Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 3) Major - Bachelor of Science (BS)

Teachers have a positive and profound impact on future generations unlike any other profession. The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program prepares educators and future leaders of our global society to teach the core subjects (literacy, math, science, and social studies) to young learners (birth through grade 3). Through this rigorous education program, teacher candidates learn how to reach all students with relevant curriculum, utilizing strategies that are geared toward young learners' innate curiosity about the world around them. We collaborate with K-12 schools and early childhood centers to provide multiple practical experiences in classrooms where our teacher candidates learn to differentiate teaching approaches with the end goal of honoring the individuality of all students. Graduates of this program are confident, reflective practitioners who value academically rigorous teaching for all and who continuously improve their skills in response to best practices.

Completion of the Early Childhood Education Program and associated benchmark assessments will lead to endorsement for the following Wisconsin teaching license:

  • Early Childhood - Regular Education, birth - grade 3 (2088).

Students in all teacher education programs must satisfy the School of Education (SOE) core requirements.

Students in all teacher education programs must be admitted to the School of Education in order to complete their program requirements and be eligible for endorsement for the appropriate teaching license(s). Students majoring in early childhood education (birth - grade 3) must meet specific program admission criteria.

Retention and advancement

Teacher candidates may be retained in their teacher education program provided they fulfill the conditions described in the SOE Retention Policy. Students must complete all course requirements and other benchmarks prior to student teaching as described in the Student Teaching and Internship Policy. Additional SOE program requirements, including the culminating assessment of pedagogical knowledge, are described on the SOE catalog page.

All courses required in the Early Childhood Education Program with ECE, EDS, SPE, and TSL prefixes must be passed with a minimum grade of "C" or better.


The Early Childhood Education Program is aligned with Wisconsin Teacher Standards (WTS) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards.

Required general education courses (23 credits)

Besides the courses specified below, early childhood education majors must satisfy additional general education requirements. The General Education Program requires a total of 42 credits.

EDS 203School, Society, and Teachers 1, 93
EDS 206Multicultural Education 2, 93
MTH 115Mathematics for Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers I 32
MTH 116Mathematics for Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers II 32
HIS 110World History 43
GEO 200Conservation of Global Environments 53
Physical science course from the GE Natural Lab Science list 64
English literature course from the GE Humanistic Studies list 73
Total Credits23

Recommended general education courses

PHY 106Physical Science for Educators 64
HED 207Youth Health Issues 83

Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Self and Society (GE Category 6).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Minority Cultures or Multiracial Women's Studies (GE Category 3).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Mathematical/Logical Systems and Modern Languages (GE Category 2). MTH 115 and MTH 116 must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: International and Multicultural Studies, World History (GE Category 4-1).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: International and Multicultural Studies, Global and Multicultural Studies (GE Category 4-2).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Natural Laboratory Science (GE Category 5).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Humanistic Studies (GE Category 7).


Counts toward General Education Program requirement: Health and Physical Well-Being (GE Category 9).

Professional courses not requiring admission to the School of Education (30 credits)

ECE 216Child Development Birth Though Age 8 (Child Development)3
SPE 200Foundations of Special Education 93
TSL 250Educating Multilingual Learners3
EDS 308Foundations of Literacy3
EDS 309Teaching Global Perspectives Across the Curriculum3
EDS 311Curriculum and Pedagogy: Elementary/Middle Education3
EDS 318Literacy Methods I3
ECE 316Early Childhood Administration, Advocacy, and Leadership3
ECE 330Social and Emotional Foundations of Learning3
ECE 335Learning with Nature3
Total Credits30

Professional courses requiring admission to the School of Education (46 credits)

SPE 300Designing Sustainable Inclusive Classrooms3
ECE 435Creative Arts and Play in ECE3
ECE 442Emergent Literacy and Language Development in Young Children3
Pre-field block courses (must be taken concurrently)
ECE 413Teaching Social Studies: Early Childhood/Elementary Education3
ECE 418Literacy Methods II: Early Childhood/Elementary Education3
Field I block courses (must be taken concurrently)
ECE 415Field Experience I in Early Childhood Education: Grades K-3 93
ECE 421Science Methods: Early Childhood/Elementary Education 93
ECE 422Mathematics Methods: Early Childhood/Elementary Education 93
Field II block courses (must be taken concurrently)
ECE 424Curriculum and Assessment for Preschool-Kindergarten 94
ECE 455Field Experience II in Early Childhood Education: Birth-Kindergarten 93
ECE 460School, Family and Community Partnerships 93
Student teaching semester 10
EDS 492Student Teaching Seminar 91
One of the following: 911
Student Teaching: Early Childhood Education (birth-grade 3)
Teaching Internship
Total Credits46

Also satisfies an SOE core requirement.


Must complete all course requirements and other benchmarks prior to student teaching. For more information, please see the Student Teaching and Internship Policy.

Additional teacher education requirements are listed on the School of Education catalog page.

All teacher education students must complete the general education, School of Education, major/minor, and university degree requirements in order to qualify for a degree. The easiest way to track all of these requirements is to refer to the Advisement Report (AR) found in the Student Information System (WINGS) Student Center. All enrolled students have access to the AR.

