When the young children in your class filter in, it’s a whirlwind of activity. You teach them how to take off and hang up their coats. You quiet them down from their excited conversations with their new friends. And you direct them from unstructured playtime to the learning foundations they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.
For you, teaching children the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic aren’t the only aspects of your job that you enjoy. You enjoy being able to show children God’s grace through your actions, and to impact their lives for the better as they first enter school.
Teach Pre-Kindergarten through Third Grade
Early Childhood Education provides you with an entrance into teaching children from pre-kindergarten through third grade. Outside of public school, Early Childhood Education majors may work with Head Start or private day care facilities, or further their education and become the executive director of childcare centers within major corporations. The possibilities to impact children’s lives in early childhood education are endless.
In your studies, you’ll learn about child growth and development that will show you what children are able to do at different ages. You’ll also learn about developmentally appropriate practices that will help you identify which are the best ways of teaching students, given their family circumstances and learning abilities. Additionally, you’ll learn about the best practices in classroom management and how to guide children through positive reinforcement instead of punishment and correction.
Experience in the Classroom
You’ll also receive numerous opportunities to put your skills to work in the field. You’ll begin working with children in an early childhood education setting starting your sophomore year, where you’ll be in a non-public school setting, such as a faith-based daycare or Head Start. In your junior year, you’ll spend time with children in first through third grade. By your senior year, you’ll be working in a school with a teacher full-time.
Not only does Anderson University’s early childhood education program have a high hire rate, but the program is also popular with students. When the program started in 2011, four students changed their majors to early childhood education. But in 2017, the program had more than 80 students and two of the programs’ graduates had been named their districts’ distinguished induction teacher of the year – a high honor for a first-year teacher.
The Spirit of a Pastor
At AU you won’t need to separate your calling as a teacher from your calling as a Christ follower. In fact, being called to teach requires a similar servant’s heart as being called to pastor. As a teacher you’ll literally be the hands and feet of Jesus, showing children the love and compassion that Christ teaches us.
The early childhood education program is a traditional four-year degree and will provide you with the foundation to enter the classroom and teach after graduation or to pursue graduate studies in education or school administration.