The pedagogy skills and basic education needed in early childhood education will be taught in bachelor’s degree programs in early childhood education. Those that graduate from these programs will be prepared for professional careers in national Head Start educational programs, elementary schools, day care centers, and recreational centers.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education
Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in early childhood education are trained to seek employment as professional mentors and teachers to children from the time they are born up to the time they finish third grade.
They are imparted a comprehensive grasp of classroom-based principles and theories in general education, in addition to nutrition, child psychology, and child development. Their primary knowledge of teaching methodologies and curriculum development is also expanded.
Prospective teachers will become adept at the identification and education of students with special needs as they learn about ways of promoting positive relationships with students and families in variegated communities.
Undergraduates are imparted practical experience wherein they can work with and observe pre-schoolers, toddlers, and infants via on-site lab experiences. A capstone project and supervised internship marks the end of the program.
Admission criteria typically require freshmen applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma, in addition to submitting college admission test scores. Each school may have its own general admission requirements as well as requirements unique to its teaching education program.
A minimum cumulative GPA may have to be submitted by college students seeking transfer to early childhood education programs, in addition to meeting other admission prerequisites.
Coursework focuses on a broad range of general education classes, including humanities, social studies, math, and English. Health and family topics, as well as pedagogical techniques and theories, are also covered along with subject areas such as:
•Exploring teaching and learning
•Toddler and infant learning
•Early childhood education assessment
•Children, families, and societies
•Social and emotional growth
•Language and literacy development
Those that successfully complete a bachelor’s degree program possess the practical skills and knowledge needed for working with young children in various elementary schools, day care centers, and Head Start programs. Early childhood teachers may choose from these professional careers options:
•Day care center specialist
•Head Start teacher
Job and Wage Outlook
A job growth rate of 17% has been predicted for kindergarten and elementary school teaching positions over the 2010 – 2020 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The best job outlook has been predicted for the West and South, in addition to urban and rural areas. In May 2012, kindergarten teachers brought home an average annual wage of $53,090 (BLS).
Continuing Education and Professional Certification Choices
Each state may have its own certification requirements for Head Start and pre-kindergarten teachers. Passage of a state certification exam is a necessary criteria for elementary and kindergarten teachers in public schools.
Eligibility for the exam can be met by teachers possessing relevant teaching experience and holding a bachelor’s degree. Graduates may also seek continuing education by earning a master’s degree, which would enhance their career prospects by imparting further practical knowledge and expertise.