early childhood education degree

Early Childhood Education Degree Program, PreK-4 (Bachelor of Science)

Help Young Students Develop a Love of Learning

If you dream of becoming a certified teacher who works with young children who are just developing their social, language and reasoning skills, start your journey with the B.S. in Early Childhood Education degree program at Gwynedd Mercy University. As an early childhood education major, you will have access to expert teachers and resources as you develop your teaching skills and further your education at one of the best early childhood education schools in the Philadelphia area. GMercyU's early childhood education program focuses on early childhood development and includes a path to PreK-4 teacher certification.

“With this program I had the opportunity to experience teaching in the classroom, beginning my freshmen year, and to collaborate with amazing faculty and staff in different settings. This clearly differentiates GMercyU from other schools and reassured me that I had made the right choice.”
—Stephanie Holtz '17


What Can You Do With a Degree in Early Childhood Education?

Early childhood educators care for and teach children of a young age, from birth until about 8 years of age. This type of education is important since early childhood education teachers help to shape a child's education from the start and can set a precedent for them to succeed later in life. Early childhood education encompasses teaching fine and gross motor skills, cognitive learning, and social development for children.

Once you have an early childhood education degree, you can pursue a variety of careers depending on your specific interests. Some early childhood education jobs include elementary school teacher, daycare manager, pre-school teacher, in-home nanny, or school counselor. Within the early childhood education field, you could work in a variety of settings — elementary schools, daycares, private homes, or specialty care centers. A degree in early childhood education can unlock various potential career paths for you in a variety of locations.

The GMercyU Difference

Wondering why our ECE program is one of the best teacher education programs in Pennsylvania?


1. What careers will an early childhood education degree prepare me for?

After you receive your early childhood education degree, you will be fully prepared to take on an array of potential careers including elementary school teacher, pre-school teacher, family support specialist, teacher's assistant, childcare director, or home-based service provider.

2. How soon will I be able to spend time in an actual classroom?

Your first semester on campus! 

You will be placed in a classroom as early as the first week of October of your freshman year. As part of our Teacher Apprentice Program (TAP), Early Education and/or Special Education students gain first-hand insight into how the real world of education works through classroom observations that begin in your first semester. 

In all, you will spend 8 semesters in actual classrooms! Your final two semesters will be dedicated to pre-student teaching and student teaching experiences where you can take your turn at the head of the class.

BONUS: In addition to outside classroom placements, as an ECE major you will also gain hands-on experience at Hobbit House, GMercyU’s licensed Private Academic Lab School. Here, you will be able to gain real-world teaching experience and develop core teaching competencies without ever leaving campus.

3. Where will I student teach?

GMercyU has field placements throughout many districts across the region – in both private and public schools. 

BONUS: Cheryl Malfi will serve as your dedicated Field Placement Director to ensure you have a successful student teaching experience. If you have a particular school in mind and it isn’t on the list, she will work with you to try and make it a possibility.

4. What teaching skills will I learn by actively participating in a classroom setting?

While it is important to be knowledgeable about your curriculum, it is also important to develop your personal teaching style for the classroom. Through GMercyU's hands-on approach in the classroom, you will learn effective classroom management styles, an array of communication methods, and will be able to handle conflicts within the classroom. Our real-world approach to teaching will prepare you to better understand your students in a dynamic setting with your ECE degree.

5. Who will be my advisor?

An Education faculty member in GMercyU’s School of Business and Education will be your personal advisor throughout all four years as an ECE major. 

6. Is there assistance with meeting teacher certification requirements?

Yes!  Once you’re on the teacher certification track, your advisor and Dr. William Warner will serve as your Education and Certification Officer to ensure you meet all requirements to become a certified teacher in Pennsylvania. 

BONUS: GMercyU’s Academic Resource Center (ARC) is another great resource for you as you earn your ECE degree and prepare to take your certification tests. The ARC is your one-stop-shop for your academic and professional needs with services such as test prep and tutoring.

*Certification: This program was designed to meet the certification requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you reside in a different state, you should carefully review your home state’s certification requirements prior to enrolling in this program.

7. How long does it take to complete a degree in Early Education?

GMercyU’s Early Childhood Education Degree, Pre-K-4 (Bachelor of Science) will prepare you for a successful career working with children in only four years!