Baccalaureate degree requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degrees must accomplish the following:

  1. Fulfill the general education requirements.
  2. Complete at least one ethnic studies (diversity) course.
  3. Complete the courses prescribed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for the degree desired in the respective school or college.
  4. Earn a minimum of 120 semester credits with at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA.1, 2
  5. At least 40 credits must be earned in 300/400 level courses. Transfer courses earned or transferred at the 300/400 level apply to this requirement.
  6. Complete major and minor requirements with at least a 2.00 GPA1, 2 in each major and minor (and concentration or emphasis, if selected).
  7. A minimum of 30 semester credits in residence at UWL is required for graduation. (See undergraduate resident requirement.)
  8. Submit an application for graduation via the "Apply for Graduation" link in the WINGS Student Center as soon as the student has registered for his or her final semester or summer term in residence. December and winter intersession graduates should apply by May 1. May and summer graduates should apply by December 1.

Grade point average requirements for some programs will be considerably higher than 2.00. Re-entering students may be required to earn credits in excess of the 120 needed for graduation in any curriculum in order to replace credits earned in courses in which the content has changed substantially in recent years. Each case will be judged on its own merit.


The grade point average recorded at the time the degree is awarded will not be affected by future enrollment.

No degree will be awarded unless all requirements are fulfilled and recorded within 30 days after the official ending date of each term.

Below is a sample degree plan that can be used as a guide to identify courses required to fulfill the major and other requirements needed for degree completion. A student's actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Also, this sample plan assumes readiness for each course and/or major plan, and some courses may not be offered every term. Review the course descriptions or the class timetable for course offering information.

The sample degree plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UWL in the fall term. Students should use the Advisement Report (AR) in WINGS and work closely with their faculty advisor(s) and college dean’s office to ensure declaration and completion of all requirements in a timely manner.

General Education Program
The general education curriculum (Gen Ed) is the common educational experience for all undergraduates at UWL. Sample degree plans include Gen Ed placeholders to ensure completion of the general education requirements. Courses may be rearranged to fit the needs or recommendations of the student’s program of study. Gen Ed courses may be taken during winter term (January between the semesters) and summer to reduce the course load during regular terms (fall and spring). Students should consult with their advisor and/or the college academic services director in their college/school for assistance with course and schedule planning. Refer to the general education requirements for more specific details.

At least 40 credits of the 120 credits required must be earned at the 300/400-level. 

Note: New students and transfer students with less than 12 credits earned are required to take FYS 100 First-Year Seminar (3 cr.) during one of their first two semesters at UWL.

This sample degree plan does not establish a contractual agreement. It identifies the minimum requirements a student must successfully complete, to qualify for a degree, in a format intended to assist the student in planning their academic career. Actual degree plans may differ.

Year 1
ENG 110 or 112 (Gen Ed Literacy-Written)3CST 110 (Gen Ed Literacy-Oral)3
EDS 203 (Gen Ed Self & Society)3EDS 206 (Gen Ed Minority Cultures)3
MTH 115 (Gen Ed Math)2MTH 116 (Gen Ed Math/Lang/Logical Systems)2
FYS 100 (Gen Ed First-Year Seminar)3GEO 200 (Gen Ed Global Studies)3
HIS 110 (Gen Ed World History)3Gen Ed Humanistic Studies (English literature)3
 Gen Ed Arts12-3
 14 16
Year 2
ECE 2163EDS 3113
EDS 3083EDS 3183
EDS 3093TSL 2503
Gen Ed Natural Lab Science (Physical)24ECE 3303
SPE 2003ECE 4423
 Gen Ed Math/Language/Logical Systems43-4
 Apply for admission to School of Education3 
 16 18
Year 3
ECE 3353SPE 3003
ECE 4133ECE 4153
ECE 4183ECE 4213
Gen Ed Arts (not ART)2-3ECE 4223
Gen Ed Health & Well-Being63ECE 4353
Apply for Field Experience I5 Apply for Field Experience II5 
 Apply for Student Teaching6 
 14 15
Year 4
ECE 3163All course requirements and other benchmarks must be completed prior to student teaching.8 
ECE 4244EDS 4921
ECE 4553EDS 49011
ECE 4603 
Elective Course3 
 16 12
Total Credits: 121

ART 302 Visual Language in the Global Classroom (3 cr.) is recommended. 


PHY 106 Physical Science for Educators (4 cr.) is recommended.


See the SOE admissions website for complete admission and application details. Students are required to complete a criminal background check at the time of application for admission.


MTH 215 Mathematics for Middle School Teachers I (2 cr.) and MTH 216 Mathematics for Middle School Teachers II (2 cr.) are recommended.


Students applying for field and student teaching placements will be asked to disclose any criminal charges.


HED 207 Youth Health Issues (3 cr.) is recommended.


Students must apply for student teaching through the Office of Field Experience one year prior to the student teaching semester.


For more information, please see the Student Teaching and Internships Policy.