Early Childhood Education and Special Education

Our bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education and special education prepare students to apply for Rhode Island teacher certification in grades pre-kindergarten through 2 (early childhood education) or birth through grade 2 (early childhood and special education). Accredited by the Rhode Island Department of Education and grounded in a liberal arts tradition, our programs integrate a content-oriented and comprehensive study of teaching methods with practical field experience in diverse settings.

Make a Sustainable, Positive Impact

Beginning in their first year, our early childhood education majors visit local schools, introducing them to the diversity of students and families that comprise the communities in which they will work and initiating the process by which they can make a sustainable, positive impact. This “change impact” has long been a major emphasis of our curriculum and is created as our students build meaningful relationships within these communities.

Our special education program – which can only be taken as a double major with early childhood or elementary education – prepares majors to work with students impacted by mild and moderate special needs. Our students examine exceptionality and its relation to learning styles, teaching styles and service delivery models. Through comprehensive coursework and field experience, majors develop strategies that respond to students’ behavioral needs while effectively managing their classrooms and their teaching practice.

Our students benefit from the personalized guidance they receive from faculty and school professionals. Through extensive clinical placements, which culminate in two semesters of student teaching assignments, they develop skills that enable them to put theory into practice, observe cutting-edge methods and gain valuable experience in their discipline.

Program Spotlight: Firsthand Experience

The thing I loved about Salve Regina's early childhood program was the exposure to the field of teaching right out of the gate. Beginning freshman year, the program is designed to make sure that teaching children is something you want to pursue. Through the years, we visited different types of learning environments such as child care centers, private schools, public schools and even schools that had a specific teaching philosophy like a Montessori school.

We were always interacting with children, from volunteering in a preschool to eventually student teaching in a classroom. I went into the early childhood program thinking I wanted to teach young children and came out knowing I wanted to teach young children.

Rob Toribio ’09, kindergarten teacher, Pell Elementary School

Our Faculty

Our faculty train students in a laboratory classroom that is modeled on a well-designed early childhood classroom. Learning centers around the perimeter of the classroom are focused on the major content areas in early childhood curriculum. The centers enable students to see, experience and put into practice the teaching theories they are learning. In addition, the centers become a catalyst for students to design lessons for children across the full spectrum of early childhood teaching.


Meet Our Faculty

Life After Salve

While the early childhood education degree is specifically focused on teaching pre-kindergarten through second grade, the core competencies gained are valuable in a variety of professional careers, including:

  • After-school program administrator
  • Consultant
  • Charter school teacher
  • Childcare worker
  • Elementary school teacher
  • Educational administrator
  • Kindergarten teacher
  • Preschool teacher
  • Professional development specialist
  • Researcher
  • Sales
  • Teacher assistant

Major in Early Childhood Education (B.S.)


24 courses | 74 credits

Required courses:

  • ELC100: Introduction to Early Childhood Education
  • ELC220: Child Growth and Development, Learning and Teaching: Theories and Application
  • ELC298: Tutoring and Mentoring in a Multicultural Society I
  • ELC299: Tutoring and Mentoring in a Multicultural Society II
  • ELC300: Methods Portfolio
  • ELC304: Nutrition/Health
  • ELC310: Language and Literacy
  • ELC311: Early Childhood Methods and Curriculum
  • ELC314: Authentic Assessment
  • ELC330: Practicum in Early Childhood
  • ELC350: Parents/Teachers/Community
  • ELC431: Student Teaching at the Early Childhood Level
  • ELC432: Student Teaching Seminar Capstone
  • ELC480: Senior Partnership
  • ELC490: Senior Seminar

Students also complete the following courses in other disciplines:

  • EDC206: Phonics
  • EDC243: Children's Literature
  • SED211: Introduction to the Characteristics of Students With Exceptionalities
  • SED225: Language Development and Communication Problems of Children
  • SED232: Principles and Procedures for Behavior and Classroom Management
  • SED370: Working With Young Children With Language and Literacy Challenges
  • SED380: Strategies for Young Children With Diverse Learning Needs
  • SED397: American Sign Language I
  • SED398: American Sign Language II

Students majoring in early childhood education may also minor in special education.

Professional licensure disclosure