Special Needs Preceptorship

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
ECED 2455
Special Needs Preceptorship
Early Childhood Education
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
30 ratio 1/15 online or ratio 1/10 on campus
Contact Hours

Lecture/Seminar: 3 hours/week (in person and/or online)

Practicum: 40 hours/week


Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

The methods of instruction for this course include:

  • Practicum experience in Inclusive Child Care Centres
  • Observations
  • Programming
  • Discussions with ECE Practitioners
  • Seminars with instructor
Course Description
This preceptorship practicum is a placement in inclusive Early Childhood Education centres. This course provides opportunities for observing and using functional assessments for the purpose of planning programs for young children with special needs.
Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  1. Learning from experience is a characteristic of exceptional early childhood educators. Learning in a practicum setting provides opportunities to examine assumptions and explore creative modes of inquiry that are not available in classroom settings.
  2. Quality practice in inclusive early childhood programs grows out of reflective and interpretive understanding of the connection between research and practice in key developmental areas such as communication, social competence and peer relationships, play skills and temperament.
  3. The family centred care approach drives the individualized program for each child in the early childhood program. Families are involved as the initiators, primary decision makers, and information providers in all aspects of screening, assessment and goal setting regarding their child. This collaborative relationship depends upon effective communication skills, both oral and written; creativity, and flexibility on the part of the early childhood educator.
  4. A major priority for early childhood programs is the inclusion of all children. Early childhood educators assess their philosophy and practice in terms of the principles of inclusion, and advocate effectively for children’s rights to be educated and cared for in a normalized environment.
  5. The effective early childhood educator has positive personal attitudes toward diversity in ethnicity, class, age race, ability, temperament and culture. A continuing examination of one’s developing attitudinal competence is required.
  6. Social competence and peer relationships are central features of inclusive programs that aim to help all children gain the skills they need to make friends.
  7. The early childhood educator observes and assesses children using dynamic assessment methods which emphasize the child’s skills and interests as shown in play and social situations. Regular observation, documentation and information, from which the curriculum is planned, is shared with the family. These reports are presented in a positive way which emphasizes the child’s abilities.
  8. The early childhood educator works collaboratively to design, implement and evaluate programming that is integrated. Parents and teachers share practical information on ways to meet the child’s individual needs within group situations. Curriculum is based on the child’s demonstrated interests, information from the family and support for mutually agreed upon goals.
  9. The early childhood educator evaluates best practices for high quality service delivery in inclusive early childhood settings through the use of current developmentally appropriate evaluation tools.
  10. The early childhood educator develops opportunities for the center staff to establish relationships, to resolve conflicts, to share information on children and families, to set goals, to evaluate, and to share resources. Mutual support is given to team members in all aspects of service delivery to children who require extra support and their families.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to do the following.

In Cooperation with others, the student will take responsibility for:

  1. Demonstrating personal and professional qualities, including:
    • taking a mature approach to personal wellness
    • demonstrating the qualities of exceptional teachers of young children
    • practising effective work habits
    • showing professionalism
    • relating curriculum practices and interactions with children and families to current theory
    • taking a culturally sensitive, family-centred approach to working with children and families
  2. Demonstrating inclusive practices, such as:
    • using observations of children as the basis for assessment and planning
    • working in collaboration with colleagues, families and other professionals
    • meeting children’s needs in all developmental areas
    • demonstrating responsiveness to individual children when program planning and during daily routines and activities
    • ensuring that all children can be included in curriculum experiences planned for the individual child
    • making program adaptations to meet individual abilities when planning for the group
  3. Taking responsibility for children’s safety:
    • when preparing the environment
    • by anticipating problem situations
    • by explaining consequences to children
  4. Effectively interacting with children...to support learning (including language development) by:
    • active listening/reflecting feelings
    • using self talk (describing your own actions)
    • using information talk (describing what the child is doing)
    • using open-ended questions
    • extending or elaborating children’s comments
    • facilitating children talking to each other
    • keeping conversations going with a child when guiding and caring, by:
      • ignoring negative behaviour, when appropriate, and reinforcing appropriate behaviour
      • redirecting, when appropriate
      • negotiating
      • using affirmations to help children feel they are valued
      • offering appropriate choices
    • removing a child only when necessary when supervising children, by:
      • modifying the environment to be developmentally appropriate
      • scanning-showing overall awareness and anticipating individual children’s behaviour
      • offering appropriate reminders for transitions.
Means of Assessment

This course will conform to the Douglas College Evaluation Policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.

This course is a Mastery/Non-Mastery course.

Typical means of evaluation may include a combination of:

  • Practicum Journal
  • Observations
  • Support Plan
  • Matrix
  • Continuum of Participation
  • Evaluation Booklet
Textbook Materials

Consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required texts or materials. A list of required materials is provided in the instructor’s course outline, which is available to students at the beginning of each semester.


ECED 2401 and ECED 2450 (can also be a prerequisite)