School of Health Sciences & Education

Early Childhood Education (PreK-4)

Earn an associate or bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE) from Saint Francis University

Children deserve a great start in life. Early childhood education professionals make that lofty goal a reality every day. Whether you are beginning your career or looking to advance, SFU's flexible associate and bachelor's degree in early childhood education degree can meet your professional needs and make a difference to the children you teach.


Offered: Online and On-Campus

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Participate in field experience opportunities in your first year of the bachelor's program.


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Gain skills to become a well-informed, critically reflective, and engaged educator.


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SFU is a T.E.A.C.H. and Rising Stars partner for those who qualify for this funding.
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The SFU  Experience

Early Childhood Education the Saint Francis Way

Early childhood education is one of many areas of study offered through the Education Department at Saint Francis University. Choose your path with online or onsite programs at the associate, bachelor's, and post-baccalaureate levels.


  • Real teaching experience: Practical experience to connect theory to practice.
  • Small class size: Individualized focus, attention, and support.
  • Experienced University faculty collaborate with school personnel and pre-service teachers to accomplish the goals of the teacher preparation program.
  • 98% of our recent graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school.
  • Interstate certification agreements allow graduates with PA certificates to qualify for licensure in 45 states.

Find Your Degree in Early Childhood Education

View Curriculum/Requirements


Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education (Pre K-4)

  • Comprehensive liberal arts education, supported by a foundation of educational history and philosophy, teaching and testing methods, and child development and psychology.
  • Special Education (PreK-12) is an optional program add-on. 


Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education Online (PreK-4)

  • Earn a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in person or choose the online bachelor's degree completion program designed for the work-experienced adult with some prior college-level coursework. 
  • The BA degree can prepare you for a career working in early childhood settings but does not prepare you for state certification, which is required to teach in public school settings.
  • The BS degree in early childhood education includes student teaching permitting you to apply for Pennsylvania State Certification, as approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education (PreK-4) 

  • The online associate degree program is designed for those with few credits, a CDA certificate, or no prior college-level coursework.
  • Some courses may be taken in-class for those who prefer that format. 
  • All courses within the AS curriculum transfer into our bachelor's degree programs in Early Childhood Education (B.A./B.S.) so it is easy to transition from one degree to the next. 


Early Childhood/Reading Education Minor

Open Education Minor

Special Education Minor


Paths/Requirements for a Degree in Early Childhood Education

  • Degree Paths
  • Learning Objectives
  • Teaching Certification Exams and Requirements
  • Degree Paths

    Bachelor of Science  in Early Education


    Bachelor of Science, Early Childhood Special Education Concentration

    Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education

    Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

    • Offered Online
    • Description
      • The B.S. in Early Childhood Education is an online degree completion program with ample room for transfer credits.  
    • Course Catalog - 23/24
    • Plan of Study

    Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education

    • Offered: Online
    • Description
      • The A.S. in ECE is designed for this with few credits, a CDA certificate, or no prior college-level coursework. 
    • Course Catalog - 23/24
    • Plan of Study
  • Student Learning Outcomes:

    • Content and Pedagogical Knowledge:  Pre-service teachers will acquire knowledge of teaching content and pedagogy including an understanding of developmentally appropriate practice, teaching standards, varying forms of assessment, differentiated instruction, technology integration, state and federal mandates, behavior management, and implementation of best practices.
    • Clinical Competence:  Pre-service teachers will possess the ability to provide effective instruction to a diverse population of students. Students within the professional program will utilize assessment and observation to guide instructional practices. Graduates will possess the necessary content knowledge as well as clinical reasoning and problem-solving abilities to provide appropriate instruction for all learners in an educational environment conducive of learning.
    • Interpersonal and Communication Skills:  Pre-service teachers will possess interpersonal and communication skills including verbal, nonverbal, and written forms that result in effective information exchange with students, parents, administration, and colleagues.
    • Professionalism:  Graduates will demonstrate effective academic and professional skills, attributes, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to function as a practicing educator. Program completers will demonstrate qualities and characteristics as defined by the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) for recommendation for Level I teaching certification.
  • Teaching Certification Exams and Requirements

    An applicant for a teaching certificate must complete, in addition to all legal requirements, a program of teacher preparation approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education Certification programs offered by Saint Francis University have been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 


    The PAPA, PECT, and Praxis Series provide tests and other services for Pennsylvania and other states to use as part of the teacher licensing and certification process.


    You must  pass the PECT or Praxis II exams, which consists of multiple tests that measure your knowledge of your respective teaching discipline, before you may student teach. Current certification testing requirements can be found on the PDE website.


