Child Study Major with Concentration in Inclusive Early Childhood Ed earns licensure approval from State

On May 1 the Connecticut Board of Education approved a teaching licensure pathway for USJ’s Undergraduate Child Study Major with a Concentration in Inclusive Early Childhood Education. 

This certification pathway leads to endorsement in Integrated Early Childhood /Elementary Education N-3 and Special Education N-K (113).  

“We know from extensive research how important high quality early childhood education is for the long-term success of our children,” said Meredith McConnochie, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Education and program director of Early Childhood/Special Education. “At USJ we are excited to be preparing highly trained teachers at the undergraduate and graduate levels to provide developmentally appropriate and inclusive learning environments for linguistically and culturally diverse young learners.”  

Dr. Meredith McConnochie

“The need for professionals ready to meet the needs of our youngest learners, especially those with identified learning needs is greater than ever,” added Dianna Wentzell, Ed.D., director of Clinical Practice in USJ’s Department of Education. “USJ is proud, along with our partners at School for Young Children and our partner school districts to be innovating in this space to offer undergraduates a rich, practice embedded approach to becoming a certified early childhood/special educator.” 

Child Study majors and those in the Concentration in Inclusive Early Childhood Education will benefit from recent renovations in the School for Young Children (SYC) at USJ, which serves as an important laboratory school. Renovations include a redesign of the building’s “college classroom,” creating a space based on Universal Design for Learning and problem-based learning; and a new state-of-the-art observation system that allows USJ students to study end document the developmental progress of children in SYC’s classrooms. 

Dr. Katharine Ann Buck

Co-directed by Katharine Ann Buck, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychology, Family, and Justice Studies and Dr. McConnochie, this concentration within the Child Study program is offered in collaboration with USJ’s Department of Education’s Early Childhood program.  

With the new licensure approval from the state of Connecticut, USJ now offers teacher licensure in early childhood, elementary, secondary and special education at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Licensure pathways in each program not only provide robust educational opportunities for future teachers but may help tackle the teacher shortage in Connecticut. 

USJ Child Study students observe the children at the School for Young Children through a new state-of-the-art observation system. 

Last fall, USJ added several new education programs to attract students to the teaching profession and to provide professional development options for teachers already in the classroom. They included a B.S. in Elementary Education; a Graduate Certificate in Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities; and a Graduate Concentration-Master of Arts in Education with Concentration in Personalized Professional Pathways (MAPPP).  A Special Education M.A. with a Concentration in Transition and Accessibility Services in Postsecondary Settings will begin in Fall 2024. The program will be fully online and embedded within the Master of Arts of Special Education degree program. 

“The University of Saint Joseph has a long and proud history of preparing excellent teachers. This program demonstrates our commitment to preparing the next generation of teachers to meet critical shortage area needs” said Ashley Oldham, Ph.D., chair and associate professor in USJ’s Department of Education. “This program was designed to specifically prepare educators to work in inclusive early childhood education.  The new undergraduate pathway will make it possible for aspiring educators graduating high school level to choose this great profession and purse it through studies at the University of Saint Joseph!

For more information go to: Child Study – Inclusive Early Childhood Education, B.A. | University of Saint Joseph, CT (usj.edu)

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