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ASE 399: After School Education Practicum

Course Description

Completion of a practicum is a requirement to earn a Credential in After School Education. A practicum is performance based and enables you to earn credit by demonstrating that you have knowledge and competencies in the area of after school education and that you can apply your knowledge in actual situations. The practicum is required for those Credential in After School Education candidates who do not have the required 240 hours of previous experience working in an after school program. (3 credits)

When to Apply: You may apply for the Charter Oak practicum at the beginning of the fourth class of your course work for the Credential in After School Education. It is through your courses that you will gain much of the theoretical knowledge that you will be expected to apply during the practicum assessment process.

Your practicum site can be your current place of work in an after school program or a site where you will be an intern. An after school program is defined as before and after school, vacation and summer programs which assume responsibility for participant safety and extend educational support or provide positive youth development to children and youth and families in a program operating under state approval or licensing authority or legally exempt from licensing under state statutes. A minimum of 240 hours is required and must be completed during the course of the field study practicum. The field study must be completed in one setting prior to applying for the practicum credits and completing the assessment process.

Your supervisor will be someone in your work setting who will verify your responsibilities and comment on your work. The supervisor must have at least three years of experience in the field and hold an AS, BA, BS or advanced degree in child development, recreation, physical education, elementary education, special education or related field from an accredited college. The faculty consultant may approve exceptions.

Your faculty consultant has been assigned by Charter Oak. The faculty consultant will determine if credit should be awarded for the practicum based on the paper, a Professional Portfolio and your supervisor’s statement concerning the adequacy of your work experience.


  • ASE 255: Introduction to After School Care and Education
  • ASE 260: Program Environment and Curriculum Development in ASE
  • ASE 265: Child and Adolescent Development
  • ASE 270: Supervision and Leadership in ASE
  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Learning Objectives

By the end of the field study practicum students will:

  1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of child development and apply this knowledge in practice.
  2. Observe and assess children’s behavior and use this knowledge in planning and individualizing the curriculum.
  3. Establish and maintain an environment which ensures children’s safety and their healthy development.
  4. Plan and implement a developmentally appropriate curriculum that advances all areas of children’s learning and development (social, emotional, intellectual and physical).
  5. Establish supportive relationships with children and implement developmentally appropriate techniques of guidance and group management.
  6. Establish positive and productive relationships with families.
  7. Support the uniqueness of each child, recognizing that children are best understood in the context of family, culture and society.
  8. Demonstrate professional commitment and involvement in professional activities and establish positive and productive relationships with other staff members.

The major steps for the three-credit practicum are outlined below (all steps must be completed by the end of the semester):

  1. Complete the After School Education Field Experience Practicum Application and Application for Field Placement forms.
  2. Identify your supervisor for your work experience. Your supervisor will complete the Supervisor's Form.
  3. Compose and submit a reflection journal with weekly entries.
  4. Compose and submit a Practicum paper.
  5. Complete and submit a Professional Portfolio.
  6. Engage in periodic phone conferences with the faculty consultant at mutually agreed upon times.

You will be notified of the decision regarding credit within one week following the receipt of your practicum paper and Professional Resource File.

Application (PDF)Application for Field Placement (PDF)

Elements of the Three-Credit After School Education Field Experience Practicum

  1. Reflection Journal

    The reflection journal provides you with an opportunity to write about your experiences and professional growth during your field study placement. The purpose of the journal is to assure that you remain focused on the learning objectives of the field study practicum and that through guided reflection you acknowledge both your personal growth and application of the material you have learned in the ASE credential courses. Each week you will reflect on one or more of the Reflection Journal Guided Questions.

    Your reflection journal will be emailed to the faculty advisor every week during the practicum. The faculty advisor will comment on the material in an effort to encourage continued growth towards achieving the practicum learning objectives.

