Field Experience Requirements

In order for Early Childhood Studies majors to participate in field experiences in diverse settings that are essential for their development as early childhood professionals, students must be willing and able to travel outside of the Plymouth area beyond walking distances. Early Childhood Studies majors should plan for and be able to provide their own transportation by the junior year.

Fingerprinting/Criminal Background Check Requirements for Child Care Programs and Public Schools
Students who work with children in field experiences are subject to New Hampshire law, which requires all persons who come into contact with children/students on a regular basis for a period of time to undergo a full disclosure criminal records check, including fingerprinting. The cost to an individual for a fingerprinting and criminal record check currently ranges from around $27 to $38, depending on whether it is done at one of six digital stations in NH or through local police departments. (There may also be an additional service charge at police departments.) This requirement affects Early Childhood Studies majors who will be completing field experiences at the Center for Young Children and Families, other early care and education programs, and public school placements.

As of January 2010, NH State Law RSA 170-E:7(c) requires that all child care personnel ages 17 and over who spend more than five hours per week with children must be fingerprinted and have a criminal background check. This includes students in field experiences and practicums for more than five hours per week. Students should be prepared to complete this requirement at least once during their time at Plymouth State University, prior to their first field experience or practicum of five hours a week or more at the Center for Young Children and Families or another child care program site. Up-to-date information is available from the NH State Child Care Licensing Unit at or from your academic advisor. If you have concerns about this requirement or the cost, please discuss those with your advisor.

Fingerprinting and background checks are also required for some field experiences in the public schools, such as those associated with CD 2540 and ER 4290, and for student teaching. School districts make final decisions about which field experiences will require a criminal background check. The results of the background check will be reported to and held by the district, so students may be required to complete a separate background check for each district in which they have a field experience placement. Questions about fingerprinting and criminal background checks for field experiences in public schools should be directed to the course instructor or, for student teaching experiences, to the Office of Teacher Certification. (See also the Teacher Education and Clinical Experiences section of this catalog.)