Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education

Learn strategies to incite children's curiosity and help them meet the development milestones necessary to become lifelong learners.

Four children reading books.

About this Program

The experiences and interactions that children have during early childhood have a lasting impact on their future well-being and success. Early Childhood Educators are essential to providing enriching and nurturing environments that support young children’s creativity, curiosity, love for learning and overall development.

  • Students who pursue the B.A.Ed. in Early Childhood Education learn to become effective early childhood educators who use innovative strategies to lay the foundation for young students' future literacy, problem-solving abilities, social skills, and confidence.
  • Our program is approved for a Birth-K license. Students will be eligible for the Special Education Endorsement once passing the Foundations of Reading Test.  

Graduates of the B.A.Ed. in Early Childhood Education program become professionals in a variety of roles. They go on to teach in public, private, or corporate school settings, childcare centers, early interventionists, or they may become Childcare Center Directors.

As local, state, and national advocates, graduates promote the education and well-being of young children across the country.

On this Page…

    Program Information

    Program Type


    Area of Study



    4 Years


    B.A.Ed. in Early Childhood Education

    Program Location


    Required Credit Hours

    124 Hours

    B.A.Ed. in Early Childhood Education

    The B.A.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is designed to equip students with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for teaching and nurturing young children.

    The B.A. Ed. in Early Childhood Education requires the following courses for a total of 124 hours.

    To complete the B.A. Ed. in Early Childhood Education, students must complete:

    • 6 hours of First Year Writing courses
    • 12 hours of Social/Behavioral Science courses
    • 12-15 hours of Mathematics/Science courses
    • 9 hours of Humanities/ Fine Arts courses
    • 9 hours of General Education courses
    • 73 hours of Professional Education courses

    First Year Writing (6)

    • Writ 101 , Writ 100 OR Hon 101
    • Writ 102, LIBA 102 OR Hon 102

    Social/Behavioral Science (12)

    • SOC OR POL
    • HST (100 level suggested)
    • HST (100 level suggested)
    • GEOG 101 Introduction to Geography

    Mathematics/Science (12-15)

    • MATH 121 (College Algebra) or higher (not to include Math 245 or 246)
    • Physical Science w/lab (Please refer to the Degree Plan for more information)
    • Biological Science w/lab (BISC 110 suggested)
    • Science Elective (lab not required) (Please refer to the Degree Plan for more information)

    Humanities/Fine Arts (9)

    • ENG 220 - 226
    • ENG 220 - 226
    • Fine Arts Elective (AH 101, 102, 201, 202; DANC 200; MUS 102, 103; THEA 201)

    General Education Requirements (9)

    • MATH 245 Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I or MATH 246 Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II
    • EDEC 323 Special Education for Early Childhood Development
    • EDEC 301 Introduction to Early Childhood Education
    • EDEC 324 Early Language and Literacy

    Professional Education Requirements (73)

    • EDRD 355 Early Literacy Instruction I & II*
    • EDSP 308 Intro to Special Education
    • EDEC 326 Socio-Emotional Competencies
    • EDEC 321 Early Childhood Development I*
    • EDCI 352 Education, Society & the K-12 Learner*
    • EDSP 327 Classroom Management and Behavioral Interventions
    • EDSP 407 SPED ED Law & Procedures*
    • EDEC 327 Social Studies in Early Childhood Education
    • EDEC 312 Action Lab ECE Child Guidance/ Classroom*
    • EDCI 353 Planning & Teaching Strategies for Effective Classroom Practice*
    • EDEC 328 Infant & Toddler Development and Program
    • EDSP 410 Strategies for the Inclusive Classroom*
    • CSD 201 Introduction to Communicative Disorders
    • EDEC 304 Action Lab Infant and Toddler Settings*
    • EDSP 335 Assessment for Exceptional Students*
    • EDEC 320 Early Childhood Methods
    • EDEC 400 (STEAM) in Early Childhood Education
    • EDEC 401 Integrating Arts into the Curriculum
    • PPL 363 Early Childhood Policy in the U.S.
    • EDEC 402 Action Lab Placement in ECE Preschool*
    • EDEC 404 Assessment for Early Childhood
    • EDLE 463 Student Teaching: Early Childhood*

    *Denotes all courses that contain field experience.

