The Hardest Job You’ll Ever Love
A degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Central Missouri prepares you assess children’s developmental needs, provide developmentally appropriate
instruction, and provide positive and healthy learning environments for children.
You’ll have extensive experience in early childhood classrooms in a variety of settings
and grade levels. These experiences will make you look and act differently than other
future teachers who’ve spent less time in the classroom. You’ll stand out!
At UCM, we believe you learn best by doing. That’s why you’ll receive extensive classroom
teaching opportunities in multiple grade levels and settings well before you graduate.
In fact our goal is for you to have classroom placements in every grade in which you
will be certified to teach.
Our faculty are all experienced former elementary teachers with the knowledge and
skills to help you develop as an educator. Your professors are with you in your field
placements to provide support. Working alongside elementary teachers and students
ensures we stay current and are preparing you well for the reality of today’s classrooms..
Find Your Place
UCM offers many ways for students to be involved. Education students may choose to
join student chapters of the Missouri State Teachers Association or the National Education
Association. Members of Kappa Delta Pi, an education honor society, sponsor a variety
of projects designed to support area schools and organizations. If visiting other
countries is appealing, our department sponsors two Study Abroad trips each year.
As a graduate of our Early Childhood Education program, you will:
- Promote child development and learning while building family and community relationships.
- Observe, document, and assess to support young children and families.
- Use content knowledge, appropriate pedagogy, and dispositions to build meaningful
curriculum using developmentally effective approaches.
Team Advising Approach
We use a team advising approach for our students. Your academic advisor will make
sure you are taking courses in the correct sequence and that you are meeting all requirements
for Missouri teaching certification. You will also be assigned a faculty advisor who
will be one of your professors. Your faculty advisor will work closely with you when
you begin taking major and professional education courses.
Early Field Experience
You will be placed in an elementary classroom for the first time in your second or
third semester at UCM. You will complete a six-hour block of foundations courses and
spend 30 hours in an elementary classroom. This will allow you to see teaching from
a teacher’s perspective and help you know for sure you are on the right path.
Junior Year Blocks
During your junior year, you will complete two blocks. A block is a combination of
courses and an extensive placement in an elementary classroom. One of your blocks
will focus on Pre-K and Kindergarten and the other will focus on grades 1-3. All of
your courses will be about teaching and learning in those grades. You will be placed
in an elementary classroom in one of the grades you are focusing on that semester.
You’ll primarily work with small groups of children – you will teach them, interview
them, assess them, read with them, play games with them.
Senior Year Blocks
You’ll spend your senior year in the same school district. During your first senior
semester, you’ll have classes one day a week and them be in your classroom placement
two days a week. You’ll experience three different grades levels for about five weeks
each. During this semester, you really start assuming the work of the teacher. You’ll
plan with your cooperating teacher and teach the whole class. You’ll attend professional
development and meetings along with your teacher. The second semester is student teaching
and you will be placed with one of the three teachers you worked with first semester.
This means the transition to student teaching is smooth!
Student Teaching and Certification
The Clinical Services and Certification Office is located in Lovinger 2170. This office
monitors your progress from admission to teacher education through student teaching
and finalizes your certification with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary
Education. The staff of Clinical Services Office will oversee your field experiences,
including your student teaching placement.
UCM is the longest continuously CAEP accredited public institution in Missouri