Mentor Teacher Program

The Palomar College Mentor Program selects Mentor Teachers and Director Mentors from community programs. These mentors can serve as a guide to early childhood professionals learning to be teachers or directors.


A Mentor is…

The term “Mentor” or “Mentor Teacher” is used by the California Early Childhood Mentor Program to describe an experienced early childhood education teacher of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, or school age children who has applied and been selected by their local Mentor Program. The Mentor Program, funded by the California Department of Social Service (CDSS, works with nearly 100 community colleges across California. Those colleges, either individually, or working together in regional groupings, invite early childhood leaders from their communities to serve on a Mentor Program Selection Committee. Each Committee uses the guidelines of the Mentor Program to review applications and select Mentors from a variety of childcare settings, including publicly and privately funded centers and large family childcare programs.

A Mentor does…

A Mentor accepts student teachers into their classroom for practicum experience. The Mentor provides a unique one-on-one learning relationship with the student teacher in the practical aspects of both working with young children and acting as a leader and advocate for the childcare profession. The Mentor is responsible for guiding a student teacher during all the practicum laboratory hours required by the respective course. That means being in the classroom whenever the student teacher is present and meeting with the student teacher weekly to answer the student’s questions and discuss Early Childhood Education concepts. Although a Mentor may work with several student teachers during a semester, only one student teacher may be present in the Mentor’s classroom at a time.

What are the rewards?

The Mentor receives a stipend for each student placed in their classroom. The stipend amount depends on the number of hours the student teacher spends in the classroom as a requirement of their practicum course. Mentors also receive stipends for supporting ECE students in successfully completing their full course of study, regardless of course or subject. In addition to receiving stipends for working with students, Mentors may earn stipends mentoring teachers who have completed practicum courses and in selected settings. Mentors are also supported for their professional development activities through a Mentor In-Service Training Component. Mentors from all placement sites meet once a month in a seminar format. These Communities of Practice (CoP) combine informal discussion and peer support with more formalized training in supervision strategies, leadership, and advocacy skills. Mentors receive a stipend for participation in In-Service Training.

Contact Us

For more information about the Mentor Program at Palomar College, contact Tanessa Sanchez, Mentor Coordinator, at