    Admission to Phase II of the Teacher Education Program

    To be admitted to Phase II students must:

    • Complete the core curriculum and EDCI 352 (minimum grade "C")
    • Minimum GPA of 2.75 on Core
    • Appropriate Praxis Core, SAT, or ACT scores OR overall 3.0 GPA on 60+ hours
    • Must complete education courses with a "C" or better

    Applicants to the program must meet these requirements: 

    • 2.5 grade point average (entry admission for transfer students and change of major) 
    • 2.75 grade point average (admission for Phase II: Teacher Education Program) and appropriate scores on either the ACT, SAT or Praxis CORE* (link to Phase II information is posted above under Program Description) 

    *Praxis Core Exemption: Students are exempt from taking the Praxis CORE exam for admission to Phase II if they:

    • Provide proof of an ACT score of at least a 21 composite (or SAT equivalent; View the SAT Equivalency Scoring sheet for more information) OR 
    • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a minimum of 60 hours of completed coursework 

    Field Experience

    Candidates in the teacher education program begin field placements in their sophomore and/or junior year.

    • These placements are tied to courses and have a minimum number of hours required which candidates fulfill by the end of the semester as stated in the course syllabus.
    • Candidates are paired with Clinical Instructors.

    Course instructors provide guidelines to the candidates as to how the field placement should be completed. University Supervisors are not assigned to these placements.
    METP 101, 102, 201, 202 – 10 hours for each course.

    Courses with Field Experiences

    EDCI 352 – Education, Society, and the K-12 Learner

    (Early Childhood, Elementary, Health and Physical Education, Secondary, and Special Education)

    • Field-based Assignments for EDCI 352: TeachLive Virtual Field Experience

    EDCI 353 - Planning and Teaching Strategies for Effective Classroom Practice. (Early Childhood, Elementary, Health and Physical Education, Secondary, and Special Education)

    • Field-based Assignments for EDCI 353:
      • 25 hours in assigned classroom
      • 1 Scheduled TeachLive scession
      • Prepare a written unit plan
      • Assist the supervising teacher
      • Teach one or more lessons

    EDEC 321 - Child Development Classroom observation(10 hours)paper

    • The students will need to:
      • Observe children in an early childhood education center
      • Record what they observed about the children in each observation (day and time), and
      • Interpret the information they collected in light of what is covered so far in the class. This part of their paper should include a discussion of some aspect of children's development (e.g., social, physical, moral, etc.) is addressed in the readings. Relate their observations to at least one of the theories/concepts/terms that is discussed in class.
      • Reflect on what they learned as they type a brief reflection paper. How is this useful to their understanding of child’s development? How might this information influence their professional practices?

    EDEC 304 Action Lab - Infant and Toddler Settings: Students enrolled in this course will be expected to complete twelve 2-hour fieldwork visits (24 clock hours) to a single infant or toddler classroom.

    EDEC 312 ActionLab - ECE Child Guidance/ ClassroomManagementStudents enrolled in this course will be expected to complete twelve 2- hour fieldwork visits (24 clock hours) to and early childhood development center or preschool.

    EDEC 402 Action Lab Placement in ECE Preschool: Students enrolled in this course will be expected to complete twelve 2-hour fieldwork visits (24 clock hours) to an early childhood development center or preschool.

    Please note that EDEC 304, EDEC 312, are EDEC 402 are action lab classes that consist of twelve 2-hour fieldwork visits (24 clock hours) total for the courses taken for that semester.

    EDRD 355 - Early Literacy Instruction (Early Childhood, Elementary & Special Education)

    • Field-based Assignments for EDRD 355:
      • 16 hours in the classroom
      • Focused literacy observation as designated and planned by the course instructor

    EDRD 400 - Reading Instruction (Elementary and Special Education)

    • Field-based Assignments for EDRD 400:
      • 5 hours in the classroom
      • Comprehension strategy lesson plan implementation

    EDSP 317 - Action Lab Seminar (Special Education Junior year second semester)

    • Field-based Assignments for EDSP 335:
      • 10 hours in classroom
      • Observation
      • Journal Reflections
    • Field-based Assignments for EDSP 403:
      • 20 hours in the classroom
      • Observation
      • Behavior Change Project

    EDSP 327 - Classroom and Behavior Management (Early Childhood, Elementary, Health and Physical Education, Secondary, and Special Education)

    • Field-based Assignments for EDSP 327:
      • 10 hours designed by course instructor (Note:15 hours for Honors/METP)

    EDSP 329 - Nature/Needs of Student with Severe Disabilities (Special Education)

    • Field-based Assignments for EDSP 329:
      • 10 hours in classroom
      • Observation
      • Journal Reflections
    EDSP 407 – Special Education Law & Procedures (Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education)
    • Field-based Assignments for EDSP 407:
      • 5 hours in classroom
      • Observation
      • Teacher Interview

    EDSP 410 - Effective Instruction for Teaching in Inclusive Settings (Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education) – this moves to EDSP 452 for SPED Majors

    • Field-based Assignments for EDSP 410:
      • 10 hours in classroom (elementary majors)
      • Observation
      • Unit Planning and Implementation

    Yearlong Internship and Senior Practicum

    All teacher education candidates in the elementary, health and physical education, secondary, and special education programs are placed in one location during the senior year.

