Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


For early childhood education students, field experiences are a critical component of applying content knowledge to real-world experience in the classroom. The problem is the number of field experience hours does not assure quality learning for the early childhood education student. A review of literature on the topic of quality field experiences revealed a need for scaffolded experiences, positive relationships with mentor teachers and integration of reflective practice. 13 participating mentor teachers and 14 students currently enrolled in the early childhood education program at Minnesota North College were surveyed to collect data related to scaffolded experiences, mentor teacher roles and relationships and reflective practice. The early childhood education program at Minnesota North College was evaluated using a three-point rubric for alignment with markers of quality field experiences. In response to research and data analysis, a developmental trajectory of field experiences throughout four semesters was created. Additionally, mentor teacher roles and responsibilities were clarified and organized within three distinct levels of interaction. Finally, a framework for embedding scaffolded reflective practice was developed. Implementation of scaffolded field experiences, positive mentor teacher relationships and embedded reflective practice will create a high-quality field experience component to the early childhood program.

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