The Community-Based Learning experience is a highlight of the Early Care & Education program, and it will provide you with “early and ongoing practice opportunities to apply content and pedagogical knowledge in real-life settings to progressively develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to promote the development and learning of young children” (National Association for the Education of Young Children). This connection between theory and practice, made through direct contact with young children, is an important foundation for you in careers in teaching, early childhood policy, family engagement, administration, and beyond.

There are two types of community-based learning experiences in the ECE program:

  • Community-Based Learning is regular work or volunteer work in the early childhood community. You will spend 3-5 hours each week at your community-based learning site, interacting with young children ages 0-8 in classroom settings.
  • Applied assignments are assignments completed in a real-life setting. These assignments are required in many courses and may require a variety of participants (e.g. children, infants, parents, or early childhood professionals). Examples of applied assignments may include capturing video of your practice, ECE community learning observations, case studies, and interviews. Most often, these assignments may be completed at your Community-Based Learning site, and your instructors will provide you with more detailed information about the requirements of specific assignments. In order to complete video assignments, you will be required to obtain permission from the parents/guardians of participating children. 



You will obtain permission from your Community-Based Learning site and parents/guardians before beginning your CBL hours and applied assignments. The below forms are examples of some of the permission forms you will be required to submit when you enroll in the ECE program.

  • Community-Based Learning Contract: You and your community-based leawrning site supervisor will sign a contract to agree to roles and responsibilities.
  • Media Release Form: You can use this form or your site’s existing media release to obtain parent or guardian permission for their child to participate in videotaped sessions.
  • Privacy & Confidentiality Agreement: You will use this form to express agreement to appropriate behavior in community-based learning sites, such as maintaining child confidentiality and the proper use of video and images.