    • The yearlong internship consists of senior practicum and student teaching.
    • Candidates are paired with the same Clinical Instructor for the entire senior year.

    All senior yearlong placements are overseen by a University Supervisor and are based on the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium Standards (InTASC) and Special Professional Association (SPA) Standards.

    Senior Practicum - Early Childhood

    During the first semester of an early childhood education teacher candidate’s senior year, the candidates will participate in EDEC 304 Action Lab - Infant and Toddler Settings, which includes twelve 2-hour fieldwork visits (24 clock hours) to a single infant or toddler classroom.

    • Candidates will also attend university classes as scheduled each week (EDSP 410, EDEC 328, EDEC 400, EDEC 401, and PPL 363).

    Student Teaching

    Student teaching in the State of Mississippi, as required by law, must be a full-time assignment for a minimum of twelve weeks. In the teacher education program described below, teacher education candidates are assigned to public schools for one full semester, which exceeds the minimum time required by law. Teacher education candidates will be working with a selected Clinical Instructor five days-a-week and will receive 9 hours credit for the student teaching experience.

    Except for music education majors, placement for student teaching is in the same classroom as for senior practicum. Candidates majoring in elementary education are placed in grades K-6, and candidates majoring in secondary education are placed in grades 7-12. Candidates majoring in special education and music education are placed in grades K- 12. All junior and senior placements are coordinated through the SAFE office to ensure that candidates have diverse experiences throughout their teacher education program.

    Only in extreme circumstances will a student teaching placement other than those listed above be considered. Candidates must submit to the SAFE office a written request, detailing reasons for the request, for placement exceptions six weeks prior to student teaching.

    All candidates must enroll in EDCI 419 Classroom Assessment simultaneously with student teaching.

    Requirements for Student Teaching

    In order to be admitted to student teaching, a candidate must meet the following requirements:

    • Admission to the Phase II: Professional EducationCore

    • A minimum grade of “C” in professional education courses. If this minimum of “C” is not met, the course(s) must be retaken before enrolling in the next level of professional education courses

    • A minimum grade of “C” in content and related fields (secondary majors) and general education courses (early childhood, elementary, health and physical education, and special education majors).

    • Completion of all core and professional education courses

    • Completion of teaching and field experience courses (content and related field experiences courses). Completion of 15 hours in residency at The University of Mississippi (includes Tupelo, Desoto, Grenada, and Booneville campus centers). Note: Completion of 30 hours in residency is required for graduation

    • Completion of courses taken by correspondence for admission to student teaching (grade must be on file prior to admission)

    • Evidence of professional liability insurance

    • Evidence of a successful background check

    • During the student teaching semester candidates are required to enroll in 9 semester hours of student teaching and 3 hours of classroom management (EDCI 419). Only one additional (3-4 hour) elective course is allowed, restricting students to a maximum of 15-16 hours during the student teaching semester. This maximum number of hours may not include courses in the general or content related fields.

    Hands-On Experience

    Young boy examines an illuminated art display.
    Two children complete an experiment.

    Receive Practical Experience in a NAEYC-Accredited Lab School

    Our students don't solely rely upon case studies and textbook scenarios; they pursue practical experiences and research at the NAEYC-accredited Willie Price Lab School. WPLS is one of the 10% of child care centers, preschools, and kindergartens to receive this national recognition.


    Learn about NAEYC Standards

    Did You Know?


    in Mississippi for licensure preparation and first-year pass rates.


    undergraduate scholarships are awarded each year.

    Kenya Elizabeth Wolff

    Want to learn more?

    We're glad your interested in our program! If you'd like to chat or just need more information, don't hesitate to reach out.

    Kenya Elizabeth Wolff

    Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education

    Next Steps

    Explore Affordability

    We have a variety of scholarships and financial aid options to help make college more affordable for you and your family.

    Apply to the University of Mississippi

    Are you ready to take the next step toward building your legacy?