The Birth-Kindergarten program is a multidisciplinary program designed to meet the educational and career development needs of a diverse group of professionals-in-training. The 128 semester-hour program includes the University's 44 semester-hour General Education requirement; a 30 semester-hour Specialty Area Core; a 12 semester-hour Educator Preparation Core (EPC); a 12 semester-hour Multidisciplinary Core; 17 semester-hours of electives; and a required one-hour freshman seminar. The courses in General Education are the same as those required of and available to all students at UNCP. The Professional Education Core replicates the core required for all teacher education majors, with modifications to particularly address birth-kindergarten education. A total of 30 semester hours of coursework focused on the child from age birth - five constitute the Specialty Area Core. The multidisciplinary Core includes courses from the Departments of Sociology and Social Work, Psychology, Music, Art, and Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. Field Experiences, culminating in a full-semester internship, occur in a variety of locations including public and private preschool settings, public and private day-care centers, military base child development centers, Smart Start Partnerships, Developmental Evaluation Centers, Head Start programs, hospital neonatal and pediatric units, hospital child care settings, health departments, social work agencies, and private homes. The program satisfies the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction requirements for B-K licensure.
Through required coursework and other educational experiences, the program is designed to:
- Provide individuals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to effectively serve infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in diverse settings.
- Provide area educators with opportunities to refine and extend their ability to effectively serve infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in diverse settings.
- Provide preservice and inservice educators with the opportunity to earn licensure by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in Birth-Kindergarten.
- Serve as a resource in enhancing the quality of services provided to infants, toddlers, and preschool children within the region and state.
The specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities students will be expected to demonstrate include:
- An understanding of various stages and substages of growth and development in young children, the unique patterns with which children progress through these stages, and the factors that distinguish the wide range of typical from atypical development.
- Knowledge of and skill in the design/adaptation and implementation of developmentally appropriate learning environments for young children.
- Understanding of developmentally and functionally appropriate curricula and methods for children from birth through two and for children three through kindergarten, including knowledge of and skill in utilizing a variety of curriculum models.
- Knowledge of and skill in working collaboratively with families.
- Positive attitudes toward children and families, and a strong commitment to continuous life-long study of young children and their learning.
- Skill in data collection, including screening and assessment procedures focused on individual development, and program evaluation.
- Skill in participating on interdisciplinary early childhood teams and in collaboration across agencies dealing with young children and their families.
- Skill in applying current instructional principles, research, and appropriate assessment practices to the use of computers and related technologies.