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Foundational Beliefs About Children

The UNC early childhood teacher education program is fairly new. When we designed the program we looked at the children and families in our state and developed a program that would teach our pre-service teachers what they needed to know to teach all children and work well with children’s families. As we planned courses, we agreed on several basic assumptions that include:

  1. Children and pre-service teachers are active learners. Both children and pre-service teachers need opportunities to explore, experiment, and communicate their ideas, experiences, and feeling in a community that allows them to take risks.
  2. Learning is a developmental process. Children and pre-service teachers do not learn at the same rate or by the same processes.
  3. Education has a strong social component. It is very important that children interact with each other and the adults they know. Pre-service teachers need many opportunities to interact with one another, children, and other educators in the larger community.
  4. Young children need teachers who respect them and have the educational backgrounds to teach all children. Examples of courses and experiences designed for teaching young, diverse learners include:
    • Diversity and Family Relationships
    • Teaching Young Bilingual Children
    • Community Service Learning Course
    • Diverse Field Experiences (800) hours with a variety of age groups.
    • Spanish for Professionals
    • Early Childhood Special Education