The Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies (ECS) prepares professionals who will serve young children, their families, and the agencies that support them both. This degree program will assist graduates in becoming advocates for children from diverse family structures and will provide them with the critical knowledge to advance the intellectual life of the children and families they serve.
This program is for candidates wishing to work with young children, from birth through age 8 (preschool). The program offers opportunities to combine theory and practice through application experiences in early childhood settings. The Early Childhood Studies Program offers a choice of specialization with the following emphases: birth to three years, special needs students, or agency leadership. These specialization options are designed to meet the professional goals of each candidate.
The bachelor’s degree satisfies the Head Start Reauthorization Act of 2007 that at least 50 percent of Head Start teachers have a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education by September 2013. Degree completion does not lead to a Washington State Teaching Certificate.
Program Admission Requirements
The minimum requirements for entering the program are the completion of the ECS alternative General University Course Requirements (Options II-VI), as approved by the ECS director, or an AA/DTA degree and a cumulative GPA of 2.6. Also, students must have a program selection interview. Students short of meeting these requirements will be considered with the approval of the associate dean of Residency Teacher Preparation Programs in the College of Education and Psychology.
Candidates must meet all background screening, as required by the university; Washington State licensure requirements; and the Washington State Department of Early Learning.
Candidates decide on the area they wish to specialize in by the end of the third semester of coursework. Choose one area of emphasis:
- Birth to Three Specialization
- Special Need Students: Birth to Five Specialization
- Agency Leadership
Total specialization credits: 9
Application experiences are required each semester for candidates to apply the knowledge, skills, and disposition required in that semester’s course work. These application experiences will give candidates the opportunity to learn at the infant, toddler, preschool, and/or kinder-first grade levels. These application experiences should include both private and public settings. Professors will work with candidates who have full-time work responsibilities in order to design meaningful observation opportunities.
Elements of each application experience include:
- Analysis of context
- Application of theory and practice in professional situations to demonstrate their impact on children’s learning
- Demonstration of the candidate’s impact on children’s learning
- Development and updating of the candidate’s professional growth plan based on NAEYC and Washington State competencies
- Development of reflective practice skills
- Time spent in a variety of locations, reflective journal, and seminars
- Development and continual updating of initial advocacy statement
Senior Project and Specialization Internship in Early Learning, with Focus on Area of Emphasis
- Research project based on assessment, instruction, and impact on children’s learning and area of specialization
- Presentation to PEAB, Heritage University faculty, and ECS professional community leaders
- Advocacy paper internship in area of specialization
- Internship in area of specialization
- Internship based on agreement of faculty and advisor; internship arrangements will take into account employee and family obligations
- Demonstration of impact on child and family learning and community