KSU to offer new education degree

early childhood education 0451-061.jpg

Board of Regents approves new major for early childhood teachers   By Sabbaye McGriff…

Georgia (Apr 21, 2010)

Board of Regents approves new major for early childhood teachers
By Sabbaye McGriff
 Kennesaw State University’s Bagwell College of Education will offer a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education-Birth through Five, responding to an increasing need for professionally prepared teachers to work with the state’s youngest learners.    
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) approved the new degree at its April 21 meeting. 
The new program, which will launch in fall 2010, expands KSU’s early childhood education degree program beyond the current emphasis on preparing teachers for pre-K through fifth grade.  
Kennesaw State’s Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, the USG’s largest producer of elementary teachers, has more than 2,000 undergraduate majors and more than 100 majors at the master’s, specialist and doctoral levels. The university joins three other USG institutions offering early childhood degrees designed to prepare teachers to work with infants, toddlers and children 3 to 5 years old. 
In keeping with the university’s emphasis on global education, KSU’s new Birth-through-Five program will include a focus on second language acquisition and working with children whose native language is not English. It also will provide a track for those seeking certification in Montessori education. 
“We are excited about this unique new degree program that is a timely response to the state’s efforts to get children off to a better start,” said Lendley C. Black, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “With KSU’s proven track record of educating outstanding teachers, this is a very significant step towards the university’s mission of preparing teachers at all levels within Georgia’s education spectrum.” 
Higher teacher education standards for the state’s children birth to age 5 evolved from the recommendations of national early childhood accrediting organizations — the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Council for Exceptional Children and the Association for Childhood Education International among them.
As a result, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) in 2004 announced a new certification for early childhood educators in Georgia. Previously, those working with infants and toddlers in childcare centers and Head Start programs required only a high-school diploma and a Child Development Association (CDA) credential, achieved largely through on-the-job professional development. 
KSU new degree program will support teacher candidates who come to Kennesaw State from Head Start programs, technical colleges, those who have achieved CDA credentials and others seeking to qualify for the PSC’s Birth Though Five teaching certificate. The curriculum consists of 126 academic hours, including four existing early childhood courses, 11 newly designed courses and 12 hours of student teaching. 
“We’ve taken our time to develop an approach that delivers the highest quality of instruction for teaching children at this very critical stage of development, using multiple delivery formats, best practices and the latest technology,” said Arlinda Eaton, dean of the Bagwell College of Education.
According to a 2009 USG report on new teacher preparation, fewer than 2 percent of teachers in Georgia are professionally certified to teach children from birth to 5 years. Both the state’s early childhood department and the USG have worked towards new standards for the care and education of very young children.
In 2004, Georgia replaced and expanded the Office of School Readiness with a comprehensive department called Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Leaning, which oversees all child care and education programs for children birth to five years. KSU’s Confucius Institute partners with Bright from the Start to provide Chinese language instruction to pre-K students at lottery-funded centers throughout the state. 
 “KSU is uniquely positioned with this Birth-to-Five degree program,” said Provost Black. “It builds on the impetus within the state for improvements in education for very young learners, while it emphasizes second language acquisition at a very early age and recognizes the cultural and linguistic diversity resulting from demographic shifts occurring in Georgia.”


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu