Early Childhood Teacher (Preschool-3) Certificate

Program Overview

The graduate-level Early Childhood Teacher Certification Program is designed for college graduates seeking initial certification as a preschool-grade 3 teacher. This is a streamlined, rigorous, and sequential program of professional studies that combines the best of theory, research, and practice. It is designed for part-time students who take one or two late afternoon/evening courses per semester. The teaching internship (student teaching) at the end of the program requires full-time enrollment for one semester. The program is state approved.

The course work in this program counts toward completion of the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT).

Curriculum Overview

This is a 24 credit program requiring five courses taken in late afternoons/evenings followed by a full semester of full-time student teaching in a host school in the region. 

Certificate Offered

Early Childhood Teacher (Preschool-3) Certificate


Don Ambrose, Ph.D.
Professor of Graduate Education
Memorial Hall 202

Program Website: Early Childhood Certificate
Associated Department: Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling

Related Programs

Early Childhood Education (P-Grade 3) Certificate Requirements

CURR 700Educational Foundations3
ECED 532Families, Community, and Diversity in Early Childhood Education3
CURR 702Early Literacy Teaching and Learning3
or ECED 507 Emergent Literacy
ECED 550Development Methods and Assessment in Early Childhood Education3
CURR 710Elementary Mathematics Teaching and Learning3
CURR 770Clinical Experience and Seminar in Teaching3-9
or CURR 771 Supervised Clinical Experience in Teaching
Total Credits18-24

Additional requirements for completion

  • Completion of all courses before the clinical experience (student teaching) with a “C+” or better in each course and with a 3.0 grade point average.
  • Completion of CURR 770 or CURR 771 with a “C+” grade or better.

Courses and Descriptions

CURR 700 Educational Foundations 3 Credits

This course provides psychological and interdisciplinary perspectives on teaching and learning. Within the theme of optimal development of creative intelligence, students use these perspectives to guide their reflective professional development throughout their program. The course develops knowledge, skills, and dispositions pertinent to (a) child and adolescent development, (b) learning theories, (c) philosophical and historical perspectives on education, (d) sociocontextual and interdisciplinary influences on education, and (e) higher-order creative and critical thinking.

CURR 702 Early Literacy Teaching and Learning 3 Credits

Current strategies for teaching beginning learners vocabulary, comprehension, composition, and language study. Pedagogy for all learners, ranging from gifted to diverse learners. How to manage literacy instruction through content areas in general education in preschool and primary grades.

Prerequisite(s): CURR 700.

CURR 710 Elementary Mathematics Teaching and Learning 3 Credits

This course introduces students to the elementary curriculum and focuses on the teaching of mathematics that is developmentally appropriate for students from nursery to grade eight. In keeping with NAEYC and NCTM standards, emphasis is placed on planning for and implementing an integrated curriculum approach, discovery learning, hands-on experiences, use of technology, lesson planning, and traditional and non-traditional assessment strategies. Students will also explore positive models for classroom management and discipline. Field experiences will consist of classroom observations and teaching individuals and/or small groups of students.

Prerequisite(s): CURR 702.

CURR 770 Clinical Experience and Seminar in Teaching 9 Credits

This course, designed for those seeking initial certification, requires full-time supervised daily participation in a school setting. The student gradually assumes a full load of teaching responsibility at the school. The experience will test the translation of educational theory into meaningful practice. A student-teaching fee is charged for this course. (nine semester hours).

Prerequisite(s): CURR 704, CURR 705, CURR 706, CURR 707, CURR 715 and (BSED 530 or ECED 550) or Permission of instructor.

CURR 771 Supervised Clinical Experience in Teaching 3 Credits

This practicum is a condensed version of the Internship in Teaching. It is available only to interns seeking teacher certification who already have a year of successful, full-time teaching experience or its equivalent. A special application must be made and approved for enrollment in the course. The practicum requires six weeks of full-time, supervised daily participation in a school setting. After a brief period of orientation to the school and classroom, the intern assumes a full load of teaching responsibility at the school. The experience finetunes the teaching abilities of interns and enables them to demonstrate competence in the specialty for which they seek certification.

Prerequisite(s): CURR 704, CURR 705, CURR 706, CURR 707, CURR 715 and (BSED 530 or ECED 550) or Permission of instructor.

ECED 507 Emergent Literacy 3 Credits

Examines perspectives on literacy acquisition including the social-constructivist perspective. Examines the processes of comprehension and composition through the language systems for written language: the grapho-phonic, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic. Explores the components of these processes including concepts of print, knowledge of the alphabet, phonological awareness, language play, literary genres, spelling development, vocabulary development, and word recognition.

ECED 532 Families, Community, and Diversity in Early Childhood Education 3 Credits

This course addresses the role of parents of young children within the context of school, home and society, as well as the influence of culture, traditions and current issues in early childhood education. Students will explore the efficacy of parenting techniques and behaviors on child development in the early years, including cognitive growth, emotional and social well-being and physical health. Students will investigate strategies for fostering home-school partnerships that enhance child development and educational success, as well as the influence of community, culture and socio-economic status on families and schools throughout our world. In addition, this course addresses current issues and challenges in the early childhood profession including inclusion of children with special needs, advocacy for quality care and education for all young children, and any other subject that might arise - either from the lives of children and families, teachers’ professional development, or community agencies. A cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required.

Prerequisite(s): EDU 106 and EDU 206.

ECED 550 Development Methods and Assessment in Early Childhood Education 3 Credits

The focus of this course is developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive curriculum and teaching P-3 settings as delineated in the guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Students will learn how to make curriculum and teaching decisions based on knowledge of child development, content area, curriculum content standards, and home and community cultures. In order to meet the ever-changing needs, interests, and growing strengths of individual children, careful observation and assessment provides teachers with information on which to base adjustments of teaching plans. This course will provide opportunities to deepen understanding of child development; gain an appreciation for the professional responsibility of ongoing assessment of children; and, develop the necessary skills to gather, record, and interpret information in a deliberate and reflective manner. A cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required.

Prerequisite(s): EDU 106 and EDU 206.