New degree equips early childhood teachers

December 6, 2021 | UHCL Staff

New degree equips early childhood teachers

University of Houston-Clear Lake is among just eight Texas Educator Preparation Programs offering a degree aimed specifically at teacher candidates interested in focusing on early childhood years. The Bachelor of Science in Education with Early Childhood Pre-Kindergarten-Grade 3 Certification will be offered in fall 2022.

UH-Clear Lake’s Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education Shanna Graves, who is also the coordinator of the Early Childhood Education program, said the coursework in the degree plan strictly spotlighted the younger learners.

“The Texas Education Agency came up with this degree because they recognize the importance of those early years, and the necessity of having teachers who are well prepared to teach this age group,” she said. “No other four-year university with a teacher education program in the Houston area offers this EC-3 certification degree. Teachers who have this degree will be highly qualified to teach these grades.”

Graves added students could receive this degree with initial certification in EC-3, then increase their marketability by adding on a certification in ESL, special education or bilingual education.

“We see the value in early childhood education with coursework rich in content for these grade levels,” she said. “We are happy not to have to stretch the courses all the way to sixth graders because the children’s needs are so different. Principals can take comfort in knowing they will have the right people in those lower grades. These are foundational years for children, so it’s critical to have the right teachers providing that foundation.”

For more information about UHCL’s College of Education programs and degrees, go online.