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This study is a qualitative analysis of the reflective journals and prayers of thirteen pre-service students enrolled in a BA early childhood teacher preparation program at a faith-based university in the mid-west. While the journal entry and prayer were required, students were told they were to write freely in their journal entry and include a freely written prayer about anything that was important to them or caught their attention. This opportunity to write freely resulted in students writing and praying about their experiences in organic, authentic, descriptive, and reflective ways. Their journal and prayer entries provided insights into the multi-faceted experiences students had and how they thought about their experiences. The qualitative analysis revealed five overarching themes: Children, Course Connections, Teaching Strategies, Professional Identity, and Beyond the Classroom. This research adds to the literature on how field experiences and reflective assignments contribute to the professional preparation of early childhood candidates.



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