    Important Links

    PAPA (Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment)

    PECT (Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests)


    Title II Required Reporting



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Dedicated Professionals; Passionate Teachers

Whether you choose an immersive campus experience or prefer to study 100% online you’ll gain knowledge working with professors in the Education Department who are specialists in their respective fields of study. They are caring, dedicated professionals who love teaching both on-campus undergraduate students and providing flexible options for returning adult students.


Program Lead:  Dr. Stephanie Ivory, sivory@francis.edu814.472.2844

Career Outlook in Early Childhood Education

Graduates from the Bachelor of Arts program now work as Head Start Coordinators, Daycare Directors, Early Childhood Specialists, and Teachers (non-certification positions). Centers and Schools hiring our graduates include Head Start Programs, Keystone Stars, The Learning Camp, Daycare Centers, and more.

Graduates from the Bachelor of Science program pursue careers as Lead Teachers, Elementary Teachers, Pre-K specialists, Daycare Center Directors, Head Start Coordinators, and more. The BS in Early Childhood Education offers graduates opportunities to work for public or private schools, tutoring and learning centers, early childhood programs, Head Start Programs, Keystone Stars, and more. While some graduates secured new jobs, others were promoted at their current center or moved into a Lead Teacher position upon graduation. Some of the employers who have hired our graduates include The Learning Lamp, Indiana Area School District, Blair County Head Start, Cenclear, Keystone Star, area school districts, PA Head Start Programs, and more!

Graduates from the Associate of Science in the Early Childhood Education program have secured positions as teaching assistants, teacher’s aides, daycare assistants, head start aides, and continued on for a BA or BS in ECE. With an AS in Early Childhood Education, there are abundant opportunities in these settings: Early Childcare Learning Centers, Head Start Programs, Public or Private Schools, Daycare Centers, Tutoring Centers, and more!


Frequently Asked Questions About Early Childhood Education and Saint Francis University

  • What are field experiences?

    Field experiences are off-campus activities that provide opportunities to apply theories and concepts studied in the classroom. These experiences are directed by University faculty, facilitated by teacher mentors, and are an integral part of all education courses leading up to student teaching. Activities include, but are not limited to, observing, tutoring, lesson planning, and developing instructional materials. Field experiences may take place in public or non-public schools, or in community agencies approved by University faculty.

  • What is the International Honor Society in Education?

    Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society in Education, was founded in 1911 to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. For over a century, the Society has consistently grown, starting with a local chapter to become the international organization it is today, with an initiated membership that exceeds 1.2 million!

    Using a variety of programs, services, and products, KDP supports and advances educators throughout the phases and levels of their teaching careers.

    The Mission

    Kappa Delta Pi strives to sustain an honored community of diverse educators by promoting excellence and advancing scholarship, leadership, and service.

    The Vision

    Kappa Delta Pi desires to help committed educators be leaders in improving education for global citizenship.

    Learn more about KDP at



  • Are there Study Abroad Opportunities?


    Our students have served as part of the Education Team on the HUGS United mission trip as well as taken part in other study abroad and service-related opportunities.

  • What are the goals of Student Teaching?

    The student teaching semester is an extremely significant period in the teacher preparation program.  It represents both an end to undergraduate education and a beginning to the wonderful and challenging career of teaching.  It is both a requirement for certification, and an opportunity to prove that the teacher candidate deserves to belong to the learning community of the teaching profession.  

    It is the responsibility and mission of the Saint Francis University Education Department to ensure that all teacher candidates have the opportunity to gain experiences that allow them to practice, develop and demonstrate competencies in their certification area. Program candidates should be provided with a broad set of meaningful interactions with Pre-K-12 students and professional staff, as well as willing and qualified site mentors.

    The experience requires several other professionals: cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and building principals, as well as university and district administrators. 

    Student Teaching Goals

    The following goals provide a foundation for the Education Department’s professional program: 

    • To prepare teachers who are committed to students and their learning.  
    • To prepare teachers who are responsible for facilitating, managing, monitoring student learning. 
    • To prepare teachers who know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to diverse learners.
    • To prepare teachers who are reflective decision-makers; who understand theory, think systematically about their practice, and who learn from experience.
    • To prepare teachers to assume a variety of professional roles.
    • To prepare teachers who are members of learning communities. 

      For more information or questions regarding PDE certification, contact Melissa Peppetti at
  • What is the Education Club?

    The Education Club is open to any student interested in pursuing teaching as a career, or in promoting the advancement of teaching.This club meets periodically and sponsors a variety of events such as guest speakers, service activities, and the American Education Week celebration.


  • What are my career prospects in Education?

    Our graduates find jobs in school districts across the United States. In fact, 98% of our recent graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school.