Early Childhood Education Resources


Mission and Vision Statement

PPSC's Conceptual Framework

Mission and Vision Statement

Pikes Peak State Colleges purpose is to educate and train early childhood educators, providing them with the core knowledge and standards that bridge 21st Century expectations, embrace quality measures, and exceed industry standards.

Comprehensive early childhood education and training will be available to all early childhood educators.

We will accomplish this by:

  • Being an open enrollment community college
  • Participating in recruitment activities in our community
  • Promoting funding opportunities to make college accessible for all
  • Providing essential student support services
  • Ensuring high-quality instruction
  • Teaching a variety of early childhood courses
  • Aligning courses with Colorado’s Competencies for Early Childhood Educators & Administrators
  • Assessing student outcomes with NAEYC’s Professional Preparation Standards
  • Scheduling classes in a responsive manner
  • Offering certificate and degree options
  • Aligning transfer opportunities for students to further their education
  • Providing continuing education opportunities
  • Collaborating with our surrounding early childhood councils
  • Responding to the identified needs of our community constituents

PPSC's Conceptual Framework

For the Early Childhood Education Department, PPSC stands for:

  • Professionals

  • Prepared

  • Critical decision-making

  • Child development knowledge

The dynamic nature of early childhood classrooms requires early childhood educators who exhibit professional attitudes and behaviors, conscious of their influence on every child’s development through every decision they make.  Intentional decision-making grounded in sound child development knowledge, supported by reflective practice, will be the hallmark of a Pikes Peak State College education.  Our graduates will be inspired to be lifelong learners, passionate about and committed to honoring and supporting the diverse children and families they serve.  Our program will be guided by three major areas of early childhood education:  foundational knowledge, professional disposition, and experiential practice.

Foundational Knowledge

Decisions involving young children are guided by what we know about child development and learning. Research provides us with evidence of best practices that will guide our practices.

Professional Disposition

Teacher-attributes transcend all aspects of the classroom environment and set the tone for all relationships and learning.

Experiential Practice

Articulation of theory to practice happens with hands-on learning experiences in a classroom of children, guided by a mentor teacher who supports the reflection of learning, the thoughtful examination of one’s work.

ECE Background Checks are Mandatory

Background Check Policy

A national criminal background check is required of each and every Early Childhood Education student at Pikes Peak State College. In order to participate in the ECE program, in lecture-based and practicum-based courses, you will be required to complete a background check through Castle Branch Background.

Castle Branch Background.

* Use the package code PK38

Each student is responsible for completing a criminal background check with Castle Branch Background and is responsible for the $34.20 fee at the time of order.

This background check requirement is a Colorado Community College System requirement; therefore, any previous background check completed for employment will not suffice. This policy is implemented and monitored by the PPSC Human Resource Services Department.

Background checks are valid from the date of clearance as long as the student is continuously enrolled at PPSC in a CCCS-approved program with no more than a two semester lapse in enrollment. The Department Chair or Dean has the discretion to request additional background checks at any time, and the student will be responsible for the associated costs. In some cases, additional background checks may be required by practicum sites.

Should any required record indicate that a student is unable to work with children, he or she will not be eligible to complete courses requiring interaction with children.

Students do have the right to file an appeal with DHS should the findings indicate ineligibility to work with children. In the event that a student’s background check prevents one from working with children or be hired at an educational facility including child care centers, preschools, Head Start, family child care homes, elementary schools, the department chair will work with the student to individualize an alternative education plan and career path.


Student and Teacher

ECE Practicum Handbook

ECE Students

ECE Faculty

ECE Students

Practicum experiences (sometimes called lab or field placements) offer students the opportunity to implement their new knowledge and gain valuable hands-on experiences, all while following the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and Core Values as they interact with their mentor teacher, the children, families, administration, program owners, the college faculty, and community stakeholders.

Preparing For Your Practicum Experiences

The following guidelines and expectations exist to help ease your transition into your practicum experiences as part of your curriculum requirements in the ECE program at PPSC. This may be a daunting experience for some of you, with uncertainty and inexperience. For others, it may merely expand on your repertoire of training and experience. None-the-less, the experiences you have and the children and families with whom you work will be of great value to you as you pursue your career in early childhood education.

