The BS in Early Childhood Studies prepares students for careers working with children from birth through eight years of age and their families. The Early Childhood Studies program is based on the principle that supporting the growth, development, and learning of young children is meaningful, challenging, and important work. Students will develop a strong theoretical and conceptual knowledge base while engaging in supervised field experiences in a variety of early childhood settings, including the nationally accredited Center for Young Children and Families at PSU. The program is also grounded in the belief that children live and learn within diverse families, cultures, and communities, and that to truly understand and appreciate each child, early childhood professionals must also learn about these broader contexts. Because early childhood professionals must work collaboratively with children, families, other professionals, community members and agencies, the program emphasizes effective communication and collaboration skills and openness to other perspectives.
All Early Childhood majors must choose one of the following options: Early Care and Education or Teacher Certification PreK-Grade 3. Early Childhood Studies majors who are near the end of their program may choose a Contract Option if the circumstances warrant it. The degree program emphasizes the roles and responsibilities of all early childhood professionals and the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective leader and advocate. The BS in Early Childhood Studies also serves as a foundation to pursue advanced degrees in early childhood education, psychology, allied health professions, and the human services.
The Teacher Certification PreK-Grade 3 Option focuses on the content knowledge and pedagogical skills needed to teach in public schools in preschool through third grade. The four-year teacher certification program is accredited by the state of New Hampshire and has achieved national recognition from the National Center for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). It includes a full-year apprenticeship in a primary grade classroom in our early childhood professional development school or partnership school and opportunities to build professional relationships with teachers.
The Early Care and Education Option prepares students to work with children ages birth through eight in early childhood settings, including preschools, child care centers, Head Start, and after-school programs. Coursework and field experiences focus on teaching and caring for children birth through 5 in partnership with their families. Students graduate with over 300 hours of supervised practicum experiences in a variety of early childhood classrooms and settings.
A Contract Option is also available to Early Childhood Studies majors with 15–30 credits left to take at Plymouth State University. The Contract Option is designed under the guidance of the student’s academic advisor.