The School of Education offers two add-on licensure tracks in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support, (1) Birth through Kindergarten (Birth-K) and (2) Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K). Prerequisites for admission into the add-on licensure programs include a N.C. teaching license in another area and professional experience with young children.
The add-on licensure program prepares the experienced early childhood professional with leadership skills in developing and implementing inclusive programs for infants/toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners with and without developmental delays. The program is based on several philosophical assumptions about recommended practice with young children and families.
The first of these assumptions is that early childhood intervention must be viewed from an ecological perspective. The child is an individual developing within a broad ecology including families, professionals, and communities. This view means that early childhood professionals will need to work with children in the context of this ecology, and will need skills related to working with professionals and agencies from disciplines other than education.
The second assumption underlying the program is that early childhood intervention should be family centered. Thus, the early childhood professional's role is to strengthen and support the family as they seek community based services for their young children in their natural environments.
The third assumption is that early childhood services should be inclusive. In other words, all children with and without developmental disabilities should be placed in community settings that are as natural as possible, based on family choice. Thus, the early childhood professional needs skills to facilitate the successful inclusion of young children with developmental disabilities in developmentally and culturally appropriate early childhood settings. The early childhood professional must promote developmentally, individually, and culturally appropriate assessment and instructional practices for all young children in their natural learning environments.
Finally, early childhood intervention is an interdisciplinary endeavor. Training programs ought to prepare professionals to work collaboratively on teams with parents and professionals from a variety of disciplines and agencies. All course work, research, and field experiences incorporate the above dimensions.
The program assumes that all early childhood programs should work toward the attainment of 5 broad goals in improving young children's and families' quality of life.
Those goals are:
- Support families in facilitating their young children's development
- Promote child initiated learning opportunities in natural learning environments
- Build and support children's social competence and early literacy development
- Promote developmentally, individually, and culturally appropriate practices
- Prevent the emergence of future learning problems or disabilities