The Department of Education and Human Services offers a major in early childhood education for the student who wants to prepare for a career of working in school settings with all children between birth and kindergarten and/or nursery and third grade. The student who selects this major will find that it offers a variety of career possibilities.
The primary objective of this program is to provide a comprehensive core of knowledge relative to working with all types of children (with and without disabilities) within an inclusion model as well as in an inclusion-focused, field-based experience with all types of children in the nursery/kindergarten area. The student then needs to prepare for endorsement in the area of birth to age 5 and/or in nursery through grade 3. This is an appropriate program for students desiring to work with young children in public and private schools as well as childcare centers and other community programs for children. The program is designed for each student to shape a professional identity in the field of early childhood education and to develop the professional skills needed to pursue a career in this field.
The program focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of the physical, intellectual, language, social/emotional, and creative needs of young children. The integration of services for children, including the needs of the family and collaboration with other professions, is another important focus of the program. Each student participates in a nursery/kindergarten placement, and then, depending on the areas of endorsement selected, participates in another placement in an appropriate setting (birth to age 3 and/or grades 1, 2, and 3).