The safety of a young child should be paramount for teachers. This is especially important for teachers of children in a birth to age 3 setting. Creating safe learning environments and monitoring for unsafe situations, both within and outside of the early learning setting, should be a teacher’s top priority.
For this field experience, select a childcare center that includes birth to age 3 children. Observe multiple age groups in the childcare center for safety regulations and issues.
After making your observations, interview the childcare center director and a parent or guardian, addressing the following:
- What safety regulation and issues must be addressed in a childcare setting?
- What are environmental safety concerns (toxic material, furniture, weather, toys, and car seats) that must be considered when working with very young children?
- How is your setting evaluated (internally and externally) for upholding safety standards and protocols for young children?
- In what ways does your facility/school collaborate with, educate, and inform parents/ guardians regarding safety concerns? This could include, but is not limited to, securing unsafe chemicals in the home, removing potentially hazardous toys (choking hazards), or securing furniture and electrical outlets.
- What emergency preparedness plans do you have in place and how are they communicated to staff, parents, and children?
- How could an unsafe environment or situation adversely affect student learning? How is promoting a safe environment an ethical responsibility?
- How do the faculty and staff at your facility serve as advocates for the safety of children in your care? Are there opportunities to engage in informed advocacy to optimize the learning opportunities and strengthen the learning environment? If not, discuss ways the faculty and staff could become knowledgeable about these opportunities.
Use any remaining field experience hours to assist the teacher in providing instruction and support to the class.
In 750-1,000 words, compare your interview findings between the parent/guardian and educator. Include how ensuring a safe environment for children demonstrates ethical compassion and care for children and their families and aligns with the Christian worldview perspective. In addition, discuss ways educators can engage in informed advocacy to optimize the learning opportunities for young children and strengthen the learning environment. Explain how your findings will help inform your future professional practice.