Interested in Early Childhood Development and Education at the University of Connecticut?
The Early Childhood Development and Education is a concentration within the Human Development Family Studies Department at The University of Connecticut. It is one of the first 4 –year programs in CT approved for the new State of CT Early Childhood Teaching Credential (ECTC). The program is designed for students who are interested in working with children from birth to five years of age in early care and education settings. While the program leans towards preparing students for a classroom, or early care settings, it has substantial benefits for would-be teachers of children who are elementary age or who have special educational needs and offers an abbreviated programs of study (at least 2 semesters) for students interested in other careers with young children, including Birth-3, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy.
The program has been intentionally and comprehensively designed to view and support the student through the process of becoming a confident and well-trained professional entering the field of early childhood. The student is guided in the same way that we as faculty, expect the student to eventually view their work with children: developmentally. This developmental approach to the training can be viewed as a three-legged stool, with Observation, Child Development/Theory and an Intentional/Reflective teaching model making up the three legs; with each leg playing an equally important role. As a student in the program, you will become a ‘trained observer’ of young children. There will be deliberately designed opportunities for investigating and utilizing different tools and approaches to observation. The concentration is firmly rooted in the understanding that an in-depth preparation in Child Development is critical. And, in having a deep commitment to the notion that children’s developmental needs should be the foundation for every choice we make. It is what ultimately informs all of the ways in which you will observe, reflect and interact with young children. This knowledge will be supported with an Intentional/Reflective approach and will be infused throughout the entire program. You will come to know why you are doing what you are doing with children; understanding that all of your interactions will be intentional, based in your knowledge of child development, and informed by an eye that has been specifically trained in observation. Each leg, each component, informs the next, and this is viewed in a circular fashion, not in a sequential one.
As part of your preparation for working with children, you will also be required and supported to develop a reflective stance about your own process. There will be many planned opportunities throughout your training to explore your own experiences of childhood and play, and come to see how those past experiences inform and shape your present interactions with children.
Training for the ECTC extends over a minimum of 3 semesters. Students are also required to experience a Diverse Community Placement in a Head Start/Early Head Start, Birth-3, K-2 classroom placement or licensed home-based program during their training. Students who acquire the early childhood teacher competencies will be recommended for the ECTC upon program completion.
Benefits of acceptance into the ECDE concentration include opportunities for:
- Two supervised teaching opportunities in the Child Development Laboratories
- Being a member of a Cohort and developing friendships with like-minded students and faculty.
- Academic Advising with and ECDE Faculty member with guaranteed seating in ECDE courses.
- Receiving a Certificate of Completion in Early Childhood Development OR
- Receiving a Certificate of Completion in Early Childhood Development and Education and the State of Connecticut Early Childhood Teaching Credential (ECTC)