Early Childhood Education

 The Columbia College Early Childhood Education Program is a four-year undergraduate program preparing early childhood professionals to work primarily in public and private schools (pre-K-3), in childcare centers, or in early intervention programs.
Students graduate with a BA degree from the Education Department with a major in Early Childhood Education. The main scope of preparation is ages 3-8, although courses and some field experiences introduce students to an earlier developmental range. The program is designed to meet the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Guidelines for initial certification for four-year institutions.

Our philosophy of early childhood education reflects the theories of several psychologists and theorists and how these theories apply to the development and learning of young children. We believe that for the young child learning occurs naturally in the context of the ecological settings and that curriculum should address all aspects of the child’s development—social, emotional, cognitive, linguistic, aesthetic, and physical. The interconnectedness of these domains dictates that the goal of our early childhood program is the education of the whole child.

We, the education faculty, are committed to preparing teachers as Collaborative Professionals (see the Teacher Education Handbook, pg. 3) who are knowledgeable in the content and practice of their respective discipline. The collaborative professional believes the student’s capacity for learning is most fully developed through the participation of a group of individuals sharing their collective knowledge.

Graduates of the program will be educators who embody the attitudes and skills of dedicated professionals and are committed to working with others to provide quality education for all students. As collaborative professionals they will be prepared to teach in classrooms where students and teachers acquire knowledge collaboratively and together positively influence student outcomes.

Throughout the program there is an emphasis on attaining professionalism. Life-long learning, reflective practice, collaboration in the learning community, caring, ethical behavior, respect for diversity, and advocacy for young children are hallmarks of the Columbia College early childhood collaborative professional. These ideals are introduced early in course work, modeled and encouraged throughout the program and demonstrated by the teacher candidates in field experiences. Major emphases on professionalism and collaboration are combined in the Columbia College early childhood program to produce a caring, committed, knowledgeable, responsible, reflective, creaticve member of the education profession.

The Columbia College program follows the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) standards and is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Columbia College is also recognized as a Teaching Fellows institution by the South Carolina Center for Teacher Recruitment. Students awarded Teaching Fellowships may use their awards to attend Columbia College.

To find out more information about early childhood education philosophy or as a career, go the National Association for the Education of Young Children website at www.naeyc.org.

If you would like more information on or have questions about the early childhood program at Columbia College, please contact:

Dr. Sandy Ayers
803.786.3034 (fax)