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Elementary Education - Option Early Childhood Birth–Grade 3, BSE

Early Childhood Education Program

Every child deserves to learn and reach their full potential. This philosophy has been at the heart of the University of Central Missouri’s teacher education programs since its founding as an experiential learning college for teachers. With welcoming campus environments in Warrensburg and Lee’s Summit, our teacher degrees, including undergraduate and graduate elementary education degrees, continue to be the cornerstone of the university.

Our graduates with a Bachelor of Science Elementary Education degree in Early Childhood Education experience a 95% job or graduate school placement rate, consistent job growth and rewarding career opportunities.

What is an Early Childhood Education degree?

Our Early Childhood Education program focuses on the principle of quality teacher education through clinical programming. This means as a teacher candidate you will spend ample time learning within real classrooms, while being guided by expert practitioners as you progress through your coursework. All early childhood courses are dedicated to offering relevant and meaningful experiences that prepare you for today’s classroom. You’ll find that our hands-on classes are engaging and intimate, enabling you to create long-lasting connections with expert-faculty, and master the art for teaching children today and in the future. 

Early childhood education online opportunities

To meet the needs of today’s future educators, our Early Childhood Education program offers full-time and part-time degree plans, with online, face-to-face and hybrid options. Our focus on authentic, hands-on learning and real-life application means coursework is best experienced in person, but we do offer some flexible online options for early childhood courses as you pursue your teacher degree.

CAEP Accreditation

CAEP accredited since 1954

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95% hiring rate by graduation

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80% of alumni teach in Missouri schools

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Student-centered approach to teaching

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Part-time, online program options

What you will study

The University of Central Missouri’s Elementary Education degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE) is designed to prepare teachers to engage the minds of early and young learners, birth to grade 3. Our ECE program includes hands-on experiences in diverse classroom settings, preparing you to earn your teacher degree and be successful as you launch your career. As a teaching professional, you will be well-grounded in theory, display competence in content knowledge and instructional strategies and possess the disposition to ensure success for all learners.

Check out some of the teaching and early childhood courses you can take on your path to earning your Bachelor of Science in Education.

  • Early Childhood Principles and Observation: Build a critical understanding of how to observe and record young children’s behavior and growth to make professional decisions in your teaching career. This undergraduate course offers a foundation in understanding the answer to the fundamental question, what is an early childhood education degree?
  • Development and Learning Through Play: Discover how to implement a play-based curriculum in diverse settings and connect play to young children’s learning and development. 
  • Curriculum Design and Assessment: Learn how to use formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate student learning and design units of instruction that meet individual needs of children.


Excellence in Elementary Education

  • Our Elementary Education program, including Early Childhood Education, is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
  • Approximately 95% of UCM Early Childhood Education graduates are employed by the time they get their diploma.
  • Top 10%: Best Value in Education (College Factual, 2021)


Unique learning opportunities in early childhood education

What is an Early Childhood Education degree without learning by doing? As an ECE major at UCM, you’ll grow your skills through experiential learning opportunities within a clinical format.

  • Clinical experience: Our Elementary Education degree program in Early Childhood Education offers a competitive clinical model to better prepare educators for the ECE classroom. This format is a key reason aspiring teachers seek out our undergraduate program to earn their elementary teaching degrees. You’ll receive extensive classroom teaching opportunities in multiple grade levels and settings well before you graduate. Our early childhood courses, field-embedded activity planning and first-hand experiences will empower you to cultivate teaching skills in real classrooms — and help you stand out to future employers. 
  • Student activities and organizations: As an Elementary Education major, you may choose to join Early Childhood Young Professionals (ECYP), our chapter of the Missouri Association for the Education of Young Children. Our program faculty sponsor this organization and support student-led initiatives throughout the year. You may also want to be involved in the Missouri State Teachers Association, Student Council for the Exceptional Child and Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society for Education majors.
  • Study abroad: If gaining new perspectives and visiting other countries sounds exciting to you, consider going overseas during the program. The School of Teaching and Learning sponsors two study abroad trips each year connected to your early childhood courses.


What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UCM?

Earning your Elementary Education degree in Early Childhood Education is the first step to a rewarding career. It lays the foundation for your work with young children and families and equips you with the skills to positively contribute to their future success. By pursuing any of our elementary teaching degrees, including the Early Childhood Education bachelor’s, at the University of Central Missouri, you’ll learn how to evaluate children’s needs, provide proper instruction and foster healthy learning environments.

A high demand for UCM Early Childhood Education graduates 

Graduates of our Early Childhood Development program are highly sought after and often hired before graduation. In fact, approximately 95% of Early Childhood Development program graduates are employed by the time they walk across the stage and receive their diploma. Additionally, nearly 80% of College of Education alumni, including ECE majors, are teaching in Missouri schools, representing UCM in three out of four of the state’s school districts.

Take a moment to explore options for early childhood education teaching jobs using the interactive tool below. You can gain insights on teacher salaries, job outlooks and more.




Financial assistance options for your Early Childhood Education degree

In addition to our competitive tuition rates, scholarships are a critical resource for our hardworking ECE students and may be beneficial to you as you build a plan to pursue your teacher degree and finance your college education. Here are several scholarships specifically for Early Childhood Education majors:

  • Merle and Maxine Rider Scholarship in Early Childhood Education
  • Merle and Lillian Rider Scholarship in Early Childhood Education
  • Curriculum and Instruction Retired Faculty Outstanding Student Teacher Award 
  • Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education Scholarship


An elementary teacher in a classroom

Take your degree further.

We offer a variety of related master’s degrees and certificates in the College of Education to help you enhance your ECE teacher degree and advance your career.

An elementary teacher in a classroom

Make yourself more marketable.

The Early Childhood Development program at UCM also offers three undergraduate certificate options designed to enhance teaching skills and further your professional development as an educator or caregiver. 

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Explore programs related to teacher degrees.

Want to learn more about programs similar to Elementary Teaching degrees? You may also be interested in the following undergraduate programs at UCM:


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