Overview: Community-Based Learning Experiences

Thank you for welcoming our Early Childhood and Family Studies (ECFS) and Early Care and Education (ECE) students into your program.  You are an important partner in our student's academic experience by providing them 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 students pursuing careers in teaching and beyond, in community learning such as early childhood policy, family engagement, and administration.

There are two types of community-based learning experiences in the ECFS & ECE programs:

  • Community-Based Learning is regular work or volunteer work in the early childhood community. Students spend 3-5 hours each week at their community-based learning site, interacting with young children 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. observing an infant or interviewing a parent or early childhood professional). Examples of applied assignments may include capturing video of student practice, ECE community learning observations, case studies, and interviews. Most often, these assignments may be completed at the Community-Based Learning site, and our students will provide you with more detailed information about the requirements of specific assignments.   In order to complete video assignments, students will be required to obtain permission from the parents/guardians of participating children. 

The Intentional Teaching Framework provides our students with the opportunity to learn not just by gaining knowledge, but by observing, doing, and reflecting on their actions and impact on the development of young children and their families.  Student’s time spent with you enriches their learning experience, providing them with the opportunity to observe early childhood professionals in action and practice interactions with children with your expert guidance and support. 

Intentional Teaching Framework

Know = Gain knowledge of child development and specific practices
See = Objectively describe what is happening in your own and others’ video clips, using specific behavioral language
Do = Set goals, plan, implement strategies
Reflect  and Improve = Observe your practice, assess, analyze, and implement quantifiable positive change

For more information about our community-based learning and applied assignments requirements, please contact Ruth Ayodeji, Community-based Learning Coordinator (rutha2@uw.edu).   


These forms are provided for your reference.  Our students will provide you with specific forms that need to be completed.


Land Acknowledgement Statement

We acknowledge that the University of Washington exists on the unceded lands and waters of the first people of Seattle, Lushootseed speaking Peoples, the Duwamish and Coast Salish people, “stewards of the land since time immemorial”. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the many Indigenous peoples who still thrive in this place—alive and strong. This land acknowledgment is one small act in the ongoing process of working to be in a good relationship with the land and the people of the land. We recognize this acknowledgment is one step in a life-long practice of moving to be in solidarity with Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island and globally. 

Please consider learning about the people whose land you live on and taking action to undo the harm. https://native-land.ca/ is a good starting point and/or text your zip code to 907-312-5085 for more information. It is important to remember the lasting impacts of colonization in Washington state and the world. If you are in Washington state, consider contributing to Real Rent Duwamish, https://www.realrentduwamish.org/. All funds go directly to Duwamish Tribal Services (DTS) to support the revival of Duwamish culture and the vitality of the Duwamish Tribe.