Working in Public Pre-K Programs
Internship: Gerald D. Cushing School’s Public Pre-Kindergarten Program
My internship took place at Gerald D. Cushing School in Wilton, Maine. I worked with my mentor, Donna Barber, in her public pre-K classroom. My internship provided me with opportunities to practice classroom management with two different classes of pre-K students. My role grew throughout the semester from an observer in the first two weeks, to a leader of small-group activities, and finally to a leader of large-group activities such as circle time and story time.
Interning in a public pre-K classroom allowed me to experience working on a team of teachers to plan and implement classroom activities. My internship also helped me learn about and practice strategies for classroom and behavior management. Working with pre-kindergarteners in a public school gave me the opportunity to see firsthand what the children will be expected to do in kindergarten. Knowing what lies in store for children in the future helps prepare children of all ability levels to do well, and my experience at Gerald D. Cushing School helped me understand how to prepare children to move forward with their education.
Working with Infants and Toddlers and Their Families (Children with Disabilities, Part C Services)
Internship: Child Development Services (CDS) – Project PEDSLocation: Farmington and Waterville
For my internship, I worked at Child Developmental Services (CDS), both in Farmington and in Waterville. My mentor arranged for me to work in a variety of settings and with different people. I met many children and families during my home visits. I also worked in a classroom setting at Educare, a large center-based childcare program in Waterville. Educare’s Language Enrichment Group is for children who are transitioning from toddler services (Part C) to preschool services.
I had a chance to observe many different people who work at CDS including a variety of Primary Service Providers, the Speech Language Pathologist, the Occupational Therapist and the Physical Therapist. I accompanied each of these professionals into family homes and was able to observe their interactions with families and strategies that they used to assist and support them.
This internship has been very beneficial to me and my future career as an educator. I have learned something new each and every day. Majoring in Early Childhood Special Education here at UMF has taught me about a variety of topics such as theories, best practices, and strategies that go along with special education. This internship experience has given me a real opportunity to apply all the knowledge I have learned in school and has better prepared me for my career after graduation.
Jessica LeavittInternship: Child Development Services (CDS) – Project PEDS Location: Waterville
During my internship experience I had the privilege to collaborate with several early childhood professionals. These professionals were all skilled and extremely nice individuals. They supported my learning and were more than happy to answer any questions I may have had.
This internship allowed me to work in three different programs. The first was a program that ran 4 days a week. During this program I acted as a one-on-one interventionist to support young children within a preschool setting. Here, I gained a lot of knowledge in working with young children with speech impairments. I also worked in the Educare Central Maine Program in Waterville. This center-based child care program includes a large gross motor room for rainy days, numerous outside playgrounds, and multiple classrooms that promote active engagement and learning for young children. This program had multiple children with special needs. I learned how to collect data on children in an effective way. The third program was a language-based play group located in Canaan, Maine (close to Skowhegan). This program included 6 children with special needs. During this program I interacted with the children and also collected data in relation to their IEP (individualized education plan) goals. I gained a ton of knowledge and skills from this internship experience and highly recommend it to other early childhood special education majors.
Working in Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education Settings
Throughout my internship at Mid-Coast Regional Child Development Services, I took part in many opportunities, such as primary service provider meetings every Monday with a team of developmental, physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Then we followed up with families during playgroup that took place every Tuesday morning. I also attended home visits a couple of times a week with three different families. In addition to working with preschoolers, I had a chance to accompany an early interventionist as she worked with very young children with disabilities and their families in their homes.
I particularly enjoyed working in a classroom for children on the autism spectrum. I learned about adaptive materials while working closely with other professionals, assisting children to meet their IEP goals. This has been a wonderful internship placement and I would highly recommend it to any undergraduate in the field of Early Childhood Special Education….and I am very excited to start my new job, working for Mid-Coast Regional Child Development Services right after graduation!
Working in Special Purpose Preschools
Kiley GendronInternship: Child Development Services (CDS) Opportunities Location: Rumford
During my final semester, I interned at Child Development Services (CDS) Opportunities in Rumford, Maine. I was placed in their Baby Steps (3 – 4 yrs) and Giant Steps (4 – 5 yrs) programs. This is a special purpose preschool, which enrolls mostly children with disabilities or developmental delays. Most of the children enrolled have an individualized education plan (IEP), and the curriculum is designed to target each child’s specific needs. To begin the semester, I had the opportunity to observe the classroom, children, and teaching team. After a short time, I took on more responsibilities and was included in all aspects of being a team member. I began leading circles and transitioning the children through the day. Taking the role of lead teacher was a new experience for me. I applied what I learned in courses and gained experience and skill in leading a large group of children with disabilities. Going from never having experience leading a circle time to leading circle time everyday for two groups of children was a big change, but I grew in my abilities and confidence quickly. At the end of the semester, I truly felt like the lead teacher and could see myself leading a classroom of my own.
Working in Community Settings
Brittney CastonguayInternship: Sand Castle Clinical and Educational Services Location: Lewiston
My name is Brittney Castonguay. I am a recent graduate of UMF for Early Childhood Special Education. Spring Semester of 2012, I completed my final in-field experience/internship at Sand Castle Clinical and Educational Services located in Lewiston, Maine. I worked with a group of wonderful children, ages 18 months to 4 years. I had the opportunity to work closely with the regular education teacher as well as with the special education teacher in the classroom. Tasks and projects I completed while at Sand Castle were many. Some include: creating activity plans to carry out with the children, setting up the classroom, reviewing some of the children’s IEPs/IFSPs (individualized family service plan), and, most important, helping with the National Association for Education of Young Children accreditation process. Through the NAEYC process, I took pictures of all the items in the classroom and labeled the photos. There are so many opportunities for you future students! Make sure you take advantage of them and gain all the experience and knowledge you can. Enjoy your time here at UMF!
Working in State Agencies
My internship placement was in Augusta at the Maine Department of Education, Child Development Services (CDS) State Office. My mentor for this internship was Janna Gregory who is the Part C Policy and Staff Development Manager for all nine CDS sites around the state. This internship consisted of both team and independent work, and every day was something new. I attended a lot of different trainings and meetings with Janna and the team at the State Office to assure that all of the CDS sites and approved programs are doing what they are supposed to be doing and in a timely manner. When I wasn’t attending meetings, trainings, or conferences with Janna, I worked on research projects for the State. I learned so much about such a variety of different things, and I feel that I now have a better understanding of the work in the field. Although I wasn’t working directly with children, it has truly been a great experience, learning about the work that is done for the children. I highly recommend this internship placement to others who are interested in learning more about the administrative and “behind the scenes” work at CDS.