Early Childhood Specializations

Early Childhood Specializations offers students specialized coursework in HDFS preparing students for careers working with young children and their families in diverse contexts.

Some of these career paths include:

  • Educators and Professionals in Early Childhood Education settings
  • Home visitors (i.e. Early Head Start and Family Resource Centers)
  • Birth to Three/Early Intervention
  • Related Therapy-focused Disciplines (Speech & Language, Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy)
  • Infant Mental Health Specialists
  • Health and mental health specialties with young children
  • Child Life Specialists
  • Early childhood policy & advocacy

Attend a Virtual Information Session to learn more -

Follow this link to sign-up for one of these sessions this Spring!

Getting Started in Early Childhood Specializations

Who should apply?

HDFS majors/minors completing their 3rd semester (or later) that are interested in careers working with young children and families.

What is needed before students apply?

  • Declared HDFS Major/HDFS Minor
  • GPA 2.7 through the 3rd semester
  • Suggested before getting started: Successful completion of HDFS 1070 and HDFS 2100, and experience with young children.

Application Timeline(s):

Applications are processed on a rolling admissions basis. We encourage you to submit your application by the dates shared below. This will allow time to meet with an ECS faculty advisor before enrolling in courses for the following semester.  However, applications will be accepted and reviewed at any time.

  • Suggested Fall Application submission by October 15th (to begin Spring semester)
  • Suggested Spring Application submission by March 15th (to begin in Fall semester)

Submit an Application:

Students can submit their application for ECS directly from the ECS webpage.  Once the application has been submitted online, students will be contact via email by the ECS Student Coordinator/Faculty Advisor to schedule a meeting/interview to talk about the ECS program and begin the advising process.

Early Childhood Specializations Application

Submit your application for Early Childhood Specializations using this link:  Early Childhood Specializations Application

Specialized Coursework in HDFS

Students majoring or minoring in HDFS can join Early Childhood Specializations (ECS).  Students can choose one of two pathways within HDFS for ECS - Early Childhood Development or Early Childhood Development & Education.  Each pathway includes a core set of HDFS classes that have been identified to best support students pursuing careers working with young children, their families and within the communities in which they learn and develop.

ECS Coursework for Early Childhood Development (ECD) or Early Childhood Development & Education (ECDE)

Fieldwork and Practicum Opportunities

Using model early care and education classrooms as the primary training sites, students use observation and reflection to hone their abilities to develop meaningful learning experiences for children from ages 8 weeks to 5 years.

Reflective Practices

A hallmark of the Early Childhood Specializations is the use of practices that encourage students and faculty to use reflection and mindfulness in the process of learning, interacting, and problem solving. Embedded throughout the courses and practicum, reflective practices provide support to students to achieve knowledge and skills that promote early childhood development. Reflective practices support students to be intentional in their interactions with young children: compassionate, self-aware, and curious about themselves in relation to children. Through assignments and class discussions, students are invited to explore their own experiences of childhood and play, and how those past experiences inform and shape their present interactions with children.

Early Childhood Teaching Credential

This specialization is an approved program by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood to offer the Early Childhood Teaching Credential (ECTC).* The ECTC is designed for students who are interested in working with children from birth to five years of age in early care and education settings. Training for the ECTC usually extends over 4 semesters.  Students are also required to experience a community placement in a Head Start/Early Head Start, Birth-3, or K-2 classroom during their training. Students who demonstrate the NAEYC early childhood teacher competencies are recommended for the ECTC upon program completion.

*The ECTC is not equivalent to a State of CT (public school) Teaching License. Learn more about the ECTC here.

Early Childhood Specializations Faculty

Rachel Chazan Cohen

Rachel Cohen, Ph.D.
Director of Early Childhood Education and Early Intervention
Associate Professor

Anne Bladen

Anne Bladen, MA
Teaching Faculty

Mary Tabb Foley

Mary Tabb Foley, M.A.
Student Coordinator Early Childhood Specializations
Teaching Faculty

Meg Galante-DeAngelis

Meg Galante-DeAngelis
Teaching Faculty

Caitlin Lombardi

Caitlin Lombardi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Sciences

Cora Megan

Cora D'Alessandro
Student Coordinator Early Childhood Specializations
Instructor in Residence (Stamford Campus)