It is often stated that students’ experience in the field is the hallmark of a Wheelock education. Wheelock students complete field experiences in more than 280 schools, hospitals, community agencies and programs primarily in the Boston, Brookline and Cambridge communities. The placements reflect the College’s urban commitment and historic involvement in the communities in which it is located, and the faculty’s belief in the importance of dynamic integration between theoretical and practical knowledge. These sites include infant and toddler settings, after-school programs, public schools, independent schools, community health centers, hospitals, special needs, early childhood and district court settings. Many of our partners employ Wheelock alums and have been mentoring our students for years. We find that our supervisors often go above and beyond to help our students succeed in their field placements.
From the undergraduate first year through graduate work, Wheelock emphasizes learning about many cultures and affirming the strengths and collective wisdom that we all bring to society. Consistent with our Academic Guiding Principles, the College utilizes diverse and inclusive settings that build students’ capacity to become professionals who work effectively with children and families nationally and globally. In collaboration with field sites and faculty, the Field Experience Office supports students throughout the process of securing a placement, practica or internship. The staff works with students to identify interests, prepare for interviews, and coordinate with the sites to set up field experiences.
Wheelock students have the opportunity to complete several field experiences throughout their time at the College. Current students and alums often share that they appreciated the opportunity to get out into the field immediately during the first year for their Human Growth and Development (HGD) placement:
“I liked that we were out in the field in our first year. It really helped me with the HGD class because I was observing what we were learning in the classroom. I loved reading about different behaviors in the textbook and then seeing them play out at my placement. I came to Wheelock interested in infants and this experience helped to deepen that passion for me.” – First year student comment on site evaluation
Not only do these experiences help students begin to identify career interests, they also put them at an advantage when applying for jobs. As employers decry a lack of job skills in recent graduates, Wheelock’s programs give students the opportunity to build professional competencies while working closely with a mentor to prepare for the transition from the College to the professional world.
“I’m confident. I’m ready. My placements prepared me.” – Elementary Education Student, Class of 2010 talking about her field experiences in a focus group.