ECE course and credits

Lecture Hours

Practicum Hours

Age Group of Placement

ECE 1045

1 cr lecture

2 cr practicum

15 hours

60 hours


ECE 1125

1 cr lecture

2 cr practicum

15 hours

60 hours


ECE 2615

3 cr practicum

No Lecture

90 hours

Special Needs

ECE 2089

5 cr practicum


The student is expected to follow the ECE Student Manual and PPSC’s Catalog for appropriate conduct. Students are expected to follow and practice the NAEYC Code of Ethics at the practicum site. The ECE student will:

PPSC’s Catalog for appropriate conduct NAEYC Code of Ethics
  • Submit to a background check in order to begin the lab. This must be done within the first week of class in order to begin the lab hours and complete lab assignments.
  • Coordinate with the faculty member his/her determined practicum location (childcare facility)
  • Inform the faculty member in writing the set practicum times for the entire semester.
  • Be on time for scheduled practicum hours and stay for the entire length of scheduled time. If the student will be late or must cancel a practicum day, the student must inform the center or mentor teacher immediately. Additionally, notify the faculty member of the absence if a faculty observation/visit is scheduled for that day.
  • Sign in each time upon arrival and sign out when departing the practicum site.
  • Be professional and maintain confidentiality while on and off the practicum site. This protects the staff, children, and families of the program and follows the Code of Ethics.
  • Report to the faculty member or ECE department chair any unethical behavior that is observed, as the practicum student is considered a mandatory reporter. If comfortable, please first discuss concerns with the director/owner/mentor teacher.
  • Follow Colorado’s Rules Regulating Childcare Centers or family child care programs.
  • Be familiar and follow the practicum site's personnel and programs policies and procedures.
  • Not bring children or guests to the college classroom or practicum sites.
  • Not use cellular or other electronic devices during practicum hours.
  • Not use drugs/alcohol, smoke or use tobacco products at the practicum site.
  • Not use profanity or crude language at the practicum site. This is considered unprofessional and unethical, and it will not be tolerated. Any student using profanity in the presence of a peer, instructor, child, practicum staff or parents will be immediately dismissed from the practicum site. This will be considered an unexcused absence with point deduction.

ECE students, particularly practicum students, are in pre-professional training and appearance is governed by standards which may be different from the rest of the campus. At all times, students will be expected to be well-groomed, clean, and neat in appearance. There may be specific dress codes for practicum sites (child care center, preschools, family child care, Head Start, faith-based). Please discuss dress policies with the center director or mentor teacher. Personal hygiene must be excellent and personal habits concerning nutrition, rest, exercise, and overall health should reflect genuine belief in preventive maintenance for health.

All students enrolled in PPSC's Early Childhood Education Program will comply with all policies and procedures of the Early Childhood Student Handbook and the College Catalog. The Student Standards of Conduct are in force at any location, college/club activity and includes all PPSC campuses and field-based site locations.

Review the PPSC Student Code of Conduct

The early childhood profession embraces a code of conduct that is the foundation of the early childhood professional. The NAEYC Code of Ethics is embedded into each course, and it is the responsibility of every student to learn and practice the code in and out of the classroom environment.

Review the NAEYC Code of Ethics

First and foremost, practicum students will complete the background check requirement for the ECE program.

Please review the Background Check Policy for more information.

  • Practicum students will abide by the professional guidelines set forth by the NAEYC Code of Ethics and PPSC student policies.
  • Practicum students will document 30 clock hours of practicum, field-based experience per 1 credit hour in a licensed early childhood program.
  • Practicum students will schedule regular weekly hours and submit that practicum schedule to the faculty instructor and the mentor teacher. To ensure a diverse practicum experience, make every attempt to schedule your hours at the various parts of the program's day.
  • Practicum students are expected to take increasing responsibility for overall health and safety, child guidance, teaching strategies, curriculum planning and implementation, teaming, family communication, and observing children in the classroom.
  • Practicum students will follow all licensing regulations, including maintaining licensing ratios.
  • Practicum students will adhere to the philosophy, practices, and expectations of the participating program.

Practicum students may complete their practicum in their place of employment, as long as the employer is a licensed early care and education provider (ages 0-8) and has completed the work-place practicum agreement form and any other agreement the college might require.