    Reflection Journal Guided Questions

    1. Take some time to observe this program from the following perspectives:

      • A staff person
      • A child
      • A parent
      • A Director
      • Observe at least a few days from each perspective to examine patterns of behavior and experiences. Share your observations and what you learned through this experience.
    2. Describe this program using the five senses. What did you learn about the program environment? What had you never considered before doing this assignment?
    3. Describe the design of the physical environment. What do you feel supports best practice in after school and what would you consider changing?
    4. Describe the emotional climate of the program. What do you feel supports best practice in after school and what would you consider changing?
    5. What are the typical experiences of a five/ six year old child in your program? How does the program support his/her individual developmental needs? What have you done to support his/her individual needs?
    6. What are the typical experiences of a ten year old child in your program? How does the program support his/her individual developmental needs? What have you done to support his/her individual needs?
    7. Observe over the course of a few days a child who has difficulty socializing and making good choices. Describe the strategies used to support this child. Consider what strategies you can use to support this child’s social and emotional development and apply them in your work with this child. Describe this experience.
    8. Share your thoughts and experiences with planning and facilitating activities. Consider what has been successful and why, what needed tweaking and why, how you have engaged the children in planning etc.
    9. What leadership skills have you used in your work in this program? Do you feel like you have been an effective leader?
    10. Consider the principals of best practice and describe how you have applied these principals in your work.
    11. If you had the opportunity to take over the leadership for this program what would your objectives be? What would you change, why and how would you make the changes?
    12. Describe your overall experience. How has this experience influenced your growth and development and plans for the future?
  2. The Practicum Paper

    Paper Length and Format: Your practicum paper should discuss each of the elements (1-8). The paper should be at least five typed, double-spaced pages, using standard type and margins. Your name, date, and course number should be on page one. Use footnotes and cite references when necessary. Make sure you carefully proofread the paper.

    The areas listed below are the core competencies that define what all after school professionals need to know and be able to do in order to provide quality child and youth programming.

    1. Child/Youth Growth and Development

      Knows the typical benchmarks of growth and development and uses this knowledge to provide a program that meets the multiple needs of children and youth.

    2. Learning Environments and Curriculum

      Creates a high-quality learning environment and implements age-appropriate curricula and program activities.

    3. Child/Youth Observation and Assessment

      Understands and applies observation and assessment techniques and tools to meet individual needs.

    4. Interactions with Children and Youth

      Recognizes the importance of relationships and communication in the practice of quality child and youth care, and implements guidance techniques and strategies to support children and youth individually and in group experiences to develop self-regulation, self-concept, coping mechanisms, and positive interactions with their peers and adults.

    5. Youth Engagement

      Acts in partnership with children and youth to foster appropriate child and youth leadership and voice.

    6. Cultural Competency and Responsiveness

      Actively promotes respect for cultural diversity and creates an inclusive, welcoming, and respectful environment that embraces diversity.

    7. Family, School, and Community Relationships

      Builds on respectful, reciprocal relationships across settings to promote optimal development for children, youth, and families and to enhance the quality of after school and youth development services.

    8. Safety and Wellness

      Ensures the safety and wellness of children and youth by implementing prevention, preparedness, and health and safety practices.

    9. Program Planning and Development

      Supports staff and serves as a role model around professional development plans by building healthy relationships with colleagues and families, providing developmentally appropriate practices, and connecting with and utilizing resources.

    10. Professional Development and Leadership

    Acts ethically, is committed to continuous learning, and advocates for best practices and policies for children and youth.

    Your practicum paper must address A and B below:

    1. Your practicum paper should discuss each of the core competencies (1-10). For each core competency, state at least one related principle or theory. Give an example of how you have used that principle or theory in your work in after school education. (See example below)
    2. In addition, you should address one of the following: 1) recommend changes to enhance the experiences of children and youth in the setting in which you were working. When providing the rationale for these changes, be sure to cite appropriate principles or theories; or 2) evaluate your growth and development in the area of after school education from your early experience to the present.


    1. Family, School, and Community Relationships

    Builds on respectful, reciprocal relationships across settings to promote optimal development for children, youth, and families and to enhance the quality of after school and youth development services.

    Principle or Theory: Uri Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory shows that close communication between parents, schools and after school program supports a child’s development .

    Application: I use a variety of communication strategies to communicate with parents. In the hallway where parents pick up their children there is a bulletin board with information we wish to share with the parents. Each family receives a handout when they first enroll their child.

    We publish a monthly newsletter to keep parents informed about activities and send notes home when necessary. I try to speak with parents each day at pick up time. Twice a year, we have a more formal conference with each child’s parents. I am in close contact with the school that the children attend.

  3. Professional Resource File

    Submit the complete Professional Resource File you compiled during the four courses required for the Credential in After School Education. Make any edits, changes or additions as necessary. Your Professional Resource File should include any additional resources collected, a table of contents, a complete reference list and a summary page describing the portfolio and how these resources will help you in your work in an after school program.

  4. Conference with Faculty Consultant

    Throughout the course of the practicum, you will have periodic conferences with your faculty consultant, at mutually arranged times.

    Upon completion and submission of your Practicum paper and Professional Resource File, your faculty consultant will schedule a concluding phone conference with you to discuss your knowledge and competencies in the area of after school education.

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COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.