You already know you’re wired to empower young children. You’re meant to help them reach new heights. You know it won’t be easy, but you want to build your career providing children and their families with the services they need.
But first, you need to find an ECE program that shares the same passion you do; one that can properly equip you to carry out your mission to support young students. ECE is a field that touches so many minds and hearts—and it’s certainly not an easy path. You need a program that affirms you’re tough enough. You need a program that inspires your mind and your heart. And if you’re wondering if Wheelock College could be that perfect match, you came to the right place.
After all, not all early childhood education (ECE) programs are created equally. But neither are all early childhood educators.
We compiled some fascinating facts about the highly-respected early childhood education programs at Wheelock College. Keep reading to determine if this could be the program to prepare you for your future as an early childhood educator.
What you need to know about early childhood education at Wheelock College
1. Top-notch reputation
Wheelock College’s long-standing reputation as a top early childhood education program is a major draw for students to the college, especially for those hoping to evoke a lifetime of positive change in the world. With the institution’s commitment to advocating for children and families, Wheelock educates students to be catalysts for change to help strengthen social systems.
It’s clear to see the regard for Wheelock’s ECE programs; it’s the only higher education institution in Massachusetts to obtain accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). It’s also recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
These accolades mean you can be confident your ECE training from Wheelock College will not only be of high-quality and consistency, but it will be highly regarded and recognized as one of the bests.
2. Grounded in social justice
At Wheelock College, social justice isn’t just a lesson covered – it’s foundational! Other programs might cover multicultural education and call it a day. But all Wheelock ECE students take a racial and cultural identities prerequisite course, which helps lay the groundwork for enhancing cultural competency.
Interesting courses like “Creating Welcoming Environments for LGBT Families in Education and Human Services” will build your inclusivity. The ECE programs will arm you with anti-bias curriculum in an effort to help children gain awareness of diversity, activism and unfairness at an early age. It’s just another touch of the Wheelock College mission of integrity, multiculturalism, diversity and social justice.
3. Flexible degree options
Wheelock College’s ECE programs span both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including a flexible dual degree option for those wanting both degrees.
Unlike most dual degree programs, students in the ECE bachelor’s degree program aren’t required to declare their intent to pursue a master’s degree upfront. You have until the fall of your senior year to decide if you’d like to add a fifth year to your tenure, allowing you to obtain your master’s in early childhood education in addition to your bachelor’s degree. You can even begin to dive into your graduate courses before you receive your undergraduate diploma, saving you time and money in the long run.
Students who choose to continue working towards their master’s degree in ECE don’t have to necessarily continue right into the program either—you can apply and defer, gain a year’s worth of experience in the field, and then come back to the classroom to continue your education.
4. Small and intimate
Don’t fear being just another face lost in an unending lecture hall. The ECE classes at Wheelock College are intentionally kept small so every student gets the attention they need. The undergraduate classes typically house 15 students and graduate classes generally don’t exceed 20 students.
Wheelock believes in maintaining intimate class settings to allow students to each receive the support and individual attention they need to flourish. Because both the college itself and its classes are small, you’ll find you are able to develop close relationships with your professors and classmates.
5. Practiced in the field
Every single faculty member in the ECE department at Wheelock College has professional experience working in the field. What’s more is that many are continuing to work in the field currently. Instructors have experience in areas such as international ECE, professional development and consulting agencies. Others have advocated for ECE at the state level, collaborating and creating policies to be implemented statewide.
“There are no ivory tower people here—we’re practitioners,” says Ellie Friedland, associate professor of early childhood education at Wheelock College. “We always emphasize the application of theory and practice. We’re teachers first and foremost.”
6. Field experience is priority
Wheelock College’s ECE programs recognize the intrinsic value of hands-on experience in the field. This is why they go above and beyond to get their students as much time in the ECE classroom as possible. In fact, Wheelock programs exceed the Massachusetts state minimum hours required for student teaching. You’ll have multiple field experiences, starting right away in your first semester.
“Student teaching and field work are primary parts of our program,” says Karen Murphy, associate professor of early childhood education at Wheelock College. By allowing you more hands-on opportunities in real ECE classrooms, you’ll have a chance to immediately apply your knowledge and learn from your experiences. Every classroom will have its own unique makeup, so having multiple opportunities to acquire practical experience will help you to deepen and refine your newfound skills.
7. Full-time faculty support in the field
Not only will you be pushed to excel through multiple student teaching opportunities, but the academic support you’ll receive throughout these experiences will be fully backed by full-time faculty. These faculty members will provide you support by visiting you in your student teaching classrooms. This is a rarity in other ECE programs, where supervision is almost always conducted by adjunct faculty.
8. Hands-on curriculum
The ECE programs at Wheelock College are designed to model a structure you can successfully incorporate in your own classroom one day. This means courses are designed to be engaging and interactive, with full-group discussions and hands-on activities.
“Our courses are intentionally very interactive because we’re modeling the kind of pedagogy we hope our students will use with their own students someday,” Murphy says.
Do you have what it takes?
The world needs more people like you who are tough enough to commit their lives to empowering young children and families. You feel called to act; to be the one to elicit positive change in your community. You’re precisely the type of student that Wheelock College was made to serve – so what are you waiting for?