ECE Faculty

Mentor Teacher Role

The importance of practicum experiences is paramount in any teacher preparation program. The success of a practicum experience depends largely on the classroom teacher, who becomes a 'mentor teacher' once a practicum student is placed in practicum in his or her classroom. To assist our mentor teachers, the ECE department has created 'Guidelines and Recommended Best Practices' as it relates to mentoring ECE students while in practicum.

Being a Mentor Teacher & Coaching ECE Students to Perform - It Matters

practicum (prak'ti-kəm) - noun - a school or college course, especially one in a specialized field of study, that is designed to give students supervised practical application of previously studied theory; in a college or university, the part of a course consisting of practical work in a particular field. (Merriam-Webster)

Thank you for serving in the capacity of Mentor Teacher for the Early Childhood Education Teacher Preparation student (ECE student) at Pikes Peak State College. Your investment of time matters. The impact you can have on the transfer of education and training into the practice of the teaching classroom has been noted in a study by Joyce & Showers:

Type of Instruction

% Transfer of Knowledge into Practice

Theory only


Theory & Demonstration


Theory, Demonstration, & Practice


Theory, Demonstration, Practice, & Feedback


Theory, Demonstration, Practice, Feedback, and Coaching Support


  • Program directors will identify a teacher with the willingness, skills, and readiness to serve as a mentor teacher.
  • Program directors will allow the college instructor opportunities to observe the practicum student in their program, as well as discuss the student's performance while on-site.
  • The mentor teacher must hold, at minimum, an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) certificate from the State of Colorado Human Services, Division of Child Care.
  • The mentor teacher will allow, encourage, and support the practicum student's increasing responsibility for overall health and safety, child guidance, teaching strategies, curriculum planning and implementation, teaming, family communication, and observing children in the classroom.
  • The supervising teacher will sign a timesheet to verify the practicum student's completed clock hours of practicum.

The mentor teacher will provide feedback, both informal and formal, to the practicum student. Additionally, the mentor teacher will complete an evaluation of the practicum student using the PPSC form provided by the student.

  • The instructor's role during the practicum is to provide feedback to the student about his or her performance and effectiveness. Ideally, the instructor will formally observe and evaluate practicum students twice during the semester and may meet briefly with the mentor teacher during practicum site visits.
  • Observations and evaluations made will be shared solely with the practicum student.
  • All information included in observations and evaluations of practicum students will maintain confidentiality regarding the children, staff, and families in the practicum placement site.
  • The instructor may model effective strategies during a visit.
  • The instructor may take notes in writing.
  • Video self-evaluation is a requirement of practicum students. The instructor will videotape the practicum student in action, unless otherwise determined by the ECE instructor. The purpose of the video is for the ECE practicum student to reflect upon his or her practice. Please view the videos titled "Reflections of a First Year Teacher," and "Using Video for Reflection and Coaching" from the State of Colorado Department of Education website for a clear explanation of how the videos will be used. Programs may need to acquire permission from its families in order to have a practicum student placed in their program. Photo and video will only be used when a program director grants explicit permission to do so.

Important Note: Occasionally, practicum placements create barriers to meeting the course requirements. For example, practicum students who are hired outside of the regular setting (floaters, bus drivers, cooks, etc.) have difficulty implementing lesson plans in a classroom and working regularly with the children under the direction of the mentor teacher. Another example arises when the practicum student is the lead teacher and needs a supervising, mentor teacher who can provide effective feedback. We encourage both practicum students and program directors contact the ECE instructor directly when these situations occur so that we can make arrangements to help the student meet the course requirements.

As an individual who works with young children, I commit myself to furthering the values of early childhood education as they are reflected in the ideals and principles of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. To the best of my ability I will:

  • Never harm children.
  • Ensure that programs for young children are based on current knowledge and research of child development and early childhood education.
  • Respect and support families in their task of nurturing children.
  • Respect colleagues in early childhood care and education and support them in maintaining the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct.
  • Serve as an advocate for children, their families, and their teachers in community and society.
  • Stay informed of and maintain high standards of professional conduct.
  • Engage in an ongoing process of self-reflection, realizing that personal characteristics, biases, and beliefs have an impact on children and families.
  • Be open to new ideas and be willing to learn from the suggestions of others.
  • Continue to learn, grow, and contribute as a professional.
  • Honor the ideals and principles of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct.

NAEYC Standards