Early Childhood Education

Students in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program combine course work with student teaching to prepare them for child focused positions.

Course work in Early Childhood Education provides a strong background in child development, working with families, and early childhood curriculum

Watch this video and learn more about the Early Childhood Education major.

What is the Early Childhood Education Major?

Early Childhood Education - Department of Human Development & Family Studies, University of Delaware

Early Childhood Education (ECE) Majors join the field of early care and education professionals. They combine coursework with student teaching. This is one of the fastest growing education professions. There is great demand for certified early childhood education teachers and early intervention specialists. Students:

  • learn how to teach children birth through second grade, develop early childhood curriculum, and collaborate with families and resources and specialists in the community;
  • learn how be an early interventionist, working with young children with developmental disabilities;
  • teach children by assessing their skills and using interventions to help them learn how to develop fully and to be successful; the program’s developmental emphasis teaches students how to match instructional strategies and materials to children’s social-psychological, cognitive and physical maturity. The program further emphasizes the family’s role in caring for and socializing children;
  • graduate from this approved early childhood education program and are eligible for Early Childhood Teacher Certification and in Early Childhood Special Education in most states (Birth to grade 2). The ECE major has been recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children as meeting their highest standards;
  • participate in seven (7) field observations and practicum experiences where they are observing or working with young children in schools and programs beginning in their freshman year; they graduate with 18 weeks of student teaching;
  • are employed in public and private schools, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, early care and education settings, early intervention programs, health and social services departments, and home-based programs after they graduate; or they enroll in graduate school.
  • Students train in programs, on and off campus, accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) that follow the guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). They also work in programs moving toward accreditation, and experience the range of programs in the community.
  • Students have the opportunity to take graduate course work while they are an undergraduate, and (if qualified), can begin a Combined Undergraduate/Graduate program to earn their Masters in Human Development and Family Studies, with a concentration in early childhood education.

The University of Delaware’s conceptual framework states that UD-prepared teachers will be “reflective practitioners serving diverse communities of learners as scholars, problem solvers, and partners.” University programs encourage teacher candidates to believe that all children, adolescents, and adults can learn and to dedicate themselves to supporting that learning. Using developmentally and educationally effective approaches, candidates create learning environments that prepare students to contribute to a democratic society within a global context. Regardless of their area of specialization (elementary and secondary education, early childhood education, special education, or physical education) all UD-prepared educators are reflective practitioners. Reflective practice is the foundation of competence for teacher candidates. Their course work, field experiences, and work with colleagues and mentors all emphasize the importance of thoughtful analysis and continual revision of effective approaches to teaching and learning.

What Forms Do I Need?

2013-2014 Early Childhood Education Handbook

IT IS THE POLICY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE THAT NO PERSON SHALL BE SUBJECTED TO DISCRIMINATION ON THE GROUNDS OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL OR ETHNIC ORIGIN, AGE, HANDICAPPED OR VETERAN STATUS.

Contact Information:

Lynn Worden, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Undergraduate Programs
Department of Human Development and Family Studies
111 Alison West
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716

  • Departmant of Human Development & Family Studies •  111 Allison Hall West •  Newark, DE 19716 •  USA
    Phone: 302-831-6500 Fax: 302-831-8776 E-mail: hdfs-dept@udel.edu  • ©