The child and family studies major provides the undergraduate preparation needed for a student who would like to be licensed to teach Early Childhood Education Integrated Birth to Kindergarten (B-K) in the State of Tennessee. The Early Childhood Education Integrated B-K track is a concentration designed with an emphasis on an inclusive, unified, and integrated curriculum in which early childhood and special education content are purposefully blended into courses/clinical experiences. The overarching goal of this program is to prepare candidates to teach all children from an integrated lens through which early childhood and special education are no longer viewed as separate. The program objectives center on preparing candidates who understand children and families in a cultural context to meet a diverse set of needs (i.e., racial, linguistic, economic, and ability) across a range of early childhood settings. The strength of the program includes a series of integrated early childhood and special education clinical experiences that happen “early and often,” from which candidates benefit from hands-on practical experiences that use an embedded instruction approach with principles of universal design. Outside of the Vol Core curriculum, courses in this program are offered in distance education and campus-based formats to allow for enrollment of both types of students.
The Early Childhood Education Integrated B-K candidates must complete university-required general education courses in the first terms of their program. The education core comprises courses in educational psychology, educational technology, and an introductory-level special education course. CFS has additional integrated early childhood core courses that are required of candidates and focus solely on the scope of an integrated early childhood program age range (birth to kindergarten). These courses provide foundational knowledge of integrated curriculum and blended designs for teaching young children, partnering with families, and collaboration with professionals in the community. The B-K candidates complete clinical experiences in a variety of collaborative and inclusive early childhood settings (birth to age 3; 3 to 5 years old). The student teaching course is the culminating/capstone full-time clinical practice for candidates that also includes a seminar experience.
Learning Objective for Early Childhood Education Integrated B-K (Birth to Kindergarten) Track
- Demonstrate expertise in Integrated Early Childhood Education birth to kindergarten content and child-centered pedagogy.
- Provide research-based instruction and leadership in recognition and support of accountability measures facing today’s educators.
- Engage as active members of learning communities through a commitment to ongoing professional development and collaboration.
- Actively pursue evidenced-based initiatives in educational settings to promote continuous improvement to instruction that facilitates learning for all stakeholders.
- Model the professional dispositions that are characteristic of successful educators.
- Value diversity among students, colleagues, community members, and others by promoting diversity as a means for strengthening the educational experiences of all students.
- Demonstrate those skills necessary to promote continuous improvements to curriculum, instruction, use of high quality instructional materials, and the use of technology and assessment.
Students interested in this licensure should work closely with their advisor to ensure that they understand and meet Teacher Education program requirements and that they strictly follow the application process. Students will complete the admission to Teacher Education process for the Early Childhood Education Integrated B-K licensure program upon completion of 12 undergraduate hours.
A student desiring to be admitted into the Early Childhood Education Integrated Birth- Kindergarten teacher education program must meet the following admission requirements including, but not limited to the following:
- Academic achievement – minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA.
- 12 credit hours completed
- Tennessee state law (TCA 49-5-5610) requires that students wishing to enter an approved higher education educator preparation program must submit to a criminal history background check. Admission to the program is dependent on clearance of any conviction(s) as referenced to a list of crimes that would prohibit a person from being licensed in Tennessee.
Prior to the Practicum
- Apply for the practicum by completing the application one year prior to the intended practicum semester.
- Complete the self-disclosure forms allowing university personnel to obtain student conduct and criminal background information one year prior to the intended practicum semester. The department’s undergraduate committee will evaluate any negative background check.
Prerequisites for the Practicum
- Completion of all prerequisites enforced by the registration system. Students in the Early Childhood Education Integrated B-K Track are required to obtain a minimum 21 ACT (enhanced version) composite score; 1020 SAT (revised version) total score; or State Board of Education determined passing scores on PRAXIS Core (contact the college’s Student Services Center for current PRAXIS Core score requirements).
- A cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 (A cumulative GPA of at least 2.75, including transfer credits, is required for students electing the CFS 472 practicum option).
- A minimum grade of C in all child and family studies courses.
Students are expected to know the criteria they must meet in order to progress into a practicum (CFS 470, CFS 472, CFS 480, or CFS 490) and to regularly monitor their progress in meeting these criteria. Students will not be allowed to progress into the practicum until these criteria are met. If students do not appear able to meet these criteria, they are encouraged to work closely with their advisor to plan an alternative educational program. Specific information on how to apply for the practicum is available from the student’s advisor. Students must work closely with their advisor to ensure that they understand the requirements for progression and that they strictly follow the application process for the practicum experience of their choice.