Capstone Assignment (revised 2020)
Early Childhood Capstone Project Guidelines
Candidates will write a reflective essay (approximately 12 pages in length) in which they connect
their knowledge of theory, practice, and the cycle of effective teaching to professional standards.
Part I – Educational Context
Candidates should provide essential context about their educational environments. Candidates
should explain any special features of their students, schools/classrooms, and communities that
have impacted the nature of instruction.
Part II – Instruction
For each of the key professional standards below, candidates will select one artifact (for
example: a lesson plan, a unit plan, a case study) that demonstrates the application of the specific
component of instruction. For each artifact, candidates will write a two-page essay describing
their artifact and provide evidence of their understanding of each professional standard. The
artifact must be included after each short essay.
• NAEYC 1 Promoting Child Development and Learning
• NAEYC 5 Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaningful Curriculum
Candidates plan and implement instruction based on knowledge of students/family, learning
theory, connections across the curriculum, curricular goals, and community.
o Describe and discuss how your plan for instruction utilizes your knowledge
of students, learning theory, connections across the curriculum, curricular
goals, and connections to community. Include and make specific reference to
• NAEYC 4 Using Developmentally Effective Approaches
Candidates understand and use a variety of teaching strategies that encourage early childhood
students’ development of concepts, knowledge, critical thinking, and problem solving.
o Discuss and evaluate your understanding of teaching strategies that encourage
young children’s concept development, critical thinking, and problem-solving
skills. Include and make reference to one artifact that exemplifies these strategies.
Candidates use their knowledge and understanding of individual and group motivation and
behavior among students to foster active engagement in learning, self-motivation, and positive
social interaction and to create supportive learning environments.
o Demonstrate your knowledge of individual and group motivation and behavior
among students from birth to age 8. Evaluate your artifact that fosters active
engaging in learning, self-motivation, and positive social interaction to create
Capstone Assignment (revised 2020)
supportive learning environments. Include and make specific reference to one
Part III – Assessment
Reflect on your development of assessment skills that demonstrate the use of various
assessments to collect data and inform instruction. Candidates will write a two-page essay
describing their experiences and artifacts and provide specific evidence of their understanding of
informal and formal assessments to plan, evaluate, and strengthen instruction. The artifact must
be included after the short essay.
• NAEYC 3 Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and
Candidates know, understand, and use formal and informal assessment strategies to plan,
evaluate, and strengthen instruction that will promote continuous intellectual, social, emotional,
and physical development of each elementary student.
o Demonstrate your understanding of the use of formal and informal assessments to
plan, evaluate, and then strengthen instruction among students from birth to age 8.
Include and make specific reference to the case study (artifact).
Part IV – Concluding Thoughts & Next Steps
Candidates will briefly describe who they are and their approach to teaching and learning in a
Philosophy of Education statement. Candidates will also include a brief reflection on their
journey from the beginning of the program until now. Proving themselves to be reflective
practitioners, candidates will describe their visions as teachers and their visions for students.
Reflect on the following prompts:
1. Briefly describe your growth over the last two years.
2. How will you continue to grow professionally?
3. What are your next steps as a teacher?
4. What are your future learning goals?
5. What does it mean to be a reflective practitioner?
• NAEYC 6 Becoming a Professional
Candidates are aware of and reflect on their practice in light of research on teaching, professional
ethics, and resources available for professional learning; they continually evaluate the effects of
their professional decisions and actions on students, families, and other professionals in the
learning community and actively seek out opportunities to grow professionally.