Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education (ECE) prepares students to become early childhood educators, working with children from the ages of birth through third grade. With multiple program options, exemplary faculty, small class sizes, and extensive field experiences, candidates who complete this program become thoughtful, knowledgeable, and effective educators. Course work includes a combination of theory, methods, and field experiences in a variety of early childhood education settings and emphasizes understanding and respect for intercultural/familial diversity. Throughout the program, students attend classes with other Early Childhood Education students as a cohort group.

The program in early childhood education consists of an academic major in Early Childhood Education (ECE) with three additional options for students: a sequence of professional certification courses that lead to teacher licensure Pre-K through third grade,  Dual Endorsement (ECE and Elementary Education endorsements) or non-certification.

Early Childhood Education - Non-Certification: This option offers students the preparation for working in home visiting and family support programs, child care settings, head start programs and with school-age children in after-school programs. Students complete a major in early childhood education and complete a preschool internship.

Early Childhood Education - P-3 Endorsement: This option offers students preparation for an Early Childhood Education endorsement to work with young children from birth through third grade. Students complete a major in early childhood education; take a one-term preschool internship and a two-term primary internship.

Dual Endorsement in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education: This option offers students preparation for elementary and P-3 endorsement. Students complete a major in early childhood education, a preschool internship, a year-long internship in a primary grade and take additional coursework in elementary education.

Western’s Early Childhood Education program is part of the Woodring College of Education.


“I chose to be a part of the Early Childhood Education program because I want to make a difference in children’s lives. Being able to understand and support the young minds that will later become strong contributors to society, definitely makes me feel like a superhero.”

–Tina Nguyen, Student

Beyond the Classroom

Students gain experience in teaching children in a variety of settings through internships and extensive internships through Woodring. Many students choose to join Compass 2 Campus, a program designed to increase access to higher education by providing an opportunity for 5th-12th grade students from traditionally underrepresented and diverse backgrounds in Whatcom and Skagit counties to be mentored by university students. Students in this program work as mentors, volunteers, or leaders. Compass 2 Campus is recognized by President Obama’s Community Service Honor Roll. 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Western ECE graduates are successfully placed in infant/toddler programs, preschools, Early Start and Head Start programs, and in the public school systems. Other graduates continue their education in graduate teaching programs. 

Sample Careers

  • Elementary Education Teacher (P-3)
  • Head Start
  • Childcare

Department of Elementary Education

Early Childhood Education, BAE

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