Program Details

Early Childhood Unified (Initial) Program

Department of Curriculum and Instruction


The undergraduate Early Childhood Unified (ECU) Program requires 42-45 general education credits, 65 required credits from the Elementary Education program, and 30 required credits from the ECU program for a total of 137 - 139 credit hours..  Students take ECU courses along with the Elementary education courses. After an introductory semester (Core 1), ECU students begin with a course in the foundations of ECU, and follow with several courses in instructional strategies, assessment, and management.  Students will also have two practicum courses in both and infant/toddler environment and a preschool environment in addition to those required in the elementary education program. 

Students completing this program will be eligible for two initial licenses.  Upon completion of all courses and program assessments, graduates will be eligible to apply for both the elementary teaching license (K-6, general education) and the Early Childhood Unified License (Birth-grade 3, general and special education).

The completed packet should be submitted to Education Support Services (ESS) the semester before beginning the Teacher Education Program.

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Program Outline

The Early Childhood Unified (ECU) Program is designed to prepare teachers of young children (birth through grade 3). The ECU program develops reflective practitioners who possess theoretical and practical developmental, educational, communicative, collaborative, and family- and child-centered skills. The ECU Program's advisory committee provides continual guidance to the program to assure that all candidates graduate with the belief that:

  • (a) all young children, birth through grade 3 (i.e., children with and without exceptionalities, at every socioeconomic level, from all cultures) are competent, creative and curious learners;
  • (b) working with, understanding, and respecting families is a critical component of working with young children;
  • (c) development and education are focused for each individual child in terms of the child's relation with the family, other children, teachers, the school community and society at large;
  • (d) children must learn through both constructing their own knowledge and by direct instruction;
  • (e) the unique needs of all young children must be met; and
  • (f) programs and services provided are based on law, and scientifically- and evidence-based practices.