Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs are grounded in a child development knowledge base. They use their understanding of young children's characteristics and needs, and of multiple interacting influences on children's development and learning, to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.
Key elements of Standard 1

  • 1a: Knowing and understanding young children's characteristics and needs, from birth through age 8.
  • 1b: Knowing and understanding the multiple influences on early development and learning
  • 1c: Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments for young children


Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children's families and communities. They know about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of children's families and communities. They use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to involve all families in their children's development and learning.
Key elements of Standard 2

  • 2a: Knowing about and understanding diverse family and community characteristics
  • 2b: Supporting and engaging families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships
  • 2c: Involving families and communities in young children's development and learning


Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment are central to the practice of all early childhood professionals. They know about and understand the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment. They know about and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies in a responsible way, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence the development of every child.
Key elements of Standard 3

  • 3a: Understanding the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment – including its use in development of appropriate goals, curriculum, and teaching strategies for young children
  • 3b: Knowing about assessment partnerships with families and with professional colleagues to build effective learning environments
  • 3c: Knowing about and using observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches, including the use of technology in documentation, assessment and data collection.
  • 3d: Understanding and practicing responsible assessment to promote positive outcomes for each child, including the use of assistive technology for children with disabilities.


Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children's ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur. They understand and use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families. Candidates know, understand, and use a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and positively influence each child's development and learning.
Key elements of Standard 4

  • 4a: Understanding positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation of their work with young children
  • 4b: Knowing and understanding effective strategies and tools for early education, including appropriate uses of technology
  • 4c: Using a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching /learning approaches
  • 4d: Reflecting on own practice to promote positive outcomes for each child


Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.
Key elements of Standard 5

  • 5a: Understanding content knowledge and resources in academic disciplines: language and literacy; the arts – music, creative movement, dance, drama, visual arts; mathematics; science, physical activity, physical education, health and safety; and social studies.
  • 5b: Knowing and using the central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of content areas or academic disciplines
  • 5c: Using own knowledge, appropriate early learning standards, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum for each child.


Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs identify and conduct themselves as members of the early childhood profession. They know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice. They are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.
Key elements of Standard 6

  • 6a: Identifying and involving oneself with the early childhood field
  • 6b: Knowing about and upholding ethical standards and other early childhood professional guidelines
  • 6c: Engaging in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice; using technology effectively with young children, with peers, and as a professional resource.
  • 6d: Integrating knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education
  • 6e: Engaging in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession


Field experiences and clinical practice are planned and sequenced so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions necessary to promote the development and learning of young children across the entire developmental period of early childhood – in at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3 through 5, 5 through 8 years) and in the variety of settings that offer early education (early school grades, child care centers and homes, Head Start programs).
Key elements of Standard 7

  • 7a. Opportunities to observe and practice in at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3-5, 5-8)
  • 7b. Opportunities to observe and practice in at least two of the three main types of early education settings (early school grades, child care centers and homes, Head Start programs)


Teacher Education Conceptual Framework

Educating Leaders In the 21st Century

The College's conceptual framework was developed through a series of faculty retreats in 1993 and 1994, and revised in Spring 2002 based on recommendations by the COE Conceptual Framework Committee, which was comprised of representative COE faculty, and local school teachers and administrators. Programs were redesigned based on the revised framework and went into effect in Fall 2002. The Conceptual Framework specifically guides the Teacher Education programs within the College, and where appropriate applies to the various non-licensure programs housed within the College. The framework is comprised of nine dimensions that come together to inform the tenth: Leadership.

Leadership (The Tenth Dimension)

Teacher education graduates possess the personal and professional qualities that enable them to take a leadership role and work constructively within schools and agencies to create learning communities that foster the growth and development of all learners.

Dimension 1: General Knowledge

Teacher education graduates have a strong liberal studies core that develops their understanding of the rich cultural heritage of students, provides an understanding of our global community and develops competence in critical thinking, writing, oral communication, and technology. Students use general knowledge and skills in professional practice.

Dimension 2: Content Knowledge

Teacher education graduates understand and use the central concepts, tools of inquiry, technological resources, and structures of their discipline(s) and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of the subject matter meaningful for all students.

Dimension 3: Professional Knowledge

Teacher education graduates are able to plan instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, characteristics and needs of students, the community, and curriculum goals. They understand and use a variety of instructional strategies and tools to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem solving and performance skills. They use an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a safe learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation. Graduates are able to ethically use technology to enhance the learning of students. They understand and are able to use formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of learners.

Dimension 4: Diversity

Teacher education graduates are committed to serving a rapidly changing, expanding, and increasingly diverse society. They understand how individuals differ and create instruction in which people honor one another as individuals, value differences and the special gifts each of us brings to the community, and respect the rights of others as human beings inclusive of race, gender, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, class, age, disability, religion, and national origin.

Dimension 5: Collaboration

Teacher education graduates recognize the importance of collaboration in professional practice. They possess the knowledge and skills necessary to build community support and interaction, to develop relationships with colleagues, parents, and the community, and to develop collaboration skills among their students so that student learning and well-being are enhanced.

Dimension 6: Reflective Practice

Teacher education graduates are reflective practitioners who continually seek to raise questions, to critically analyze the effects of their own practice on others (students, parent and other professionals in the learning community), and to develop creative solutions to educational dilemmas and concerns.

Dimension 7: Lifelong Learning

Teacher education graduates actively seek out opportunities to grow professionally through interactions with professional colleagues, reading professional literature, and accessing other learning resources. Graduates demonstrate a commitment to their own continuing professional development and the development of the profession.

Dimension 8: Caring

Teacher education graduates appreciate the talents of all learners, believe that all students can learn, and are committed to using individual strengths to help students develop self-confidence and competence. Teacher education graduates encourage and support the practice of thoughtful consideration and concern among all members of the school and community environment.

Dimension 9: Social Responsibility

Teacher education graduates demonstrate a commitment to active, ethical involvement in the school, community and profession. They are committed to developing opportunities for learners to engage in socially responsible behaviors