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Program at a Glance

College of Community Innovation and Education
Teacher Education, Schl of
U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges - Most Innovative 2024

Integrate Learning and Development Practices to Facilitate Growth

The B.S. in Early Childhood Development and Education program at UCF prepares you to impact a diverse population of young children and families using research-based, developmentally appropriate practices. Your coursework will provide you with the knowledge and skills in many areas, including child development, social and emotional development, assessment and literacy. Here, we believe that all children deserve a strong foundation in a safe and nurturing environment, using a constructive approach to learning.

With two tracks available, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a path that aligns with your professional and personal goals. Both tracks include practical application work as a way to help students apply what they learn by participating in multiple school and agency opportunities. The early childhood development and education program also works closely with the UCF Creative School, which is an NAEYC-accredited child care program on campus. You’ll work closely with faculty to create your individual plan, which may include practicum placements at top organizations such as Nemours and Arnold Palmer children’s hospitals, Make a Wish Foundation, Orlando Science Center, Children’s Home Society, United Cerebral Palsy, Head Start and Early Head Start, among others.

Education, Pre-Kindergarten through Primary (K-3) Track (certification)
The certification track allows you to explore teaching pedagogy and instructional practices focusing on early childhood education. It’s a great option if you’re interested in teaching pre-kindergarten through third grade. This track meets the educational requirements for certification in pre-kindergarten through third grade. Upon graduating from this Florida state-approved teacher preparation program and passing all three Florida Teacher Certification Examinations, you’ll qualify for the Professional Florida Educator’s Certificate. Additionally, you will graduate with ESOL and Reading Endorsements.

Early Childhood Development Track (non-certification)
In this track, you’ll take a series of core and specialization courses that prepare you to work with children, parents and families in a variety of settings. Your coursework will cover children’s literature and family systems, as well as courses that meet the requirements to become a certified child life specialist. Child life specialists work in hospital settings and help reduce the stress and anxiety children and families experience related to healthcare and hospitalization. Please note that you will not become certified upon completing this program as there are additional requirements to meet post-graduation. This degree culminates in a semester-long practicum.

Teacher sitting at table with young students.


Get hands-on experience through practicum placements that include organizations such as Nemours and Arnold Palmer children’s hospitals, Make a Wish Foundation, Orlando Science Center, Children’s Home Society, United Cerebral Palsy, Head Start and Early Head Start, among others.
The early childhood and development program works closely with the UCF Creative School, which is an NAEYC-accredited child care program on campus.
Florida is expected to see an average of 6,200 annual openings for elementary school teachers through 2028.
The Florida median earnings for elementary school teachers is approximately $48K.

Undergraduate Application Deadlines

May 1
November 1
March 1
July 1
November 1
March 1
March 1
September 1
January 1

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Course Overview

Child Life: Psychosocial Care of Children in Health Settings

Explore Child Life theory and practice to students wanting to work with children, youth and their families in hospitals and pediatric clinical settings.

Learn techniques to guide behavior of young children, emphasizing classroom management and pro-social skills.

Gain an in-depth understanding of the social and emotional development of the young child. Examine the implication for curriculum development.

The early childhood development and education program continuously challenged all the ideas that I had regarding education and young children. I entered the program thinking I was just going to learn how to teach core subjects, but I left with an awareness of the developmental process that children undergo and with tools to help them achieve that growth."

— Maria Spinetti Rincon '19

Early Childhood Development Skills You’ll Learn

  • Gain a thorough knowledge of early child development specifically related to the critical area of social and emotional development of children.
  • Have opportunities to synthesize course objectives across the degree program into practical placements.
  • Infuse technology into course instruction and in practical use in the field.
  • Work with exceptional needs children and English learners.

Career Opportunities

  • Kindergarten Teacher
  • Elementary Teacher
  • Preschool Director
  • Head Start Professional
  • Child Development Specialist
  • Child Advocate
  • Early Intervention Specialist
  • Child Life Specialist
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