Early Childhood Education Major
Offered by the Education department.

This major is only granted in conjunction with another Wheaton major. Students must consult the early childhood program coordinators for guidance regarding courses required for the Massachusetts initial teaching license. This license can be converted into a license valid in other states by contacting the respective state department of education.

Eligibility for EDUC 495/EDUC 496 requires a CGPA of 2.67 (classes of ’20, ’21 and ’22) or CGPA of 3.0 (class of ’23 and beyond), a B- or better in EDUC 230, EDUC 385 and EDUC 390, a 40-hour fieldwork experience in a setting with diverse learners, passing scores on the reading and writing subtests of the MTEL Communication and Literacy exam, passing scores on the MTEL Early Childhood Subject exam and MTEL Foundations of Reading exam, and good social standing according to the Dean of Students with no conduct hearings pending.  Students must also demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Wheaton Education Department, promise of fulfilling all Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers, including the Professional Culture standard (which must be demonstrated by behavior such as, but not limited to, appropriate professional communication and appropriate professional conduct with classmates, students, fieldwork supervisors, community members, and faculty).

The early childhood education program coordinators may grant waivers authorizing students to take alternative courses. These waivers are granted when students have taken a similar Wheaton course or a similar course at another institution. In extraordinary circumstances, the coordinator may grant waivers based on reading lists or assignments completed in multiple courses. Waivers may be granted for foundation courses or subject-matter courses, but not for EDUC385, EDUC390 or EDUC495/EDUC496. Ordinarily, coordinators will grant no more than two waivers per student (exceptions are made for students who take relevant courses abroad).

Major requirements in early childhood education

A student must complete the prepracticum and the practicum. The prepracticum consists of courses and experiences specifically designed to meet the licensure standards. The practicum involves full-time student teaching and practice in the role of a classroom teacher at cooperating schools.

Early Childhood Education major worksheet for classes ’23 and beyond

Early Childhood Education major worksheet for classes of ’20, ’21 and ’22

Pre-Practicum Core Courses
(9 courses, 9 credits)

One course from the following:
EDUC 240 Multiple Perspectives on Literacy
EDUC 250 Schooling in America
EDUC 260 Teaching and Learning

Following courses:
MATH 133 Mathematical Concepts
EDUC 251 Special Education
ENG 286 Children’s Literature
PSY 203 Child Development (Developmental Psychology)
EDUC 230 Teaching English Learners
EDUC 375 Issues in Early Care and Education
EDUC 385 Teaching Math and Science
EDUC 390 Teaching Reading and Language Arts

Practicum/Capstone Courses
(Senior year, second semester) (2 courses, 3.5 credits)

EDUC 496 Practicum in Early Childhood Teaching (2.5 credits)
EDUC 495 Seminar in Early Childhood Teaching Methods (1 credit)

State Mandated Distribution Courses
(minimum 5 courses, 5 credits)

At least one Psychology course and psy203

At least one Science course

Two U.S. History or Political Science courses

At least one Arts, Physical Education or Health course


A student must complete a minimum of 20 hours of classroom observation, tutoring and teacher assisting in each of two prepracticum courses. Licensure regulations are determined by the state of Massachusetts; thus, students must stay abreast of possible changes.

Practicum requirements

During the senior year, a student will complete a semester-long two-and-one-half-credit student teaching practicum plus a one-credit seminar in teaching methods. While student teaching, Wheaton students will intern at the cooperating schools for the entire school day and will follow the public school calendar. Students may take only one additional Wheaton credit during the semester and this must be fulfilled after the regular school hours. A student must notify the department chair of any incomplete grade from the previous semester. An incomplete may disqualify the student from admission to the practicum. One hundred hours of practicum must be completed at the Pre-K through kindergarten level and 200 hours at the 1-2 level. One setting must be an inclusion classroom.

Arts, sciences and humanities distribution course work in the field of early childhood education

A student must also take approximately nine courses equivalent to 36 semester hours of credit in the following areas: psychological foundations, children’s literature, the sciences, mathematics and the social sciences. These requirements are normally met by careful selection of liberal arts courses that fulfill Wheaton’s general distribution requirements. Consult the departmental coordinators for a list of courses that are especially recommended. Specifically, students are also required to take Concepts of Math (MATH 133) to fulfill their mathematics requirement, unless a waiver is granted by the Mathematics Department. Licensure regulations are determined by the state of Massachusetts; thus, students must stay abreast of possible changes.