Fieldwork: Student Assistants and Observers
A unique aspect of the Early Childhood Center's program is the involvement of the College's students. Student assistants are participant observers in the classroom, immersing themselves into the life of the classroom. Their presence in the classroom makes possible a high ratio of adults to children, and an increased diversity in staffing. Sarah Lawrence graduate students working towards a master's degree in the Art of Teaching, Child Development, or Dance Movement Therapy participate as assistant teachers, working directly with the center's master teachers. Undergraduate students studying psychology serve as student assistants. The interdisciplinary breadth of interests among our student assistants enhances the Center's curriculum.
Approximately 75 college students—primarily from Sarah Lawrence along with guest students from Westchester Community College's early childhood program—are assigned to the Center throughout the school year, and become actively engaged in classroom life. Some carry out structured observation, but most work directly with the children in the classroom. Student assistants are oriented by the center's director, and guided by the master teachers. Many Sarah Lawrence College students go on from this first experience of working with children to become teachers, social workers, therapists, and researchers in child development.