Early Childhood Education

  • Toy Lending Library
    Carlow education students (left-right) teach art to preschool children at the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library (PTLL): Erin DiSanti, Janelle McIntyre, and Amanda Knobeloch. Read this story

    The Early Childhood Education program at Carlow University focuses on educating children from birth to grade four in any context—school, family, or community. As a signature mark of the program, students learn how to honor diversity and form strong inclusive relationships between child and caregiver/teacher. They learn that a child’s environment needs to be rooted in trust; physically and psychologically safe. They learn that the caregiver/teacher relationship needs to be collaborative and characterized by advocacy for the child. Principles of child development and constructivist approaches to learning ground the program along with the belief that strong relationships among the child, family, and community form a healthful child who has the necessary foundation to succeed in a 21st century and beyond.

    The program uses the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines for ethical behavior to demonstrate professionalism. Competencies for early childhood education are based on current research and child development theory, NAEYC standards and guidelines, and the pedagogy of relationship. 

    Early childhood teaching candidates will:

    • Develop pedagogical wisdom and contextual literacy as they apply their understanding of young children’s development, motivation, characteristics, and influences on children’s development and learning to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supporting, and challenging of young child.

    • Develop into ethical stewards who know and understand diverse family and community characteristics; support, engage, and involve families and communities though respectful relationships to support children’s development and learning.

    • Be able to effectively and appropriately use a variety of assessment tools (including observation, informal, summative, formative, diagnostic, and benchmark) to plan appropriate curriculum for young learners based on a deep level of theoretical understanding.

    • Develop a theoretical understanding of early learning standards, common core, and child development to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful and challenging curricula for each child.

    • Demonstrate qualities of reflective scholar practitioners who engage in a variety of communities of practice to become informed and ethical advocates and leaders in the field of education. Create high performance learning environments for diverse student populations (which include children with disabilities, English language learners, children in poverty, etc.) through aesthetic expression and imagination.