As an early childhood studies major at Plymouth State University, you will discover that teaching young children is interesting, challenging, and meaningful work. Our department emphasizes the importance of building relationships with children and families and regarding each child as a worthy individual. We focus on preparing early childhood educators who can partner with families to promote children’s healthy development, engage them in learning, and prepare the foundations for bright futures.
We recognize that children live and learn within families and communities beyond the classroom. In order to truly understand and appreciate each child, you must also learn about these broader contexts. Our students develop these understandings through classroom and field experiences that require thoughtfulness, intellectual curiosity, openness to other perspectives, and responsibility for children’s well-being.
Field experiences are an integral part of the early childhood studies degree, and students begin observing and interacting with children in early childhood settings during their very first semester at Plymouth State. These field experiences range from extensive, supervised practicum experiences with toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners at Plymouth State University’s nationally accredited Center for Young Children and Families to year-long apprenticeships in primary grade classrooms in area public schools.
Early childhood majors can choose from among three options, depending on your career goals:
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.
The Early Intervention Option offers the knowledge and skills needed to provide specialized supports and services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families through home visits and in early intervention settings. It includes a supervised practicum experience in an early intervention program. This option is designed so that it can be taken in conjunction with the early care and education option.