Early Childhood Education


The state-approved Early Childhood Education concentration in the Child Development and Family Relations major focuses on preparing professionals to work with children ages 0-8 and their families. Students graduating with this concentration will be recommended for K-3 certification and will be eligible to apply to the State for the 081 (birth-age 5 endorsement).

Emphasizing the latest research and instructional strategies, Early Childhood Education is integrated with other teacher education programs in the College of Education and Human Development. Students apply for candidacy and prepare professional portfolios demonstrating competency in state and national standards.

Early Childhood Education is closely affiliated with local schools through the Penobscot River Education Partnership and also with the Katherine Miles Durst Child Development Learning Center in Merrill Hall, which serves as a lab school for aspiring early childhood teachers and professionals. Candidates participate in community-based placements integrated with coursework.

While Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education share common requirements, there are clear differences in the preparation. In ECE, the emphasis on child development beginning in infancy is foundational for teachers as they plan appropriate experiences for young children. Curriculum courses integrate all curriculum areas and address content within the context of inclusive education. Family involvement is integral to all early childhood classes.

Graduates leave the program with understanding of how children learn, how teachers can best promote learning, the crucial role of the family and how teachers and parents can work together for the best interests of children. In addition to teaching children from ages birth to third grade, Early Childhood Education graduates enjoy careers in areas such as museums, recreation, publishing, early intervention, and a variety of social services and community programs.

For Academic Fact Sheet information, including admission and major requirements, related to the Early Childhood Education concentration within the Child Development and Family Relations major please see the Fact Sheet.

For additional information about these majors, please contact:

Mary Mahoney-O’Neil, Assistant Dean for Academic Services
College of Education & Human Development
101 Shibles Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5766