Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education
BAE

Introduction

The Early Childhood Education Program offers two options to students. Both options are for candidates seeking a profession in early childhood education and specialization in working with young children and their families.

  • The Non-certification option is designed for individuals who want to work in positions specific to the birth to eight years age range in childcare, HeadStart or with school-age children in after-school programs.
  • The P-3 option is designed for students wanting to specialize in early childhood education (birth through third grade) and seek a teaching endorsement to work in the public schools. 

Upon completion of the program, candidates can work in childcare centers, preschools, Head Start programs, and, if they receive the P-3 teacher endorsement, in the primary grades in public schools. The course work offers a combination of theory, methods, and field experiences in a variety of early childhood settings. 

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

Locations Offered

Programming and curriculum may vary by location. Please continue to the college page or contact Western's Early Childhood Education program in Bremerton for details. 

Two majoring in Early Childhood Education sit under a tree on the Western campus

By maximizing partnerships with community colleges, like-minded universities and community centers throughout the Puget Sound region, Western students have access to education beyond the Bellingham campus. 

Beyond the Classroom

Partnerships

The Early Childhood Education teacher preparation program in Western's Woodring College of Education and the Associated Students' Child Development Center have a longstanding collaborative partnership to engage in the understanding of principles and practices in early childhood education.  One of the projects this term in ECE 434: Environments for Young Children is to design materials for the classroom to support children’s knowledge and skills related to scientific thinking and to support children’s ability to represent their thinking.  Read the whole story here.

We have an international partnership with the Early Childhood Program of Southwest University in Chongqing, China. WWU's ECE students, teachers and faculty joined with their counterparts from Chongqing and visited local schools and engaged in professional development. Click here to see ECE programs hosted by the Lummi Nation.

Student Teaching for Endorsement Option

An important experience for teacher certification candidates is the student teaching internship. Students spend two quarters taking final classes in the program along with time in their assigned classroom preparing for quarter three when they are teaching full-time under the direct supervision of a certificated teacher in a school setting. This internship involves intensive practice in integrating methods, content area knowledge, and classroom organizational strategies.

Students will be able to work part time during two quarters of the three quarter internship. However, one quarter of the internship involves full-time teaching responsibilities. It is our advice that candidates NOT work during the full-time internship so they may gain maximum benefit from the experience and perform at his or her highest ability.

Because the internship should be completed in a single classroom for all three quarters, it is likely that internship placement will be in a school site within Whatcom and Skagit counties.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Graduates can work with children from birth through 3rd grade as teachers in public schools, private and not-for-profit childcare programs, and military or corporate early education programs. Additional career opportunities exist as education specialists, administrators and coordinators of parent education and volunteer programs in social service agencies, Head Start, and other community-based child care programs.

Master’s degree programs in early childhood education prepare students for careers in early childhood administration, teaching, and development of child care policy. Many programs are designed for students who have (or are concurrently completing) an early childhood teaching license.

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Sample Jobs

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

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.