Do you have a love for young children? Are you interested in teaching preschool, working with families or with early intervention programs?

The birth through kindergarten teacher education program at East Carolina University explores the careers of those who care for and teach young children. Students within the BK program work with all young children, including those who are at risk and/or have disabilities. There are many career outlets that follow a BS in birth through kindergarten including the public school system, other education centers, and early intervention facilities. Students who attend East Carolina University in pursuit of a BK degree find that they are well prepared for their future careers as they undergo extensive training and course work to achieve their goals.

At East Carolina, the birth through kindergarten program can be accessed on campus as well as online for those who wish to be considered distance education students. As a student in the birth through kindergarten teacher education program, you will be exposed to real-world situations through hands-on experience to better prepare you for a career in the field.

You will learn first-hand how to care for children by learning and training in the Nancy M. Darden Child Development Center, a fully operating preschool designed to equip our students for a career in early child development. Students in the online program complete hands-on experience in centers and schools near their hometown. Before graduating, you will complete a yearlong student teaching internship in a preschool or kindergarten setting. Doing so will give you a taste of the exciting career path that you will embark on upon graduating from East Carolina.

ECU Advantage

East Carolina University provides its birth through kindergarten teacher education students with state-of-the-art facilities, classes that are interactive and essential for future careers, and a faculty that is more than willing to help you succeed.

Recent BK graduates are teaching in NC pre-K, kindergarten, and exceptional children pre-K classrooms across the state. Other alumni have gone on to open their own child-care centers, become program administrators, or have returned to complete their MAEd in BK.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Barbara Brehm (120-W Rivers Building; 252-328-1322; brehmb@ecu.edu)

Freshmen may declare birth through kindergarten (BK) teacher education as their major. Transfer students must have completed at least 12 s.h. at East Carolina University with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 to declare. Prior to enrolling in selected courses, all BK majors must be admitted to the Upper Division of Teacher Education. Requirements for admission to upper division include, but are not limited to, satisfactory scores on all parts of PRAXIS Core, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7, and demonstration of computer competency. In addition, BK majors must achieve a minimum grade of C (2.0) in all courses required for the major. Students earning less than a C (2.0) in a prerequisite major course must repeat the course before the subsequent upper-level course may be taken.

A semester-long internship is the culminating experience for BK Teacher Education majors. Applications for admission to internship (HDFS 4324, 4325) must be submitted to the internship coordinator one year prior to the semester in which the student will complete internship requirements. Prior to internship, BK majors must have completed the following courses with a minimum grade of C (2.0): HDFS 1103, 2000, 2001, 2123, 2124, 3150, 3306, 3321, 4121, 4122, 4123, 4200, 4201, 4300, 4320; EDTC 4001; EDUC 3002, 3200, 4400; READ 3301; SPED 2000. Students who successfully complete all requirements and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 are recommended for BK licensure. A minimum grade of C (2.0) in internship is required for licensure. Additional information about upper division, internship, and NC teacher licensure can be found in the College of Education section of this catalog and in the handbook, Welcome to Teacher Education.

The birth through kindergarten (BK) teacher education program is offered both on-campus and online. Online delivery is designed as a 2 + 2 degree-completion program that is administered in cohorts. To be admitted to a distance education (DE) cohort, individuals must first be admitted to ECU and contact the DE coordinator for admission to the BS BK DE cohort. Criteria for admission to the BS BK DE cohort include completion of all general education requirements, passing scores on all parts of PRAXIS Core (or designated SAT or ACT scores,) computer competency, and reliable Internet access. The BS in BK teacher education program requires on-campus attendance for orientation, admission to upper division interviews, and senior-year internship seminars.

Minimum degree requirement is 120 s.h. of credit as follows:

1. General education requirements including those listed below - 40 s.h.

(For information about courses that carry general education credit see General Education Program.)

  • MATH 1065 - College Algebra or
  • MATH 2127 - Basic Concepts of Mathematics

  • PSYC 1000 - Introductory Psychology
  • Choose a biological science (GE:SC)
  • Choose a history course (GE:SO)
  • Choose a literature course (except children's literature) (GE:HU)
  • Choose a physical science (GE:SC)
2. Professional studies - 32 s.h.
  • HDFS 2123 - Early Experience in Birth through Kindergarten Education
  • HDFS 4123 - Learning Environments and Teaching Methods in Early Childhood Education
  • HDFS 4324 - Internship in Birth Through Kindergarten Education
  • HDFS 4325 - Internship Seminar: Issues in Birth-Kindergarten Education
  • EDTC 4001 - Technology in Education
  • EDUC 3002 - Introduction to Diversity
  • EDUC 3200 - Foundations of American Education
  • EDUC 4400 - Foundations of School Learning, Motivation, and Assessment
  • READ 3301 - Reading Instruction in the Primary Grades
  • SPED 2000 - Introduction to Exceptional Children
3. Specialty area studies - 45 s.h.
  • HDFS 1103 - Marriage and Family Relations
  • HDFS 2000 - Child Development I: Prenatal Through Early Childhood
  • HDFS 2001 - Child Development II: Middle Childhood Through Young Adulthood
  • HDFS 2124 - Interaction Techniques for Working with Young Children
  • HDFS 3150 - Introduction to Early Childhood Intervention
  • HDFS 3306 - Guiding Children's Behavior
  • HDFS 3321 - Infant and Toddler Curriculum
  • HDFS 3715 - Global Perspectives in Early Childhood
  • HDFS 4121 - Social Studies, Math, and Science Curriculum in Early Childhood
  • HDFS 4122 - Language and Literacy Curriculum in Early Childhood
  • HDFS 4200 - Assessing Development and Learning in the Early Childhood Classroom
  • HDFS 4201 - Assessment for Intervention
  • HDFS 4300 - Birth through Kindergarten Curriculum Adaptations for Diverse Learners
  • HDFS 4320 - Practicum in Teaching Birth-Kindergarten in the Public Schools
  • HDFS 4406 - Parent-Professional Collaboration
  • HDFS 4408 - Administration of Programs for Young Children
4. Advisor approved electives to complete requirements for graduation.
    For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

    Careers With This Degree

    Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

    • Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching
    • Preschool and Kindergarten Teachers
    • Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching

    Career Opportunities

    ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

    NC Tower

    This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

    • Self-employed;
    • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
    • Work outside of North Carolina.

    US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

    This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

    Degree-specific internships

    For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.