This Friday I drove to Bloomington-Normal, Illinois to visit Heartland Community College’s Early Childhood Education program. I was attending a Statewide Steering Committee meeting for the Heartland Equity & Inclusion Project (HEIP). This is an exciting project supported by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
The project itself is quite ambitious. One part of it includes re-designing the Early Childhood Education curriculum to incorporate practices which support CLAD or Cultural, Linguistic and Ability Diversity. I will share more about this meeting and the HEIP project in upcoming posts.
After the meeting, I took a tour of the Lab Center at Heartland and it was beautiful – new building, lovely set-up! I chatted a bit with the director and in the conversation she kept talking about “her” students. I wasn’t sure if she meant the children so I asked her and she looked surprised and said, “the college students, of course”!
This simple sentence meant a lot. To me, this reflects the kind of perspective that is important to a lab center; the director, teachers, and staff see the college students as “their” students and everyone in the building sees it as their responsibility to educate the students about what they do in the center for young children and families. In addition, many of the Master teachers were also adjunct faculty for the courses so they know the assignments and what it is like in the adult classroom – trying to bridge theory to practice.
As I continue to think about how to align lab centers and academic programs I think this may be a key factor – how do we see the students and our role in their educational and professional journey?
Something to think about as we start up a new week – Happy Monday!