Observing, Interacting, Participating, Volunteering:
Experiential Education in a Group Setting for Young Children
Welcome to Towson University Child Care (hereafter, 'the
Center'). We hope that your time with us will be beneficial and enjoyable.
In order to help us serve you in your educational endeavors, please read
and carefully consider the following information.
The goal of our Center is to promote physical, cognitive, linguistic,
social and emotional development in an educational environment which is
caring and nurturant. We also attempt to support the development and parenting
efforts of our target population: student parents.
Our developmentally oriented preschool program, serves young children
ages two through five years of age. We attempt to promote each child's
social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development in a caring, nurturing
and educational environment. What you will witness here at the Center
is programming designed exclusively for our target population...young
children in group settings. Our programming
is not designed or oriented toward accommodating other schedules/interests/populations.
Information for observing or working with young children and
their parents in a non classroom setting.
If a student's interest and/or class requirement is to observe, participate, interact or volunteer
in an area outside of what may be considered to be conventional classroom related
issues such as business writing, surveying/data collection possibilities,
educational leadership, policy, advocacy, parenting, fund raising, playground
architecture, assisting in the development of parental leadership, accounting,
infrastructure, working with Boards, public relations etc., the student
is requested to make an appointment with office manager to ascertain if/where
within the Center's structure a discussion might begin..
Information for observing or working with young children in a
Working with young children requires, among other attributes, flexibility
and a willingness to evaluate/reevaluate/adjust to the changing parameters
of the children and their various situations. Often, our faculty make on-the-spot
decisions regarding changes in previously posted typical classroom routines. For
example: a Lead Teacher may decide to change the time of outdoor play
or even suddenly take a walk, due to an anticipated change in weather
or an unanticipated shift in the "mood" of the class. Please note: Regardless
of where the class is being held observers, participators, interactors, volunteers all report to the Center's front desk first,
sign in, turn in your agreement form, and pick up your ID badge into which you will insert your University ID, and then report to wherever the class is which they are
scheduled to observe, interact, participate or volunteer.
On occasion, a Lead Teacher may spontaneously decide not to return directly
to the center from an activity/lesson being held outside.. Do not,
therefore, expect to be accommodated each time in the same fashion. If
any of our faculty modifies a class schedule unexpectedly, they will make
every effort to inform our front office so that office personnel might
pass a timely message along, as observers arrive. However, if the office
has not been informed of a teacher's decision to adjust their posted classroom
routines (the decision may have been made between sites), you are certainly
welcome to simply have a seat and wait for the class you are scheduled
to observe to return, or begin the process of negotiating at that time
for another appointment to compensate for the one you will be missing.
`PROCEDURES for requesting access to the Center for educational
Students can schedule an appointment only after their professor submits,
via fax (43771)
a) a "preliminary" roster obtained from Inside@towson.edu
b) class syllabus
c) if there is any activity during drop/add, we request that professors resubmit the final roster.
If your professor would like you to participate in an undertaking of
some nature related to your course work, we will be contacted by your
professor who will inform us of names of class participants, and will
also request specific days and times, in keeping w/class calendar/syllabus.
The paperwork, that typically would be done here in the Center, will be
sent to your professor, and dealt with by you before you arrive at the
Center to participate; you must still bring your university ID to be allowed
admittance. You then, typically, will move between/among classrooms participating
in the activities which your professor would like you to experience among
different age ranges/different challenges.
Service learning and personal learning initiatives, which tend to cast your "whole" person into a project, are a
critical piece of your tenure here at Towson, and will make significant contributions to your "learning" experience. We
would never knowingly interfere or undermine your efforts to discover more about your specific learning style or to
long-term occupational interests. However, any student who is presented with a deadline, as stipulated within their
syllabus, or in written suggestion from student's Advisor to the Center's Director, will be offered first
priority in setting appointments for observation/participation/interaction(s)
Procedures for engaging in Observation, Participation, Interaction, Volunteering
We will not schedule an appointment for you until after your professor sends us at (email@example.com)
The university roster will include your name, ss#, name of the course, section, and professor's name.
Ask your professor to resubmit class data if you enter/leave after add/drop occurs which will then
cause the roster to either include or exclude you..
- a preliminary roster (from the web "Inside @Towson") and
- class syllabus (fax: 3771).
- if there is any activity during drop/add, we request that the professor send us an updated copy of their roster
If your interest is in volunteering with children, we are pleased to discuss possibilities with you,
within these parameters:
- Your Advisor or the Chair of your major department must send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org introducing you, and explaining the purpose of your
interest in volunteering.
- We will make every attempt to accommodate, starting
out slowly with a few hours allowing the number of hours to grow as the semester evolves (students who are fulfilling
class obligations get first priority; when the hours committed to observers are vacated, we will then be able to offer
hours to volunteers).
