Research shows that care and education during the early childhood period determines later academic success for children. The demand for competent early childhood professionals is constant. The Early Childhood Program prepares students to either assume positions in the early childhood community immediately upon graduation or to continue their formal education at a four-year institution. All students are welcome in this curriculum: full-time, part-time, matriculated and non-matriculated, those taking 12 credits of Early Childhood coursework to meet OCFS NYS licensing regulations, and those seeking the B-2 extension to an existing 1-6 NYS Teacher Certification.
The Early Childhood Program provides students with a well-rounded education while they learn specifically about teaching and caring for young children. Students gain practical experience with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in a variety of high quality Early Childhood programs in the Western NY community as part of their curriculum. Program students take Early Childhood, liberal arts and social science courses. Early Childhood courses are a series of education courses each paired with a field experience (lab) course, culminating in a six-credit field placement and seminar capstone course in the final semester. Early Childhood courses are based on NAEYC developmentally appropriate practice theory, NYS Early Learning Guidelines and the NYS Core Body of Knowledge. The liberal arts and science courses taken depend on the individual student's educational and professional goals and are carefully chosen with an Early Childhood adviser each semester.
The first two Early Childhood lab experiences are generally offered day and evening, depending on enrollment. The third lab and student teaching are offered only during the day; but the seminar portion for student teaching is offered in the evening, depending on the semester and need. Students already working in the field may apply for a waiver or LEAP credit for Labs I or III, depending on experience. All of the other required Early Childhood courses are offered both day and evening.
Graduates are employed in early childhood positions in the community. These include, but are not limited to, positions in early childhood centers and programs, day care centers, preschool programs, pre-k programs, nursery schools, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, before- and after-school programs, family day care programs, residential setting programs, special education programs, agencies specializing in the care of infants and young children and positions as nannies. Many of our graduates are recruited directly from their student teaching experience.