Guidelines for University Student Participation

We anticipate that your learning experience here will be of benefit to your academic career and also to the classroom demonstrations. For a descriptive overview of our program, please visit our Academic Programs page.

As You Prepare For Your Visit Please Note…

  • Be sure that you understand the nature of an early childhood education laboratory school, WHY you are here and WHAT you are supposed to accomplish during your visit. Your instructor/professor will supply us with a current syllabus from your class so that we may assist in your success.
  • Schedule your visit in advance by calling 901.678.2120 and be on time. We have many students who rotate through during a semester and our Office Coordinator keeps an accurate record of who, what, and how many different student participations are being conducted. A sign posted on the portico will direct you to the Office. Please state what it is you need to do here such as an observation, a practicum, a student teaching experience, etc. Unannounced students arriving without an appointment will NOT be accommodated. Upon arrival, please sign in at the Office and get a name badge to identify you while you are here. If you cannot come for some reason, please call to let us know. We will explain to the children.
  • Dress appropriately. Working with preschoolers requires clothing that is clean, comfortable and washable as well as professional in appearance. If you will be performing ‘teacher tasks', then look like a teacher.
  • Remember that YOU are responsible for the quality of your experience here. We, the staff, are here to guide, to teach, to evaluate, and to support you. Whatever questions you may have about what you see or hear should be directed to the supervising teacher or the director. But YOU are responsible for making the contact, arriving on time, keeping track of hours, asking questions, rescheduling if you need to make up some time and making certain you are successful. If you are experiencing difficulties accomplishing your assignments here, please talk with the classroom supervising teacher or the director. We can help.

Observations Inside The Classroom

In order to enhance valid observations, no more than two people are allowed to observe inside the classroom at the same time unless the classroom teacher specifically states otherwise. Classrooms with observation windows can accommodate numerous students at the same time for a visual observation. Auditory observation must be done inside the classrooms.

Suggested Observer Behaviors…

  • Be unobtrusive. Have your materials such as notebooks, observation journals, pens, etc. ready for you to work with rather than disturb the class by rummaging through your backpack. If a child inquires about your presence, tell them you are here, “…to watch them play and work with the teacher." HOLD your questions for the supervising teacher when she/he is not involved in classroom activities. It is further suggested that you make an appointment with the supervising teacher at a later time.
  • Whenever possible, sit — do not stand — to observe. In their anxiety to “see everything", observers sometimes hover over children so that the children become self-conscious or wildly excited and stop the process the observer came to see.
  • Do not feel you must remain rooted in one spot. If you need to move to another vantage point, do so as inconspicuously as possible.
  • If there is more than one observer in a classroom, each should take a different spot. There may be no talking or whispering to each other about what they are observing because it will interfere with the process.

Field Experiences Or Required Teaching Activities

If your assignment requirement is to teach a lesson, then you should prepare yourself for the experience.

Pre-Teaching Requirements:

  • If you have not already done so, observe at least a half hour to one hour in the classroom during the same approximate time you will be implementing your lesson. This will give you some idea as to the classroom chemistry or bio-rhythm.
  • Schedule a time with the supervising teacher of the age appropriate group to whom you will be implementing your lesson. Submit to that teacher your lesson plan one week in advance so that it may be approved or improved by that teacher. (You may fax them to 901.323.9560 if you have already been in contact with the supervising teacher.) The supervising teacher will go over with you matters of importance such as:
    •  Developmental appropriateness
    •  Lesson topic or project
    • Group size of the number of children who will participate
    • Materials to be used

Suggested Teaching Behaviors…

  • Be on time! It is professionally courteous.
  • Enter the room respectfully. Even though we will be expecting your arrival, it is important to smoothly transition yourself into the ongoing program.
  • Get down on the child's level physically. Sit, kneel, or bend down while talking eye-to-eye with children. Make an effort to call the children by his/her name.
  • Be specific, be positive, not negative. Give alternative responses to inappropriate or incorrect answers. For example, rather than tell a child, “No, that's not right…" say something like, “If you'll think about that some more you may decide to change your answer." Or “Keep thinking on this…"
  • Discipline is the ultimate responsibility of the Lipman School staff. If you are experiencing difficult behaviors from the children, stop the lesson, gain control of the group and try again. Your frustration level is proportional to the children's frustration level. If the behaviors persist, request the Lipman School staff to step in.
  • Should you not be able to come at the appointment time, call as soon as possible to the school office at 678-2120 to alert us that you will not be coming. You must reschedule your time with the supervising teacher of the room to whom you have been assigned. You may not just show up at random.

Case Studies

If your assignment is to conduct a case study on an individual child there are certain steps you, the student, must follow for maintaining confidentiality with our children and families.

  1. Check with the supervising teacher about the child you have chosen and get her green light. We try to make certain the same child is not chosen each semester.
  2. Fill out the form letter for parents from your course instructor and give it to the supervising teacher or the graduate assistant in the classroom to which you are assigned.
  3. Because of confidentiality issues we cannot give out contact numbers for parents, so the Lipman School staff will make certain the parent receives your letter. Should you not get a timely response from the cooperating parent, please let the supervising teacher, the Office Coordinator or the Director know as soon as possible. We will try to expedite the parent contact. If more than a week goes by and you still have had no response, please call us or come by so that we can see what the problem may be.