MCC’s Child Development Lab excels in the online learning environment
The Mesa Community College Evelyn H. Warren Child Development Lab (CDL) sets a new standard in virtual early childhood teaching and learning.
The laboratory school is a program accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Offering rewarding and developmentally appropriate activities for young children, toddlers and preschoolers, the CDL simultaneously serves as a training environment for MCC’s early childhood education trainees. When education began to evolve online in the spring of 2020, the CDL team quickly adapted to virtual learning.
With the onset of the pandemic, Rochelle Ramirez-Clark, CDL supervisor and head teacher, embraced technology as a tool for a meaningful educational experience for young children and their families.
“The mindset of the program was not to replace the value of a face-to-face experience, but rather to provide a rewarding experience for children and to fill a need for families and interns,” said Ramirez-Clark said. âWe wanted to create a welcoming, fun and engaging experience for children. “
Dawn Wilkinson, MCC professor as the Early Years Program Coordinator, provided the technical advice and support necessary for the success of the virtual summer programs. While Ramirez-Clark focused on developing learning plans and activities for young children and interns, Wilkinson focused on technical training and support.
âJust as we encouraged young children to play with new objects, we adults had to play with the platforms and programs we were using,â Wilkinson said. âIn a safe environment among colleagues, we took the time to press buttons to see what would happen and we took turns being the presenter. This time around really gave us the confidence to launch this new virtual program with families.
The resounding success of virtual spring classes has led to the development of eight-week virtual parent-child and preschool programs over the summer.
Matt Rayman, father of twins who participated in the Summer Toddler Program, said, âThey’ve never done anything like this before and I was so proud of their commitment to the content. The program showed me that it’s time to start learning some things I didn’t know were ready yet, like using utensils and learning new dance steps.
The trainees also had a seamless learning experience.
âOverall, the internship exceeded my expectations. I learned a lot about early childhood education and had the opportunity to facilitate sessions, âsaid Lyn Coulthard, early childhood intern. “I was surprised at how engaged the younger students were, and I was curious to observe them and see how the teacher engaged with them and held their attention.”
âWe were thrilled with the progress our young children made with the virtual program during the spring and summer sessions,â said Annapurna Ganesh, Faculty and Program Director of MCC’s Early Childhood Education Program. . âWord got out, our colleagues from higher education and directors of the Valley centers asked us to share how we have adapted to the virtual environment.
There were over 50 participants in our virtual hands-on meeting and many more reached out. I am incredibly proud of MCC’s early childhood education team, the dynamic attitude of the interns and the adaptations they made to ensure that each of the young children was personally recognized, congratulated and engaged during the event. of each virtual classroom session.
The huge success of the summer program paved the way for MCC’s Child Development Lab to offer virtual enrichment programs for fall 2020. From September to November, three thematic sessions of four weeks are offered to children from 18 months to 5 years old.. Visit mesacc.edu to find out more about the virtual school early childhood enrichment programs.