The Early Childhood and Family Studies (ECFS) major is designed to give you the opportunity to study early childhood development, early learning, and family studies from a variety of perspectives across a range of disciplines. A Bachelor of Arts degree in ECFS will prepare you for careers in early learning, childcare, policy, parent and family support and education, and social/mental health services. It is also a pathway to graduate studies in education, child and family studies, and other areas.

The University of Washington (UW) College of Education's ECFS program guides you in using the most recent research to understand how to facilitate optimal child development and how to become an agent for institutional and societal change.  The ECFS major has developed two pathways for students to pursue in their degree program in the College of Education at the University of Washington.

The first pathway is the ECFS Core Pathway.

Students in the ECFS major represent interests in a wide range of professions that include not only teaching and learning, but also family & community support, policy and advocacy, health related professions, and the pursuit of research activities related to the science of early learning and the development of policies focused on quality environments for young children.  Many of these interests benefit from the pursuit of a double major (for example, ECFS & Public Health, Psychology, Social Work, Economics, American Ethnic Studies, Speech & Hearing Sciences, Political Science, and Communication) or by combining the ECFS major with a minor such as Diversity, Nutrition, Global Health, or a foreign language. In addition, many students are working to earn course credits for admission requirements to Medical and/or Graduate School.  This multidisciplinary pathway allows for the flexibility of integrating other areas of interest with the coursework in child development and family studies.  

The second pathway is the ECFS Major with the Teaching and Learning Option.

Current city, state, and national policy efforts are focused on equitable access to high quality early learning programs, often referred to as Universal PreK.  Part of the measure of quality in such settings is having teachers prepared in content areas in and pedagogical approaches to early childhood education.  Students in this option of the ECFS Major, interested in early childhood teaching and learning, are required to take additional courses in Language & Literacy, Mathematics, Science, & Technology (STEM), Positive Behavioral Support, Engaging Interactions & Environments, and Individualized Instruction along with an extended field experience working with children.

You will take coursework that is specifically developed for the major as well as relevant courses from other UW departments. You will also participate in service learning alongside teachers in preschool classrooms or childcare centers each quarter during your junior and senior years.  For more information about the Early Childhood and Family Studies major contact ecfsinfo@uw.edu

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