Alex Collopy, Ph.D.


Alex has experience teaching associate’s through doctoral level students as well as teaching Concurrent Enrollment instructors who will teach courses at the high school level. In Penn State’s NAEYC-accredited PK-4 educator program, Alex was instructor of record in the following undergraduate courses:

  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education: As one of the introductory courses to early childhood education for undergraduate students, this class presents a foundational base of the early childhood education field, including the study of children/childhood, current practices, various roles of practitioners, environments for learning, and approaches to teaching.  This course provides an historical overview of influential thinkers and the roots of early childhood education, multidisciplinary perspectives of development of the young child (for example, perspectives on children/childhood from anthropology, behaviorism, developmental psychology, neuroscience, postmodernism and post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, etc.), and resources for planning curriculum and instruction.
  • The Young Child’s Play as Educative Processes: This course covers concepts and uses of play in education based on theory, research, and teacher experience. Philosophical bases are explored in defining and articulating educational play and its learning and developmental benefits. Teacher roles and methods of curricular networking to academic content areas as well as assessment and documentation strategies and the role of technology and teacher advocacy are examined. Classroom applications related to the pedagogy of play and outdoor play and recess are included for preschool and primary grades.
  • Introductory Field Experience for Early Childhood Education: This course is intended to provide students with guided experience as participant observers of young children in a group setting. Students will gain this experience within campus and community based early childhood settings. In this course we will consider observation as an art and a form of pedagogy in early childhood settings. We will inquire as to how the teachers in our placements use observation to inform their practice of teaching and planning curriculum and how it relates to child assessment. We will use our observations to view the powerful role of the environment and how teacher’s interactions are critical to early learning. We will observe play as the primary means of learning for the young child. We will consider the importance of being fully present with children in order to really see their unique perspective on the world. Our goal is to support students’ own exploration of early childhood theory and practice through immersion in the world of the young child. 

At Penn State, Alex also co-taught a doctoral seminar in “Educational Ethnography: History, Theory, and Methods” and served as a Teaching Assistant in the graduate course Theories of Childhood.

At Weber State, Alex created and teaches the following new courses:

  • Inclusive Early Childhood Curriculum (ECED 4620): Critical issues, theories, research, and practice in curriculum for inclusive early childhood education. The goal of this course is to assist students in planning, implementing, and evaluating curriculum that is accessible and culturally sustaining for diverse children and families. Students will be challenged to develop and articulate their own philosophies on what should be taught to young children and why. This class is taught in face-to-face hybrid format.
  • Understanding Children Beyond Behavior (ECED 4220): This course provides a foundation for understanding and engaging with children’s behavior and needs in school, home, and community settings, toward new and relational understandings of children, child development, and difference. While studying theories and research from fields of neuroscience, psychoanalysis, Disability Studies in Education, and critical perspectives in early childhood education, students will practice therapeutic techniques for observation and engagement with children and families. This class will be taught in face-to-face hybrid format.
  • Child Observation Seminar (ECED 4820): The Child Observation Seminar is a small group reflective practice seminar. Students meet weekly to view and discuss video clips from work with young children in school, home, or community settings. Groups are facilitated to support early childhood professionals in feeling and awareness in their subjective emotional present, toward new experiences of themselves with children, families, and fellow early childhood professionals that may transform their work. This class will be taught in face-to-face and may be offered in virtual format, in full semester and 7-week blocks.

In Fall 2023, Alex will teach the following new course:

  • Psychoanalysis and Culture (Honors seminar; HIST 4720: Special Topics and Issues in European History): Established as a revolutionary theory of the mind by Sigmund Freud and a small group of his followers more than a century ago,  psychoanalysis has continued to find useful application as a rich interpretive methodology for students of culture, politics, art, history, and identity. Today, psychoanalytic concepts are as likely to be employed by scholars of culture as they are by clinical psychotherapists. But what exactly is psychoanalysis? What makes it unique among other approaches to human psychology and other methods of interpretation? What novel insights does it provide into the nature of the self and the shared forms of human experience and meaning manifested in culture? This course will provide answers to these questions by surveying psychoanalysis through its history, theories, and applications. The course will culminate with a consideration of the ways in which scholars have put psychoanalytic ideas to use in understanding different cultural phenomena such as gender, race, class, sexuality, disability, religion, and political ideology. This course will be taught in face-to-face format.

Alex has also revamped and teaches the following courses at Weber State:

  • Development of the Child (ECED 2500): This course examines contemporary theory and research of growth and development from conception through childhood, studied in the context of family, gender, culture, language, disability, socioeconomics, diversity, and society. Alex has taught this course in face-to-face and asynchronous online formats, for full semester as well as 7-week blocks.
  • Language Development and Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood (ECED 4130): This course explores current theory, research, and evidence based practices for promoting early language and emergent literacy development (birth­ 8 years) in home, child care, prekindergarten, and primary education environments through collaborative practices between early childhood professionals and parents. Alex has taught this course in face-to-face and virtual hybrid formats.
  • Educational Psychology, Child Development, and Classroom Management (ECED/ EDUC 3145): This course examines historical and contemporary perspectives in educational psychology, child development and guidance, and classroom management for kindergarten through 8th grade, with a focus on translating theory to practice within diverse communities of learners. Alex taught this course face-to-face.
  • Curriculum Planning for Kindergarten (CHF 3620): Presents a foundational base for planning curriculum in kindergarten, including the design of learning environments and curriculum that are developmentally appropriate and “evidence based”, as well as an introduction to critical and reconceptualist approaches to early childhood curriculum. This course prioritizes observation and understanding young children as the foundation for all curriculum and pedagogy. Alex has taught this course in face-to-face and virtual hybrid formats.

Alex also taught a semester-long Guided Readings independent study course in inclusive early childhood education.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and in response to the longstanding needs of non-traditional students, a primary focus in her teaching has been developing accessible online learning materials. During her first two years at Weber State, Alex was awarded nearly $30,000 of university-level funding to lead the development of online coursework and practicum opportunities in early childhood education. 

Alex is also experienced in revising undergraduate educator licensure programs and in graduate program and certificate development, having led the development of a new master’s program in inclusive early childhood education. As part of the graduate program proposal, Alex developed 5 new courses along with practicum opportunities in early childhood education and in supervised college teaching. 

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