Hello, I'm Erika Thulin Dawes, Program Director for Early Childhood Education at Lesley's Graduate School of Education. We're so pleased that you are interested in our programs, and we can't wait to meet you in person. Until that time, we'd like to use this presentation to offer you a sense of our commitments and values. In this brief presentation, you will hear from several of our faculty as they describe important aspects of Early Childhood Education at Lesley University.
Our Early Childhood Education program celebrates the knowledge of children and the diverse literacies that they bring to the classroom. There is a strong focus on the power of oral language and storytelling to support young children's development as readers, writers and speakers across the languages of their homes, schools and communities. Throughout your courses, you will develop resources and strategies for teaching with high quality, diverse children's books and experience how rich conversations and purposeful response activities support students' literacies across the subject areas.
The Early Childhood program also adopts the principle of the hundred languages of children. That is, children have great potential to express themselves and learn in a variety of ways, including the arts. Teachers will therefore have the opportunity to learn integration strategies for promoting creativity, meaningful content learning, and social emotional development of children in a culturally responsive environment.
Hello, I'm Susan Rauchwerk, Professor of Education at Lesley University, and I teach the STEM Methods course in the Early Childhood program. Play is central to teaching STEM, and educational philosopher David Hawkins believed that children learn most deeply when they're following their natural curiosities, and as we know, children are experts in play. In his essay entitled Messing About With Science, he outlines for us the importance of providing children with the time and the space they need to understand both the potential and the limitations of the materials and objects in their natural world. Play is a natural skill that involves activities such as investigation, observation, testing, revision, collaboration, discussion and argumentation, all activities that are central to STEM and STEM methods, building STEM skills. Offering children the opportunity to work with materials such as eggs, water, rocks, seeds, materials that could embody complex scientific concepts, enables them to embark on a path of early inquiry opening their minds and their hearts to STEM.
As both a faculty member at Lesley and a classroom teacher, the Early Childhood program at Lesley is about critical conversations between theory and practice. Teachers in our program are integrated into early childhood classrooms and are supported by layered mentorships from supervising practitioners and Lesley faculty. Our coursework is constantly responding to the experiences of the early childhood classroom. Theory weaving into the realities of what it means to teach, that is where the true power lies and the ways that our moments with children ignite theory and make it come to life. In this way, I find that teachers at Lesley emerged with a powerful sense of their perspectives and philosophies as educators. These become the heartbeat of their practice.
Relationships are the foundation of learning. They are the place we begin and the space where we grow and challenge ourselves. The Early Childhood program at Lesley is founded on close relationships with faculty, who mentor and support the whole student in the lifelong journey of teaching. These relationships begin at Lesley and continue to grow long after graduation, as these connections follow teachers into their classrooms, offering support and lifelong collaborations.
As you begin your studies at Lesley, I'd like to encourage you to take full advantage of all that our program has to offer. Whether you are in one of our residency model programs, in an off campus cohort, or a part time or full time student on campus, we are here to support your success. You will be working with a dedicated team of academic advisors, faculty and administrators, who are ready to help you navigate your coursework, MTELs and practicum requirements. The Early Childhood program at Lesley is a layered experience of connections, engagement with materials, mentorship and classroom relationships. It will invite you to play, to wonder, to question and to envision who you are and who you will be as a teacher. We look forward to learning with you through this incredible journey.