders who utilize theory, research, and ongoing assessment when making instructional decisions. During their studies in the Option II Credential Program, future teachers become caring and ethical professionals, guided by their knowledge of culturally and developmentally appropriate practices. ECE leaders address the needs of their culturally diverse learners respectfully and responsively. Further, in the course of their ECE program, students develop interprofessional skills necessary to becoming ECE leaders in both the educational community and in the community at large.

ECE Program Philosophy: Core Values and Beliefs

The ECE Program operates within a social-constructivist orientation characterized primarily by the work of Piaget, Vygotsky and Dewey. The philosophy and structure of the program is consistent with social constructivism. The ECE Program uses a small group cohort model as a means for co-constructing content knowledge, demonstrating professional knowledge, skills and dispositions and documenting effects on student learning. ECE program candidates experience Piaget’s (l952; l965) theory of cognitive and moral development, Vygotsky’s (1978;1987) socio- cultural view of cognition, language, and social development. behavioral theory (Skinner, 1978), social-cognitive behaviorism (Bandura, l989), information processing (Ausubel, l978), interactionism (Vygotsky, l978; Bruner; 1964), and neuro-biological theories (Tooby & Cosmides, l989; Martinez & Kesner, l991; Shonkoff and Phillips, 2000). Additionally Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences (l992, l995), Kohlberg’s (l984) moral reasoning, and professional ethics guided by Rest, Narvaez, Bebeau and Thomas, (1999).

The ECE Knowledge Base provides an extended description of the philosophy, research and practices that guide the ECE Specialist Program and its content.

Diversity in ECE

Preparing advanced ECE teacher leaders for diverse communities is a core value of our ECE Specialists and Masters Programs. These advanced programs share a common framework and a focus on psychosocial and cognitive developmental phenomena that characterize ECE. As ECE teacher leaders who make a difference our advanced students are exposed to ECE profession-oriented topics in Trends and Issues in ECE (LEE 171). In subsequent courses, students also focus on issues, which affect the profession and their future roles. Our advanced students benefit from courses, which infuse technology and reliance on current research to advance learning. In all of the courses, advanced students have access to a variety of professional settings in the community in which they can collect data and interact with professionals in the field. A distance learning delivery option for the ECE Specialist and Masters degree is offered for students living in the Visalia/Tulare area.

In graduate courses, Literacy in ECE (LEE 232), Curriculum and Assessment in ECE (LEE 233), and Concept Development in ECE (LEE 235), students are expected to analyze, integrate, demonstrate and assess their understandings about best practices in ECE through presentations, documentation of practice, field visits, research on model programs, curricular approaches and strategies, assessment and evaluation methods. In Field Work in ECE (LEE 241), students build individual evaluative portfolios which document their application of ECE practices in "real world" p-K settings and demonstrate their understandings of advanced ECE teaching principles in order to provide leadership for the profession.

We believe that cultural competence is basic for advanced students in order to consider the various ways diverse children learn—based on their personal disposition, developmental stage and cultural background. Developmentally appropriate practice encompasses cultural diversity and multiple paths for learning. Throughout the courses and especially in, Diversity and Inclusion in ECE (LEE 271) students develop new understandings about ECE Specialist Credential (Advanced Program), California State University, Fresno 15 how educators, young children and families gain knowledge, attitudes and dispositions about learning, schooling, prejudices and stereotypes and how to plan, implement and evaluate culturally responsive and inclusive curriculum. The graduate courses provide valuable opportunities for students to share their personal and professional experiences regarding living and teaching in a diverse community. Under the guidance of the faculty, ECE graduate students gain skills for becoming leaders and advocates who make a difference at local, state and national levels to promote culturally responsive programs for young children and their families.

Research-based practices for early learning and literacy are emphasized in ECE graduate courses as well as information on educational reforms that address diversity, learning style and the cultural dimension of schooling.

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