Kennesaw State to offer bachelor’s degree in birth-to-5 education
Board of Regents approves new major for early childhood teachers
Kennesaw, Ga. (April 21, 2010)…
(Apr 21, 2010) — Board of Regents approves new major for early childhood teachers
Kennesaw, Ga. (April 21, 2010) – 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
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.”
Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more
than 71 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education,
business, nursing and international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University
System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with
a growing population of more than 22,300 students from 142 countries.
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.