The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Program at Polk State College prepares students to teach children ages three to eight years old, with emphasis on the social, emotional, cognitive, and linguistic components of child development. Through coursework and associated field experiences in early childhood settings, students integrate theory with teaching practice to demonstrate competencies related to research-based instructional techniques that are appropriate for all students, including those from diverse cultures, of varying exceptionalities, and across all performance levels in a variety of educational settings. The Polk State College BS in Early Childhood Education graduate is eligible for Florida Pre-Kindergarten/Primary teacher certification (Age 3 - Grade 3), and endorsements in Reading (K-12) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL, K-12).
Employment opportunities for graduates of this program include teaching classes in pre-kindergarten through third grade in a variety of settings, including Head Start and voluntary pre-K programs (VPK), in Florida public and private schools. This degree can also lead to administrative or leadership positions in early childhood education programs and agencies, such as voluntary pre-K lead teachers, Head Start lead teachers, Head Start mentor teachers, Head Start family service workers, and Head Start home visitor managers.
Program admission requires an AS degree in Early Childhood Education (or a related field), or an AA degree (or the equivalent) from a regionally-accredited school or college, with a minimum 2.5 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale in all previous coursework. If the student's associate's degree is from a non-regionally accredited institution, but one that is accredited by a body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, a course-by-course evaluation is done according to Polk State College's transfer practices and policies.
The following additional admission requirements are set forth by the State of Florida:
- A passing score on the General Knowledge (GK) Exam of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE).
- Completion of all Education prerequisites with a grade of C or higher.
- Students who are considered first-time-in-college and enrolled at Polk State College before the 2017- 2018 College Catalog year must complete the following courses with a grade of C or higher: EDF 1005 Introduction to the Teaching Profession, EDF 2085 Introduction to Diversity for Educators, and EME 2040 Introduction to Technology for Educators.
- Students who are considered first-time-in-college and enrolled during the the 2017- 2018 College Catalog year (or later), must complete EDF 1005 Introduction to the Teaching Profession with a grade of C or higher.
Note: Fingerprinting and a Level-2 criminal background check are required before students may enroll in courses with mandatory field experience in local schools or early childhood learning centers.
Course Progression for BS in Early Childhood Education:
The BS in Early Childhood Education curriculum is provided in a flexible format. Students are not required to complete all lower-division courses before enrolling in upper-division courses; they may take most upper-division courses in any order. Although a preferred order is designed for the program and prerequisites exist for some of the courses, there is sufficient reinforcement of key concepts across the curriculum, without redundancy of material, to enable students to be successful if courses are taken in a variable order. This format accommodates working adults who typically enroll part time and must balance class enrollment with work and family responsibilities. The internship course, EEC 4940 Internship in Early Childhood Education, must be taken in the last semester prior to graduation.
Note: Students must receive a passing score on the Professional Education (PEd) and the Prekindergarten/Primary Pre-K-Grade 3 Subject Area Examination (SAE) components of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE) before permission to register for EEC 4940 Internship in Early Childhood Education will be granted.