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Clinical experiences are an essential component of an early childhood teacher preparation program. Programs use a variety of terms to describe clinical experiences: field observation, field experience, laboratory, practicum, or internship. The common factor of all of these is the opportunity for future early childhood teachers to have authentic experiences with young children. Early clinical experiences may include observations that help teacher candidates better understand the early childhood teaching career and developmental characteristics of young children. Mid-level clinical experiences typically provide opportunities for preservice teachers to apply the theoretical principles learned in their course work to the children in a classroom setting, and a culminating clinical experience, often called “student teaching” or “laboratory capstone experience” helps beginning teachers refine their observational and instructional skills. Clinical ...

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