What Students Really Say About Farmington
What does it mean to you to be an Early Childhood Education major?
It means I'm able to teach children from birth to age eight, able to interact with them and teach them. It’s an amazing program here — and it's fun. There are a lot of professors here who really care and take the time to teach you the methods they've learned and developed over the years. One method I learned last year was how to use the children to help develop your curriculum. I worked in a classroom this summer and I actually used that. It was really helpful.
How do you generate a curriculum from the children?
Basically, you listen closely to what the children have to say, what they’re talking about when they’re playing — especially when they’re playing imaginative play and with each other. So, then if one day they’re talking about the human body, you might want to do a unit about “My Body” or “Who I Am.”
Is it effective?
Yes, very. The kids this summer were really interested in playing in the grass and looking at bugs. So we did a whole unit, “All About Bugs,” what kinds of bugs there are and discussed that some people eat bugs. And so … we tried some bugs. They really liked it.
What are the requirements for the major?
I’ve taken Introduction to Early Childhood Education, where you cover different theorists, terminology, psychology — you cover everything. I’ve also taken an Observation course where you observe a classroom for a couple hours during the day and you see how children interact with one another. It’s very helpful for when you get to your own classroom. You may be concerned about children in your own room, so you keep a record where you write down everything the child is doing.
What about developing a philosophy on Education?
I’ve done a little of that. We talked a lot about teaching philosophies and how you need to let parents know at the beginning what your philosophy is, whether it's Constructivist or Behaviorist; whether you think a child should be taught through play or through discipline. I’ve started to really think about it because before I came here I thought I’d be a teacher in a classroom. But there’s a lot more to it than I thought. It's a way of thinking about what you want to teach the children and how you want to do it. It opened my eyes to a lot of new things.
Have you come up with one of your own?
My philosophy is that the whole program should be based around the children and you shouldn’t have a set curriculum — for instance, teaching kids about apples in the fall, and something else in the spring. It should be different every year, you have to think about what the children are doing and it has to be completely based about them.
Did you come to Farmington as an Education major? Is that why you chose UMF?
Yes. I chose Farmington because I knew that its Education programs are very well known and respected. And I was excited to come here because I knew UMF was a small community and you get to know your professors very well here. All my old professors still call me by my first name. Even after a whole year of not seeing them, they still want to know how I’m doing and how my dogs are. You develop a nice relationship with them.
What has been your most positive experience?
In my Introduction class my first semester, we had to give presentations about our ideal classroom and how it would be set up. Now, I cannot draw to save my life, and we had to draw our classrooms. It was a nice sense of accomplishment when the teacher sat down and said, “you did a really good job.” It’s nice getting positive feedback, talking about teaching philosophies and developing close working relationships with the professors. You take a little bit away from each class.
What originally attracted you to UMF?
Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a teacher. I looked at a few other schools, but this was the one I kept coming back to. What first drew me here was that their teaching program is so nice and so well known and Farmington is a small place and you really get to know everyone. You get to know the whole place within a couple of days.
What are some things you think Farmington does really well?
UMF in general is a very inviting community. The whole campus is always smiling. Even around town, everyone here is so nice. I don’t think I could see myself anywhere but here. You get to know everyone really well. You know faces, people from class — it’s nice to have that sense of community.
Are you involved in any campus activities?
I’m a Peer Advisor, which means I have a group of sixteen UMF students I help through the usual first-year traumas: registering for classes, finding classes, and registering for the Praxis test. I’m also a member of the UMF Tennis Club. We just started it last spring. It’s fun.
I also go to The Landing in the Student Center every once in a while to catch shows and movies. And I do the Orientation Events Crew, too, where we help freshman move in and help with orientation.
Are The Landing events fun?
Yes, some of them. But some are helpful, too. One event was Halloween Craft Night and my roommate and I went down and we met a lot of people. It’s always nice place to meet new people. Usually they have good events.
Do you ski?
I don’t, but I am definitely going to try this year. My friend is going to teach me. I’ve never done it and everyone always tells me it is fun, so I want to give skiing a try. There’s always somebody going skiing or snowboarding around here — it's really big.
Do you feel you’re being well prepared?
Definitely. By doing projects and portfolios and papers and research, you get to develop your own sense of thinking but you're also taking little bits from everything, and learning a little bit here and there and then all of sudden you realize something. You see it in the real world and you realize, “Wow, I learned this at school and I can do it here.”
What advice do you give to the freshmen when you’re helping them to move in?
Get out and do stuff! Don’t just sit in your room every night. Go to The Landing. Keep your residence hall room door open and get to know as many people on your floor as you can. And try to open up to your professors and get to know them — the more you open up to them, the more they’ll open up to you. And don't be afraid, they won't bite [laughs].
- Kristen Bisson
From Waterville, Maine
- Emily Baer
Double major: Art and English
From Brunswick, Maine
- Andrew Thompson
Double major: Music and Art
From Plymouth, Massachusetts
- Shawn Rogers
From Dover, New Hampshire
- Lesley Kittredge
From Mount Vernon, Maine
- Kristen Simoneau
Community Health Education - School Health Education
From Jay, Maine
- Shane Koski
From Auburn, Maine
- Renee Meserve
Early Childhood Education
From Westbrook, Maine
- Casey Myers
Early Childhood Special Education
From Winooski, Vermont
- Craig Nadeau
From Fairfield, Maine
- Michaela Hitchcock
Environmental Planning & Policy
From Springfield, Vermont
- Erica Austin
Double major: History and Geography
From Turner, Maine
- Alison Gerrish
International & Global Studies
From Portland, Maine
- Lisa Kittredge
Liberal Arts Undecided
From Mount Vernon, Maine
- Nate Burns
Double major: Music and Philosophy / Religion
From Wayne, Maine
- Genesis Burke
From Amesbury, Massachusetts
- Mary Beth Kirby
From Farmington, Maine
- Joel Hatfield
Secondary / Middle Education
From Palermo, Maine
- Courtney Church
Sociology / Anthropology
From Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- Emily Langton
From Manchester, New Hampshire