Teacher Education Programs

Early Childhood Education Program

The undergraduate program in early childhood education is a four-year sequence of courses that prepares individuals to teach in infant/toddler and preschool programs, to teach in kindergarten through grade 3 classrooms, and to work in other settings that employ early childhood professionals. The course of study incorporates four years of coursework, including two years of general education and two years of professional education. It is premised on the belief that students should engage in an exploration of literacy and diversity through inquiry and reflection. Literacy involves mastering a variety of symbol systems in which meaning is created and shared with others: reading, writing, art, mathematics, music, science, and others. The program enables students to acquire competence in these areas and the pedagogical expertise necessary to nurture growth and development in all young children.

Students will be actively engaged in a variety of activities, assignments, projects, and field experiences in order to: 1) acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of an effective teacher; 2) develop sensitivity to issues of diversity of all forms (e.g. race, class, culture, gender, disability); and 3) embrace ethical, social, and intellectual commitments to young children.

Students usually apply to the Early Childhood Education program in their sophomore year. Admission applications are due March 1 for the fall semester start of authorized professional education coursework. Students will be admitted in and progress through their course work in a cohort with others who have begun at the same time. The small size of the program is designed to enhance a sense of community among students, core faculty, and practicing professionals. Practitioners from a variety of early childhood settings will be involved in the teaching of courses and the design of field experiences, thereby fostering community among those inside and outside the university.

The Early Childhood Education Program requires 45 credits of content courses and 75 credits of professional education coursework, for a total of 120 credits. The professional component of the program includes course work in the psychology of learning, student diversity, technology of instruction, social cultural foundations of teaching, legal and ethical obligations, and the methods for teaching coupled with field experiences and student teaching. Field experiences are initiated as soon as possible and continue throughout the student’s program. The authorized professional education courses include three semesters of course work and a semester of full-time student teaching in a K-3 classroom.

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