2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Dec 04, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Early Childhood Education (B.S.) - Birth to 8 Specialization

Location(s): Brookings Main Campus

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Program Coordinator/Contact

Mary Bowne, Professor/ECE Coordinator
School of Education, Counseling and Human Development
Pugsley Hall 139

Program Information

This program prepares professionals who work in educational settings with children in order to promote their cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development. Program content includes the theory and practice of working with children and their families and communities. In addition to being prepared to work in early childhood settings such as Head Start, preschools, and child care centers, those who successfully complete this specialization meet the requirements for a South Dakota Birth to age 8 Early Childhood teaching certificate which enables them to teach grades K-3. Complete two student teaching experiences, one in a Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom and another in a first, second, or third grade classroom.

Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure


Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
South Dakota Department of Education

Certification and Licensure

  • Completion of an approved bachelor’s Early Childhood Education Birth – Age 8 preparation program.
  • Completion of an approved South Dakota Indian studies course.
  • Pass the state designated content knowledge test.
  • Pass the state designated pedagogy test.
  • Completion of a Suicide Awareness and Prevention training, available free online through the South Dakota Department of Education.
  • Apply online with the South Dakota Department of Education.
  • Written recommendation from institution of higher education (SDSU) verifying program completion.

Course Delivery Format

Courses in Early Childhood Education are delivered face to face, online and hybrid (face to face and online combination). All ECE courses have practical applications in field experience settings in childcare and Pre-K-Grade 3.

Student Learning Outcomes

Early Childhood Education follows student learning outcomes as outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Standard 1. Child Development and Learning in Context

1a: Understand the developmental period of early childhood from birth through age 8 across physical, cognitive, social and emotional, and linguistic domains, including bilingual/multilingual development.

1b: Understand and value each child as an individual with unique developmental variations, experiences, strengths, interests, abilities, challenges, approaches to learning, and with the capacity to make choices.

1c: Understand the ways that child development and the learning process occur in multiple contexts, including family, culture, language, community, and early learning setting, as well as in a larger societal context that includes structural inequities.

1d: Use this multidimensional knowledge—that is, knowledge about the developmental period of early childhood, about individual children, and about development and learning in cultural contexts—to make evidence-based decisions that support each child.

Standard 2. Family-Teacher Partnerships and Community Connections

2a: Know about, understand, and value the diversity of families.

2b: Collaborate as partners with families in young children’s development and learning through respectful, reciprocal relationships and engagement.

2c: Use community resources to support young children’s learning and development and to support families, and build partnerships between early learning settings, schools, and community organizations and agencies.

Standard 3. Child Observation, Documentation, and Assessment

3a: Understand that assessments (formal and informal, formative and summative) are conducted to make informed choices about instruction and for planning in early learning settings.

3b: Know a wide range of types of assessments, their purposes, and their associated methods and tools.

3c: Use screening and assessment tools in ways that are ethically grounded and developmentally, ability, culturally, and linguistically appropriate in order to document developmental progress and promote positive outcomes for each child.

3d: Build assessment partnerships with families and professional colleagues.

Standard 4. Developmentally, Culturally, and Linguistically Appropriate Teaching Practices

4a: Understand and demonstrate positive, caring, supportive relationships and interactions as the foundation of early childhood educators’ work with young children.

4b: Understand and use teaching skills that are responsive to the learning trajectories of young children and to the needs of each child, recognizing that differentiating instruction, incorporating play as a core teaching practice, and supporting the development of executive function skills are critical for young children.

4c: Use a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically relevant, anti-bias, evidence-based teaching skills and strategies that reflect the principles of universal design for learning.

Standard 5. Knowledge, Application, and Integration of Academic Content in the Early Childhood Curriculum

5a: Understand content knowledge— the central concepts, methods and tools of inquiry, and structure—and resources for the academic disciplines in an early childhood curriculum.

5b: Understand pedagogical content knowledge—how young children learn in each discipline—and how to use the teacher knowledge and practices described in Standards 1 through 4 to support young children’s learning in each content area.

5c: Modify teaching practices by applying, expanding, integrating, and updating their content knowledge in the disciplines, their knowledge of curriculum content resources, and their pedagogical content knowledge.

Standard 6. Professionalism as an Early Childhood Educator

6a: Identify and involve themselves with the early childhood field and serve as informed advocates for young children, families, and the profession.

6b: Know about and uphold ethical and other early childhood professional guidelines.

6c: Use professional communication skills, including technology-mediated strategies, to effectively support young children’s learning and development and to work with families and colleagues.

6d: Engage in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice.

6e: Develop and sustain the habit of reflective and intentional practice in their daily work with young children and as members of the early childhood profession.

Academic Requirements

  • Entry into the major academic courses in all ECE program tracks include passing scores in Praxis I: Core Reading (140), Writing (150), and Math (132). Students will work their academic advisor for registering for the Praxis exams.
  • A grade of “C” or better is required in CMST 101 ENGL 101 PSYC 101 , and MATH 103  or higher, and all courses for the major (classes with school/program prefix).
  • An overall GPA of 2.5 is required to enroll in any education courses.

Requirements for Early Childhood Education Major - Birth to 8 Specialization: 120 Credits

Bachelor of Science

College of Education and Human Sciences Requirements


Taken as needed to complete any additional degree requirements.

Total Required Credits: 120


  • Entry into the major academic courses in all ECE program tracks include passing scores in Praxis I: Core Reading (140), Writing (150), and Math (132). Students will work their academic advisor for registering for the Praxis exams.                                                           
  • A pre-graduate check is required 2 semesters before graduation semester. At beginning of graduation semester, a graduation application must be completed.
  • A grade of “C” or better is required in PSYC 101 , ENGL 101 , CMST 101 , MATH 103 , and all major courses with an EDFN, HDFS or ECE prefix.
  • Students must meet all GPA Requirements (2.6 for graduation, 2.8 in major courses including ECE, HDFS, and EDFN) and be accepted into the ECE Teacher Education program/ECE-PSI and ECE-PS II.
  • Students will be required to pass the PRAXIS content and Principles of Teaching and Learning exams in order to be considered a Highly Qualified Teacher.

Summary of Program Requirements

Bachelor of Science

System General Education Requirements* 31 Credit Hours
College of Education and Human Sciences Requirements 4 Credit Hours
Major Requirements 60 Credit Hours
Supporting Coursework 25-26 Credit Hours
Electives** 0 Credit Hours

*System General Education Requirements for students pursuing a baccalaureate degree shall include a minimum of 30 credit hours. Some general education coursework may be counted for Major Requirements and Supporting Coursework.
**Taken as needed to complete any additional degree requirements.

Academic Advising Guide Sheet

The goal of the academic advising guide sheets and sample plans of study is to promote undergraduate student success by guiding all students to timely completion of an undergraduate degree. Students are not limited to the course sequence provided for their academic program. Instead, the sample plan of study is one possible path to completing your degree and is meant to be used as a guide for planning purposes in consultation with an academic advisor. The plans also help students prepare for meetings with their academic advisor and track their progress in their selected academic program.