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!
Our mission is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of early childhood education based upon developmentally appropriate practice, and accurate, relevant, and meaningful personalized higher education experiences. In alignment with NAEYC, we promote and guide thinking toward high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research to encourage lifelong learning with excellence in the field of early childhood education.
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..
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:
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.
Clinical Services and Certification, located in Lovinger 2170, monitors your progress from admission to teacher education through student teaching and finalizes your certification with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Clinical Services and Certification will oversee your field experiences, including your student teaching placement.
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.
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.
Both certificate programs have the same minimum admissions requirements:
This certificate is designed to support and enhance leadership skills within early childhood education. The Leadership in Early Childhood Education Certificate aligns with the Missouri Association for the Education of Young Children (MO AEYC) Director Credential, meeting criteria upon completion. The certificate consists of Master’s level Early Childhood Education courses approved by the Missouri Department of Higher Education. This certificate is designed to support and engage early education leaders in and outside the classroom promoting learning, achievement, development, and well-being of each early childhood student through leadership development.
This certificate is designed to support and enhance teaching skills within early childhood education. The Advanced Teaching in Early Childhood Education Certificate aligns with the Core Competencies for Early Childhood and Youth Professionals (Missouri and Kansas) and the revised 2020 National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. The certificate consists of Master’s level Early Childhood Education courses approved by the Missouri Department of Higher Education. This certificate is designed to support and engage early childhood educators in the classroom promoting learning, development, achievement, and well-being of each early childhood student.
UCM is the longest continuously CAEP accredited public institution in Missouri