Feb 24, 2024  
Course Catalog 2021-2022 
Course Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Education - Early Childhood Major

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This major is only granted in conjunction with another Wheaton major.  Students must consult the early childhood program coordinators for guidance regarding courses required for the Massachusetts initial teaching license.  This license can be converted into a license valid in other states by contacting the respective state department of education.  Students must meet with one of the early childhood program coordinators before declaring their Education major.

Major requirements

Pre-Practicum Core Courses

(9 courses, 9 credits)


A student must complete a minimum of 20 hours of classroom observation, tutoring and teacher assisting in each of two pre-practicum courses. Additionally, a student must complete a minimum of 25 hours of observation and/or tutoring in an independent fieldwork experience in a diverse setting, which can be completed as the student’s Sophomore Experience.  Licensure regulations are determined by the state of Massachusetts; thus, students must stay abreast of possible changes.

Practicum/Capstone Courses

(Senior year, second semester) (2 courses, 4 credits)

State Mandated Distribution Courses

  • One Psychology course in addition to PSY 203 Child Development  
  • At least one Science course
  • Two U.S. History or Political Science courses
  • At least one Arts, Physical Education or Health course

Practicum requirements

During the senior year, a student will complete a semester-long three-credit student teaching practicum plus a one-credit seminar in teaching methods. While student teaching, Wheaton students will intern at the cooperating schools for the entire school day and will follow the public school calendar. Students may take only one additional Wheaton credit during the semester and this must be fulfilled after the regular school hours. A student must notify the department chair of any incomplete grade from the previous semester.

An incomplete may disqualify the student from admission to the practicum. One hundred hours of practicum must be completed at the Pre-K through kindergarten level and 200 hours at the 1-2 level. One setting must be an inclusion classroom.

Arts, sciences and humanities distribution course work in the field of early childhood education

A student must also take approximately nine courses equivalent to 36 semester hours of credit in the following areas: psychological foundations, children’s literature, the sciences, mathematics, and the social sciences. These requirements are normally met by careful selection of liberal arts courses that fulfill Wheaton’s Compass Curriculum requirements. Consult the departmental coordinators for a list of courses that are especially recommended, including those required by the state (see “State Mandated Distribution Requirements” above).  Licensure regulations are determined by the state of Massachusetts; thus, students must stay abreast of possible changes.

Student Teaching

During the student-teaching practicum (EDUC 496 ), students are evaluated according to the seven standards that define the knowledge and skills required of all Massa­chusetts teachers. If students fail to meet one of these standards, they will not be eligible for licensure.

  • Subject-Matter Knowledge
  • Well-Structured Lessons and Units
  • Meeting Diverse Needs
  • Adjustment to Practice
  • Safe Learning Environment
  • High Expectations
  • Reflective Practice

Additional information

Eligibility for EDUC 495 /EDUC 496  (the student-teaching practicum and seminar) requires a CGPA of 3.0, a B- or better in EDUC 230 , and a B or better in  EDUC 385  and EDUC 390 , a 25-hour fieldwork experience in a setting with diverse learners, passing scores on the reading and writing subtests of the MTEL Communication and Literacy exam, the MTEL Early Childhood Education exam, and the MTEL Foundations of Reading exam; and maintenance of good social standing according to the Dean of Students with no conduct hearings pending.  Students must also demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Wheaton Education Department, promise of fulfilling all Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers, including the Professional Culture Standard (which must be demonstrated by behavior such as, but not limited to, appropriate professional communication and appropriate professional conduct with classmates, students, fieldwork supervisors, community members, and faculty).

The elementary education program coordinators may grant waivers authorizing students to take alternative courses. These waivers are granted when students have taken a similar Wheaton course or a similar course at another institution. In extraordinary circumstances, the coordinator may grant waivers based on reading lists or assignments completed in multiple courses. Waivers may be granted for foundation courses or subject-matter courses, but not for EDUC 385 EDUC 390  or EDUC 495 /EDUC 496 . Ordinarily, coordinators will grant no more than two waivers per student (exceptions are made for students who take relevant courses abroad).

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