Our Faculty: Lyndsey Benharris, Ph.D Education Department

Posted by Kimberly McCoy-Blauser on December 4, 2019 at 2:16 PM

Are you interested in Fitchburg State's Education programs? As part of the GCE Blog's "Our Faculty" series, we introduce Dr. Lyndsey Benharris, Program Coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Early Education and Care and Graduate Chair of the Master's in Early Childhood Education .

What is your educational background, and what certifications do you have relevant to your program? LyndseyB-1

I received my bachelor’s degree from Salve Regina University in 2003, in early childhood education and philosophy with a minor in special education. I attended Lesley University and received my master’s degree in special education in 2009. I completed my doctoral degree in February of 2017. I currently hold licenses and Early Education and Care certifications in the areas of early childhood and special education (mild to moderate, prek-8).

Tell us about your past experience.

Education has always been a vocation rather than a career choice to me. I wanted to be a teacher from the moment I stepped foot in a classroom. Although the type of teacher has evolved over the years, the areas of special education and early childhood education have always been my focus. I began my work as an early childhood and special education assistant at the age of 18, volunteering in an integrated classroom. I went on to be the teacher of that classroom, and did so for over eleven years. I have worked in the higher education field for the past five years and I am so thrilled to be back in Massachusetts.

Please provide a favorite teaching moment. 

My favorite moments in teaching occur when the students are not only engaged, but also are actively constructing their own pedagogy. These moments allow me to take a step back and watch my students grapple with their definitions of education and what it means to them.

One of my favorite moments occurred this past semester in the Developmentally Appropriate Practices course. I had 25 students sitting on the floor pretzel legged. We had created our own morning meeting. I posed a question and listened while my students were all engrossed in a 30-minute dialogue surrounding social justice issues in early childhood.

What career opportunities are available to students who complete the Early Education and Care program?

This program is ideal for students who are interested in working in early childhood education and care or those who are currently employed in an early childhood career and wish to further their practice. Students who complete this program can work in early intervention programs, early childhood classrooms, private schools, and grant funded early childhood programming.

Our bachelor of science in Early Education and Care offers students careers as lead preschool teacher level one, or director level one, aligned with the state’s Early Childhood and Care certification.

What advice do you provide to prospective students? 

I would encourage prospective students to come see us! Check out this wonderful campus, chat with faculty, and find your home here. If this feels like a good fit, apply.

What do you like about Fitchburg State and/or why would you recommend Fitchburg State to others?

Fitchburg State is a warm and inviting university. The education department feels more like a family than a group of independent professors and students. We are all in it together! The support you receive from the professors collaboratively is rare and powerful.

Tell us about any classes you teach?

Early Childhood Literacy is one of the courses I teach in the fall. This course examines language and literacy acquisition, focusing on kindergarten through third grade literacy.

My favorite assignment is a dramatic play reconstruction. Students are required to go into an early childhood classroom and change the dramatic play area to be inclusive of literacy and environmental print. This past semester, I was so impressed with their innovations and resourcefulness.

Spring semester brings more exciting classes, including Integrating Fine Arts into the  Early Childhood Curriculum, Designing Environments for Young Children, and Community Practicum Seminar. All of these courses will challenge students to use their imagination to create lessons in early childhood settings. The seminar will further push students to takes social action within their  practicum settings.

Learn more about our  Graduate Education Programs

If you're interested in any of our education programs contact us at 978-665-3182, email at gceadvisor@fitchburgstate.edu or attend an Information Session to get all of your questions answered.

Topics: Programs, Our Faculty