Early Childhood Studies, Bachelor of Science

120 credits

The BS in Early Childhood Studies prepares students for careers working with children from birth through eight years of age and their families. The Early Childhood Studies program is based on the principle that supporting the growth, development, and learning of young children is meaningful, challenging, and important work. Students will develop a strong theoretical and conceptual knowledge base while engaging in supervised field experiences in a variety of early childhood settings, including the nationally accredited Center for Young Children and Families at PSU. The program is also grounded in the belief that children live and learn within diverse families, cultures, and communities, and that to truly understand and appreciate each child, early childhood professionals must also learn about these broader contexts. Because early childhood professionals must work collaboratively with children, families, other professionals, community members and agencies, the program emphasizes effective communication and collaboration skills and openness to other perspectives.

All Early Childhood majors must choose one of the following options: Early Care and Education or Teacher Certification PreK-Grade 3. Early Childhood Studies majors who are near the end of their program may choose a Contract Option if the circumstances warrant it. The degree program emphasizes the roles and responsibilities of all early childhood professionals and the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective leader and advocate. The BS in Early Childhood Studies also serves as a foundation to pursue advanced degrees in early childhood education, psychology, allied health professions, and the human services.

In order for Early Childhood Studies majors to participate in field experiences in diverse settings that are essential for their development as early childhood professionals, students must be willing and able to travel outside of the Plymouth area beyond walking distances. Early Childhood Studies majors should plan for and be able to provide their own transportation by the junior year.

Fingerprinting/Criminal Background Check Requirements for Child Care Programs and Public Schools
Students who work with children in field experiences are subject to New Hampshire law, which requires all persons who come into contact with children/students on a regular basis for a period of time to undergo a full disclosure criminal records check, including fingerprinting. The cost to an individual for a fingerprinting and criminal record check currently ranges from around $27 to $38, depending on whether it is done at one of six digital stations in NH or through local police departments. (There may also be an additional service charge at police departments.) This requirement affects Early Childhood Studies majors who will be completing field experiences at the Center for Young Children and Families, other early care and education programs, and public school placements.

As of January 2010, NH State Law RSA 170-E:7(c) requires that all child care personnel ages 17 and over who spend more than five hours per week with children must be fingerprinted and have a criminal background check. This includes students in field experiences and practicums for more than five hours per week. Students should be prepared to complete this requirement at least once during their time at Plymouth State University, prior to their first field experience or practicum of five hours a week or more at the Center for Young Children and Families or another child care program site. Up-to-date information is available from the NH State Child Care Licensing Unit at or from your academic advisor. If you have concerns about this requirement or the cost, please discuss those with your advisor.

Fingerprinting and background checks are also required for some field experiences in the public schools, such as those associated with CD 3400 and ER 4290, and for the teaching internship (student teaching). School districts make final decisions about which field experiences will require a criminal background check. The results of the background check will be reported to and held by the district, so students may be required to complete a separate background check for each district in which they have a field experience placement. Questions about fingerprinting and criminal background checks for field experiences in public schools should be directed to the course instructor or, for teaching internship experiences, to the Office of Educator Preparation. (See also the Educator Preparation section of this catalog.)

Center for Young Children and Families
The Plymouth State University Center for Young Children and Families (CYCF), a state-licensed and nationally accredited early childhood program, is part of the Department of Early Childhood Studies. The mission of the CYCF is to provide high-quality early childhood programs to young children and their families, and to serve as a model program for preparing early childhood professionals. Its child-centered philosophy reflects an understanding of the needs of young children in a complex society. A play-based, project-oriented curriculum complements the constructivist approach introduced in the Early Childhood Studies program. The CYCF employs teachers who have degrees in early childhood education and/or have considerable experience in the field. The CYCF hires undergraduate students as classroom aides and serves as an observation, field experience, and practicum site for all Early Childhood Studies majors as well as for students in other degree programs. For additional information, please visit

*All course information is from the 2015-2016 Catalog.