- Each semester, each of our Leads is asked to stipulate which, if any, volunteer projects they would like student
volunteers to engage. Ask at the front desk for such projects.We also have an on-going "sock-puppets" project, which
may take a long time to finalize as we are trying to develop sock-puppets to accompany each of the books in our
Library. After the puppets are made, you can, if you would like, negotiate for a time to use them to tell the book's
story in our classroom(s) developing a paper from your observation of how the children responded to the story without
assist of puppets, and then, in the reread, with puppets. Some students have also chosen to read to our three different
classes in an effort to comment on developmental differences, if evident.
- We have no need for "an extra adult" in any of our classrooms. If you have an idea which you would like to promote
for a volunteering project, make an appointment to speak with the Director to explain and promote it.
We invite the opportunity to volunteer to work with our Friends of the Children's Gallery, Friends of the
Children's Garden, or Friends of the Children's Library. Please email us
email@example.com to express interest, or phone x42652, to make an appointment to speak with either
__________/Children's Gallery, Precious Machinya/ Children's Garden, or Rebekah Snyder/Children's Library.
Registering at the Center:
You are required to register at the Center in person, presenting a Towson University ID (we will not accept
If you need to cancel an appointment, PEASE call us to say so. (Our machine is on 24 hours a day, and will "pick up" if
we are unavailable..) Leave a message w/your name, classroom in which you are observing, and date you are to observe, stating
that you will not be keeping your appointment. We very much appreciate this as there are students waiting to observe
literally require only one more hour to finish; assuming that we have enough notice to bridge-the-gap, the hour that
were generous enough to call us about not being able to maintain, could be used to fulfill another student's
requirement. We thank you in advance for your consideration of efforts involved in accessing limited resources, and
acknowledging, by being conscientious enough to give us notice, the time-constraints/demands, which other students also
After canceling you will need to return to the Center w/Towson ID in hand, to reregister for a make-up date.
WILL NOT be able to accomplish this by phone, as must see your Towson ID which hangs around your neck.
I. When you enter the center to observe, please approach the front desk to ask for your observation log-in sheet(s) and
plastic hang tags, hung around your neck w/ID facing out. This must be done BEFORE entering classroom.
II. After checking in at the office, proceed directly to the classroom where you are scheduled to observe. Those
choices will have been worked out with you initially by our office staff. We will make every effort to serve you within
the following parameters:
*If we email you via Towson's system, and mail is returned, we WILL phone CANS to ask for a little extra space in your
mailbox to accept the message. Using non-university email addresses slows us down, ensuring that we will be less able
supportive of you and the use of your valuable time.
- Two persons per classroom per hour;
- Observations in AMs only, unless a specific Lead
Teacher is willing to allow for deviation (office staff are aware of the specific times when each teacher has been
willing to make their classroom available)
- Use of tape recorders, camera etc. ONLY after discussion w/Director and
Lead Teacher about how and why, legitimized by written description secured from professor and written permission
obtained from parent(s) of child(ren) that are to be observed;
- If you are a student with a disability and are
entitled to the accommodation of using a tape recorder, we will need a memo to that effect from your professor in
advance of your first observation.
- All observations are pre scheduled; we will be asking for a phone number AND
Towson* email address so that later we can make an effort to advise you if you are scheduled to come on the same day
which a trip or other event might subsequently be scheduled, thereby interfering with your observation schedule.
III. When you enter the classroom you may hang your coat and place your books in a designated place. Take a seat in an
area that will not be distracting to the class, feel free to ask where that might be. If you need to speak with the
Lead Teacher, approach when the Teacher is not engaged with the children. You will be advised
immediately regarding time(s) when there will be opportunity to chat.
IV. The Lead Teacher will need to initial your observation log sheet each time you observe to substantiate a record of
the dates and hours you have completed. If the Lead Teacher is preoccupied as you prepare to leave, please leave the
observation log sheet on the Lead's Teacher's desk. That person will ensure that your documentation will be initialed
and returned to the office.
V. Please return your observation log sheet and plastic identification holder to the office as you leave the center.
(Observation log sheets are kept on file in the office until your last observation date.) After the last observation
finished, you may then take two copies of the three copies of our "Observation/Volunteer" form, one to deliver to your
professor and one for your records.
VI. DO NOT WAIT until the week before a paper is due to arrive to schedule an observation...we served 200+ students
semester, a large number given the 5 hours/daily we have to work within over 4classrooms/2 people/per hour/per room.
Observing Young Children:
Various children will experience your presence in the classroom in different ways. Some children tend to be inquisitive
and friendly with observers, others may seem shy and/or disinterested. Although your role may be to observe, not to
interact (unless specifically arranged ahead of time between professor/center/center's faculty), please feel free to
greet any child who may approach you. Children are naturally curious about their environment and the people they notice
in it, regardless of individual learning/personality styles.
