Early Childhood Specializations

The Early Childhood Specializations offer students hands-on, stimulating, and rigorous training for careers working with young children and their families in diverse contexts including:
  • Educators and Professionals in Early Childhood Education settings
  • Home visitors (i.e. Early Head Start and Family Resource Centers)
  • Birth to Three/Early Intervention
  • Allied disciplines of Speech & Language, Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy
  • Health and mental health specialties with young children
  • Child life Specialists
  • Early childhood policy & advocacy

Join us for a Virtual Information Session


  • More Virtual Informations Sessions coming Spring 2024.  

For an individual meeting or to ask questions email, mary.tabb@uconn.edu

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Interested in joining the program?  Please see the Application for Early Childhood Specializations

Getting Started in ECS

Interested students should contact Mary Tabb Foley, student coordinator for ECS, to discuss and explore their interest in the Early Childhood Specializations.  Students that are welcomed into the ECS program will be assigned an ECS faculty advisor.  Students will meet with their advisor and begin the advising process to design a plan of study for ECS to reflect the student's interest in working with young children and their families.

Sequenced Coursework

Through observation, reflective practice, and knowledge of child development, students develop a deep understanding of how to support children and their families.  Students will come to know why they are doing what they are doing.  Over 2-4 semesters, students enroll in course sequences that explore developmental time frames (infant/toddler and early childhood) and deepen their competencies with children through practicum. Capstone practicum experiences as classroom teachers or in specialized roles beyond the classroom are available as well as the opportunity to explore policy and advocacy through multiple career lenses.

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.  On the Storrs campus, the Child Development Laboratories is the primary site for practicum opportunities with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.  On the Stamford campus, a partnership with the Community Children’s Development Center in the nearby town of Westport provides a similar experience.  Students who seek careers working with children outside of classrooms have the option of a supervised practicum with area programs serving young children and families.

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