Early Childhood Education
Division of Behavioral & Social Sciences
The Associate and Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education are designed to build teaching and leadership skills that can be applied in school settings. This program is accredited by the Connecticut State Department of Education and also meets national accreditation standards.
With both Associate and Bachelor degree options, the Early Childhood Education program balances the liberal arts and professional preparation. The program offers an Associate program and a Bachelor program with two specializations. The program offers many opportunities to observe and gain practical experience in a school setting through three paths:
- Teaching certification
- Early childhood education degree
- Leadership and management roles in Early Childhood Education
What You Will Learn
The Early Childhood Education program prepares future teachers with learning and hands-on experience including the following:
- Associate Program:
- Prepares student for opportunities to work as an Infant/Toddler Educator, Child Referral Person, Family Child Care Provider, or Education Retail Specialist
- Bachelor Program with two specializations:
- Early Childhood Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education leading towards Teacher Certification (Integrated Special Needs Pre-K through K, 1st–3rd Grade); culminates with two student teaching experiences during the student’s junior and senior years
- Early Childhood Studies concentration (eligible for Connecticut’s Early Childhood Credential ECTC), which provides teaching experience (Pre-K through K) during the junior and senior years
The Mitchell Difference
Earning a degree at Mitchell College requires a combination of coursework and experiential learning built around our Abilities Model. This skills-based learning approach includes the following: First Year Experience, Integrative Career Development, Core curriculum, Major curriculum and exploratory electives. Every program at Mitchell offers unique opportunities to our broad spectrum of students for their educational, occupational and lifestyle pursuits.
The Early Childhood Education program features:
- Hands-on learning as a way for students to explore, retain and experiment within their field of study:
- Lab school at Children’s Learning Center provides students with opportunities to work, complete practicums and conduct research within a vibrant school setting
- Field experience through working and studying in schools (Pre-K, K, or Grades 1, 2 or 3)
- Wraparound supports that offer resources and promote community-building within the learning process:
- Professional tutoring from retired teachers
- Support for certification testing
- Mentoring program for first-year students
- Professional and faculty advising
- Organizations and activities to build community with peers, learn and have fun, such as:
- Early Childhood Education Club
- Educators Rising Collegiate Chapter
- Practicums offering real-world experience to enhance our students’ education journey through work in local schools
- Service learning that combines learning objectives with community service in ways that can benefit both student growth and the community
- Research that offers students the opportunities to delve deeper into subject areas of interest with faculty guidance
- Minor and/or Microcredential(s) allowing students more compact, narrowly focused courses to develop specific skills in their area of study
The Early Childhood Education program prepares students for a wide variety of careers:
- Infant/Toddler Educator
- Early Childhood Educator
- Child Referral Person
- Family Child Care Provider
- Education Retail Specialist
Samantha Oudkerk ’22, an early childhood studies major, was one of six Mitchell College students who did their teaching practicum at the Children’s Learning Center (CLC) at Mitchell College during the fall 2021 semester. She completed her final practicum at The Friendship School in Waterford. Her goal is to become a preschool teacher or teacher assistant. She said Mitchell “is where I realized that I wanted to be a teacher.”
Blind since birth, Brian Martin ’22 had been taught by a few people who were also blind or visually impaired, and recognized their positive impact on him. He began Mitchell College as a communication major with an interest in radio broadcasting, but changed his major. At Mitchell, he discovered that “I would love working with and helping others like myself. Halfway through my time at Mitchell, I changed my major to early childhood studies. I discovered that this is my calling.” He plans to pursue a master’s degree in special education, with the goal of working in a large public school system, perhaps Boston, either in a middle school or high school, possibly with a dual certification as an orientation mobility specialist, teaching blind or visually impaired people.
When Priscilla Huyhua ‘20 thinks about Mitchell College, she recognizes all it has done for her future. Since graduating with her bachelor’s degree in both early childhood studies and human development and family studies, she completed an intensive 11-month graduate program at the Neag School of Education at UConn, earned her master’s degree in educational psychology and special education and accepted a position as a special education teacher at Stamford Public Schools. When she looks back on her years at Mitchell, Priscilla understands the role the faculty, staff, her coursework and internships all had in her accomplishments.
Jason Buehler ’19 describes his years at Mitchell College as “transformative” and “multidimensional,” a wellspring of inspiration for both his work as a teacher and for his life. “I am neurodiverse, and the feeling of coming to a campus that recognized this and had the resources to help me succeed was the biggest reason for me coming to Mitchell.” After graduating he started teaching first grade at The Gordon School in East Providence, Rhode Island, and plans to pursue a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a focus on reading and language arts. Jason has found that he often draws on lessons learned from Dr. Nancy Parent’s Cross-Cultural Development course and uses the Mitchell Abilities every day, such as communication, critical thinking, technology, ethics, social interaction, and diversity and global perspectives.
Sample Coursework: 4-Year Overview
View the College Catalog for full descriptions of these courses.