Teacher Education: Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 3) B.S.Ed.

Early Childhood Education 

The Early Childhood Education (EDEC) program provides students with a supportive and rigorous academic environment, in which they develop the perspectives, knowledge, and skills to work effectively with families, co-professionals, and children from birth to grade 3, in diverse, inclusive classroom and community-based settings. 

The program involves substantial field-based experiences and emphasizes high impact practices, such as experiential learning. Graduates of the program, who successfully complete all requirements, are eligible for recommendation for initial teacher licensure and an endorsement to work with children Birth - Grade 3. Coursework is designed to promote students' abilities to:

  • Support the learning and development of each and every child within natural and inclusive environments;
  • Recognize and appreciate the diversity of children, families and colleagues in serving as an advocate for social justice and equity;
  • Offer instructional practices that are guided by and responsive to children and families, supported by meaningful assessment, backed by evidence, and linked to developmentally and/or individually appropriate curricula; 
  • Foster collaborative and authentic relationships with children, family members, peers of the same discipline, and colleagues across disciplines; and
  • Rise as an educational leader and a change maker.

Major Requirements

EDEC students complete both a sequence of professional courses related to early childhood as well as a content concentration focusing on the disciplines of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and creative arts/movement.

The EDEC Professional Preparation sequence begins with a series of course work that build the foundation and skills for any educator working with young children and/or their families. EDEC 1010 is a Civic Learning course, which provides an introduction to the field of early childhood education through observing and supporting young children at play.  EDEC 1630 familiarizes students with the basic principles and research findings in the discipline of Child Development and how this knowledge can form the basis for educational practice. HDF 1600 examines the family context of development. Students combine developmental and ecological principles, to understand how families are formed, change over time, and shape the development of the individuals who make up the family. ECSP 2100 explores individualized practices for diverse learners in inclusive early childhood settings.  EDEC 2220 guides learning about multiple models of early education, learning theory, cultural/linguistic diversity, early childhood policy and issues of power and privilege in education and beyond.

During the next phase of the program, students undergo a series of field-based courses in diverse and inclusive practicum sites. EDEC 2050  and EDEC 2090 focus on content and methods in working with infants and toddlers birth through age 2.  EDEC 2450 and EDEC 2490 focus on content and methods in working with pre-school aged children ages 3 to 5. Throughout these courses, students hone skills related to the multiple roles of the teacher in facilitating children's learning through curriculum development, assessment and environmental design. The "K - 3 Curriculum Block" consists of EDEC 3560, EDEC 3810, EDEC 3820, and EDEC 3790.  Through this integrated learning experience, students pursue coursework in a kindergarten - grade 3 content and methods in literacy, math, science, STEM, and social studies in a K-3 classroom in a local public school. Under the supervision of UVM faculty and the mentorship of classroom teachers, students develop mastery over time and gradually assume more leadership responsibility with children, families and colleagues.

The EDEC Professional Preparation sequence culminates with the EDEC 4991 capstone experience,  a full-time student teaching experience working in a public PreK - Grade 3 classroom with a licensed mentor in which students experience all aspects of the professional role for the duration of the semester. EDEC 4880  is an accompanying seminar that is designed to support students as they reflect on their student teaching, refine essential competencies, and complete their Vermont licensure portfolio.

The course of study consists of a minimum of 120 credits.