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Registration for the Fall 2019 semester begins June 25.  Watch your email for more details.

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Special Needs Practicum

Course Code: ECED 2483
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 5.0
Semester: 6 weeks, Flexible delivery ranging over 1 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Seminar, Practicum
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

This practicum is a placement in inclusive ECE 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.

Methods of Instruction

  • Practicum experience in Inclusive Child Care Centres
  • Observations
  • Programming
  • Discussions with ECE Practitioners
  • Seminars with instructor

Means of Assessment

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

This course is a Mastery/Non-Mastery course

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

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

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 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.

course prerequisites

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


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

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.