Contact Info

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John Cipora headshot
  • Doctorate of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Mass., 2008
  • Master of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Mass., 1995
  • Bachelor of Arts, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass., 1969

My career as an educator began as a high school teacher, and has over the years evolved to working first with community college students and more recently with the excellent adult undergraduate and graduate students in regional and online settings at Springfield College. I began bringing online components to my courses a decade ago, and am currently teaching only in the virtual modality. I have been pleased to note that recent and current research clearly demonstrates that students learn as much and as deeply in this mode as in the more traditional face-to-face contexts. My overarching approach to teaching early childhood education courses is grounded in the premise that young children learn best through play. While this is a long-standing perspective for the field, it has become much more accepted as deep pedagogy in the past several decades, again based on significant contemporary research findings. In my case, my many years as a children's museum professional provided me a great deal of compelling hands-on/minds-on evidence of the power and efficacy of that educational standpoint.

Research/Professional Interests

  • Early childhood education workforce development.
  • Play as the foundation for young children's deep learning.
  • Universal Design (UDL) as a guide in creating powerful educational environments for children.
  • Learning in informal environments.
  • Children's museums.

Courses Taught

  • Ethical and Professional Standards in Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Foundations of Early Childhood Education
  • Infants and Toddlers: Learning through Relationships
  • Early Childhood Health, Safety, and Nutrition
  • Assessment and Documentation in Early Childhood Education

Professional Certifications and Memberships

I am entering my fifth year of service on the Faculty Senate, and am a member of its Curriculum Committee. I have the pleasure of developing all the master courses for the ROCE early childhood education concentration, in partnership with the Springfield College instructional designers. I'm representative to the Vermont Preparation and Professional Development Committee, a statewide entity tasked with making recommendations to the governor and legislature about matters central to the early childhood education field in the state. I am a founding member of the advisory board of TEACH Vermont, a national scholarship program enabling early childhood practitioners to earn their college degrees without incurring student loan debt. Lastly, I am a long-term member of the board of directors of NEARI, a small but mighty school in Easthampton, Mass., serving young people with learning disabilities or histories of trauma.

Community Service and Volunteer Work

  • Member, Board of Directors, NEARI (New England Adolescent Research Institute, Holyoke, Mass., 2001-2021