More About the Major

The Ohio Wesleyan University teacher preparation program in Early Childhood Education is committed to helping prospective teachers become knowledgeable, caring, competent professionals who are dedicated to nurturing the intellectual, social, and aesthetic growth of young children.  Students in our program are introduced to a core of knowledge that includes an understanding of child development from ages 3 through 8, a philosophy of teaching and learning that they can successfully put into practice, skill in nurturing family and community relationships, awareness of appropriate assessment and evaluation strategies, and special competence in working with children who have learning or physical challenges. The development of these understandings is a continuous, integrated process. Students are introduced to core concepts that are encountered repeatedly in subsequent courses. Knowledge is deepened by many opportunities to work directly with young children in a wide variety of planned field and clinical experiences. In this way students can clearly see how sound research and theory guide practice. 

Prospective early childhood teachers also pursue in-depth study of a particular field of knowledge and inquiry. Such study complements the knowledge acquired in the general education liberal arts component by providing the early childhood teachers with specialized understanding of one discipline. This will allow them to perceive how a particular body of knowledge is organized and conceptualized as well as corrected and expanded. It is expected that teachers will develop an enthusiasm for that discipline which they, in turn, will transmit to children. Areas of concentration or minors typically come from the humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts.  For all students, the guiding principle for acquiring competence in an academic specialty will be to ascertain whether they have sufficient knowledge to instruct learners at their individual levels of readiness while still remaining true to the structure of the discipline.  Course work in the area of concentration/minor should be planned to achieve this goal. 

Think Again!

So, you think what you do in the classroom doesn’t matter…
That you’re “just” going to teach
Well think again!

A child is a person
Who is going to carry on
What you have started
And when you are gone
Attend to those things you think are important
You may adopt all the policies you please-
But how they are carried out,

Depends on him.

He will assume control of your cities, states, and schools.
He is going to move in and take over
Your churches, states, and corporations

The fate of humanity is in his hands…
Or is that your hands?

– Author Unknown

The mission of the Early Childhood Teacher Education Program at Ohio Wesleyan University is to prepare competent, committed, professional teachers who know how to provide developmentally appropriate programs for all young children in a variety of settings so that these children become self-disciplined, independent, lifelong learners. Specifically, the program is designed to develop teachers who:

  • Make effective decisions about curriculum and instructional methods based on solid understanding of child development and content as well as knowledge of research on best practices in the education of young children.
  • Interact and communicate effectively with all young children.
  • Assess and evaluate the growth of all young children using multiple sources of data.
  • Communicate effectively and work cooperatively with parents, school personnel and community agencies.
  • Demonstrate professional, ethical behavior in their work.

Candidates in the program are expected to demonstrate commitment to the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical growth of all young children as well as their own growth as a competent, committed, professional educator; to advocate on behalf of children, families, and the early childhood education profession; and to demonstrate the ability to become future educational leaders.

The Early Childhood Program has been part of teacher education programs at Ohio Wesleyan University, in some form or another, since the 1920s. For most of that time, we licensed elementary teachers (grades 1-8), with additional endorsements in early childhood (preschool-K) and kindergarten. Now students select an early childhood (K-3) or middle childhood (4-9) emphasis after completing the introductory coursework.

Students in Ohio Wesleyan’s Early Childhood Education program are prepared to teach children in preschool through grade 3. They receive a two-year provisional license in Early Childhood Education with reading specialization after passing the national licensing exam, completing a background check, and successfully fulfilling all the requirements of our program. Successful graduates typically seek employment in public school settings, although some work in nontraditional settings such as Native American reservations, Christian education missions, and international schools. See the Alumni link for more information on where our graduates are currently teaching.

Our program is stimulating, challenging, fun, and rewarding. It is so exciting to watch young children blossom and know you had an influence on that development. Our candidates work hard and are continually challenged to critically analyze children and the learning environment, then construct learning experiences that will lead to effective learning. It is not an easy major, but it is one that will prepare you to make a difference in the world.

If you want to find out more about the challenges and joys of being an Early Childhood teacher, read this letter (PDF) from Dr. Amy McClure, Chair of the Education Department and an Early Childhood faculty member.