8. How long does it take to complete a dual degree in Early Education and Special Education?

GMercyU’s dual degree in Early Education and Special Education can be completed in only four years!

9. How many classes are taught by Teaching Assistants?


Every class at GMercyU, no matter your major, is taught by a full-time or part-time GMercyU instructor. The professors in our School of Education, including early childhood education programs, have more than a combined 110 years of experience as educators! 

Undergraduate Minors 

Increase the value of your early childhood education degree by adding an undergraduate minor. GMercyU offers a wide variety of minors so you can choose the one that best meets your personal and professional goals.


In addition to general education requirements, you will complete the following courses for an early childhood education degree:

Core Courses:  69 Credits

EDU 100  Education in America
EDU 104 Health & Motor Development Pre K-4
EDU 216 Foundations of Teaching & Learning Pre K-4  
EDU 223 Teaching Science Pre K-4
EDU 224 Teaching Social Studies Pre K-4
EDU 226 Reading Sequence I – Foundations of Early Literacy Research
EDU 227 Math Methods for Pre K-4
EDU 228 Art and Humanities
EDU 229  Reading Sequence II – Lang. Dev. & Early Literacy, Instruction & Assessment
EDU 309  Technology Integration in Education Pre K-8
EDU 314   Reading Sequence III – Early Literacy Instruction & Assessment
EDU 316  Reading Sequence IV – Literacy Instruction, Assessment & Intervention
EDU 351 Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners
SPE 205 Exceptional Person
SPE 231  Mild/Moderate Disabilities in the Inclusionary Setting
SPE 331  Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Methods for Mild/Moderate Disabilities
EDU 414   Classroom Management for Pre K-4
EDU 415 Pre-Student Teaching Pre K-8
EDU 460  Student  Teaching Pre K-8 (12 Credits)
EDU 4000 

Capstone Seminar

PreK-8 Special Education Certification - Additional Courses
SPE 232 Students with Complex Needs in the Educational Setting
SPE 332  Research-Based Practices in the Assessment and Instruction of Students

Credit Requirements

A minimum of 120 credits is required for a bachelor’s degree in early education.

This ECE program requires a criminal background check, child abuse clearance, and certain immunizations and other health-related clearances in order to participate in student teaching experiences. See the undergraduate catalog for more information.

To review early childhood education program course descriptions, please refer to the undergraduate catalog.


Transfer Opportunities

If you’ve already earned college-level credits at other early childhood education colleges or accredited institutions, you can transfer them to Gwynedd Mercy University. All you need to do is submit your transcript and course description to the Registrar, who will determine whether the course counts towards the credits required for graduation. Read more on our Transfer Credits page.

In addition, Gwynedd Mercy University has articulation agreements with Bucks County and Delaware County Community Colleges, Harcum College, and Manor College to speed your path a teacher certification. Below is a list of our agreements with other local early childhood education programs:

Bucks County Community College
AA in PreK-4 Education to BS Early Education PreK-4 Certification
AA PreK-4 Education to BS PreK-8 Special Education Certification

Delaware Community College
AS Early Education to BS Early Education PreK-4 Certification

Harcum College
AS Early Childhood Education to BS Early Education PreK-4 Certification  
AS Early Childhood Education to BS PreK-8 Special Education Certification

Manor College
AS Early Education to BS Early Education PreK-4 Certification  
AS Early Education to BS PreK-8 Special Education Certification

Our Outstanding Faculty

Career Outcomes

A bachelor of science in Early Childhood Education will help you achieve your dream of becoming a teacher of young children. Check out where our early childhood education program graduates landed teaching jobs:

Where our graduates work after graduation

•    AIM Academy
•    Allentown School District
•    Annville-Cleona High School
•    Bridge TEFL
•    Bright Eyes Academy
•    Bucks County Intermediate Unit
•    Capital City High School
•    Central Montgomery MH/MR Center
•    Esperanza Academy Charter HS
•    Gwynedd Mercy University
•    NECC MH/MR Early Intervention

•    Neshaminy School District
•    Norristown School District
•    North Penn School District
•    Our Lady of Mercy
•    Pencil Box
•    Pennridge School District
•    Philadelphia School District
•    Radnor School District
•    Source4teachers
•    The Goddard School
•    The Malvern School
•    Wissahickon School District