The Polk State College Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Program is a state-approved educator preparation program that prepares the teacher candidate to teach children ages three to eight years old. The program emphasizes the social, emotional, cognitive, and linguistic components of child development. Through coursework and associated field experiences in early childhood settings, the teacher candidate integrates theory with teaching practice to demonstrate competencies related to research-based instructional techniques appropriate for students from diverse cultures, of varying exceptionalities, and across all performance levels in a variety of educational settings. The Polk State Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Program graduate is eligible for Florida Pre-Kindergarten/Primary Teacher certification (Age 3 to Grade 3), and endorsements in Reading (K-12) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL, K-12).
Employment opportunities for a program graduate include teaching classes in pre-kindergarten through third grade in a variety of settings within Florida public and private schools, including Head Start and voluntary pre-K programs (VPK). This degree can also lead to an administrative or leadership position within an early childhood education program or agency (e.g., voluntary pre-K lead teacher, Head Start lead teacher, Head Start mentor teacher, Head Start family service worker, or Head Start home visitor manager).
Program admission requires an Associate in Science in Early Childhood Education degree (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 a student's associate 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) portion of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE).
- Completion of the program prerequisite EDF 1005 Introduction to the Teaching Profession with a grade of C or better.
Note: Fingerprinting and a Level-2 criminal background check are required before the student may enroll in courses with mandatory field experiences within local schools or early childhood learning centers.
Course Progression in the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Program:
The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education curriculum is provided in a flexible format however, a preferred pathway is designated for the program. A student is not required to complete all lower-division courses before enrolling in upper-division courses. This format accommodates the working adult who must typically enroll part time while balancing class enrollment with work and family responsibilities.
Note: Three courses must be taken concerrently in the last semester prior to graduation: EEC 4940 Internship in Early Childhood Education, EEC 4936 Senior Seminar in Early Childhood Education, and RED 4940 Final Reading Internship.
Note: The student must receive a passing score on the Professional Education (PEd) and the Pre-kindergarten/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 is granted.