If you are required to interact with a child as part of your class assignment, (which may take the form of taping a
speech sample, learning how to administer a test or speaking to a child about a subject and asking them to draw a
picture for you about what you have just been speaking about, learning how to administer a testing instrument on a
live, potentially uncooperative child etc.), please inform our front desk personnel (who will get to the Lead Teacher
which you may potentially be assigned), of your professor's requirements. We will do our best to assist you in meeting
requirements. The Center's Director will be pleased to explain to your professor why we were unable to provide you with
the type of experience requested, if we find we are unable to do so.
Some professors have approached us about a specific type of interaction
which they would like their students to experience. You, the prospective observer, should write the nature of the
interaction requested by your Professor on Page 1 of our Observation/Volunteer Form (attached to this information)
entitled, "Observer/Participant's statement of what student hopes to witness during this experience". (What you would
write, should, of course, agree with what your Professor discussed/explored with the Center's Director, when the
possibility of this opportunity was being negotiated for your class.)
If your observation requires an interaction of some sort with a child, that request will have to be made in writing so
that the Lead Teacher of the age child you are attempting to observe, has the time/opportunity to consider and respond.
Your interaction with a young child, if approved by the Lead Teacher, will require an understanding of how a young
child might respond to your requests.
To Be Considered
Young children tend to respond to relationships or connections with others (particularly adults) in a host of
unpredictable ways. You are a new person to them; it is your task to establish rapport. Typically, adults engage young
children in relationships through play and conversation. You will need to invest some time and energy in getting to
that child through interacting with him/her BEFORE you anticipate cooperation (BE ADVISED…even then
their cooperation is not guaranteed...and, you must know in advance that we are not
philosophically disposed to "force" children to cooperate, nor are we disposed as to ask children to give up their
play/free time to help achieve such tasks. We feel this is unethical, not to mention, counter productive.)
Because of the curriculum requirements in our PreK/K classroom, there are no interactive opportunities in that
except between 7:30-8:30, 10:30-11:00, and 12:00-12:30.
At the earliest part of the morning there also may not be anyone available, age-range wise, who can fulfill the
requirements of your obligation. You will need to check that out at front desk, inquiring re: are any children meeting
my requirements arriving by 7:30.
Some Practical Tips:
- When speaking to a child bend down to his/her level. Typically, larger people seem
less intimidating at eye level.
- Depending upon what is going on in the classroom, and if the Lead
Teacher endorses it (typically with a nod or grin) feel free to pull up a toy and PLAY!
Children typically enjoy the company of a willing playmate.
- Talk with the child about what he/she is doing or playing. Typically,
adult interest is valued by children.
- Be honest with children about what you would like them to do ie.,
"I want to use this tape recorder to help me learn about the sounds
that children like you make; will you help me? If you talk into the
tape player then we may be able to listen to what your voice sounds
like on the tape afterward…"
- You will need to be responsive to a child who does not want to cooperate with your request by respecting
his/her decision/right not to participate (accept it, and approach another child, beginning all over
- Please feel free to approach the Lead Teacher if you need assistance during your
observations at our Center. The Lead Teacher is also available to you as a professional resource at a
mutually agreeable time. (Teachers may not be available to you at the moment you'd prefer to talk with them. They
are willing, however, to work toward arranging a more convenient time if necessary. However, please be clear, that
in order to ensure the privacy of our children and families, teachers will not share
personal/anecdotal information about our children.
- We respectfully request and professionally insist that you not use any child's given name or personal
traits/circumstances in academic presentations/discussions beyond the classroom. The purpose for which you were
requested by your professor to engage in this type of learning is to embellish your understandings.
- Please respect the sacred trust in which we engage with the families who choose to use our services.
children are not objects lacking feeling. Understand, also, that your opportunity to observe only reflects a 45/50
snippet of time. Do not assume from such snippets that you can infer what you could have not possibly witnessed under
Thank you for your collaboration in our on-going efforts to develop and refine our environment; one where we assist in
the growth and development of young children and in which we hope to also support the growth of families. We look
forward to being of assistance to you as you witness "life-among-young children", our work-in-progress.
Please indicate below your name/professor's name. Your signature indicates that you have read and agree to
maintain your obligations to our children, the families we serve, and the Center. The parents of our children
are very considerate in allowing students to access what our/their children call "school", so that the
quality of your learning experience may be enhanced. All relationships, inevitably, involve obligations on both sides.
Thank you for understanding why we insist that you be respectful of the privacy of our children.
The National Association for the Education of the Young Child, an organization whose values we aspire to emulate, has
developed in concert with many other like organizations, a Code of Ethical Conduct. We see ourselves as relating to and
with young children and their families in similar fashion, and feel that you should also read and take the time to
think through what this Code implies, and thereby, what we expect that, by inference, you also agree to in theory. The
NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct is accessible
Please note: upon submitting this form, you will be taken to another web page. You will have to print that page and bring it with you at the Student Daycare Center.
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