MacEwan University’s Faculty of Health and Community Studies is launching a new Bachelor of Early Childhood Curriculum Studies (BECCS) program.
Early childhood educators foster our youngest citizens’ growing sense of identity and well-being through play-based learning. Students in the BECCS program will learn about the unique curriculum needs of early childhood learning as they develop a deep understanding of Flight: Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework, which guides the work of educators of young children (from birth to age six).
“This degree’s focus on curriculum and pedagogy is what makes it unique,” says Tricia Lirette, chair of the Department of Human Services and Early Learning. “The university’s involvement in researching and building Flight has created momentum in the field, and we are seeing new kinds of positions for people who have a firm grounding in the framework and who can support educators who work directly with children.”
Students in the new degree program will experience curriculum in action while learning with and from children and educators at Early Learning at MacEwan, the university’s on-site early learning and child care centre, and through field placements and a fourth-year internship in the community. Throughout the program, students will also focus on issues of equity and social justice, preparing them to advocate for children and their families.
“Research over the past 40 years tells us that there is a direct connection between well-prepared early childhood educators and the quality of programs that children and their families receive,” says Tricia. “If we want higher quality early learning programs, the lever we can most easily move is in preparing educators in ways that allow them to deliver programs that set children up to be successful.”
Graduates will fill a range of existing and emerging professional roles in the field of early learning, including positions as curriculum facilitators and leaders in child care centres, preschools, school-age care programs, family support programs and early intervention, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs.
“This new degree is crucial,” says Nicki Dublenko, vice-chair of the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta. “It not only builds capacity for educators in our province, it will also set the bar for the foundational knowledge we expect early childhood educators in Alberta to have.”
Applications for the four-year degree are now open and the first intake of students will be in September 2020. Prospective students are invited to attend the university’s Open House on November 2.