The School of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University and the Faculty of Education at York University have partnered to offer a concurrent bachelor of arts (BA) in early childhood studies and bachelor of education (BEd), available to first-year Ryerson students starting this fall. The program − the first of its kind in Canada − prepares students to have a thorough knowledge of education from preschool to age 12.
“These students will become leaders prepared to make a real difference in the lives of children and their families because of their in-depth knowledge of early childhood development and their extensive placement experience,” says Usha George, dean of Ryerson’s Faculty of Community Services. “Graduates of this concurrent program will be sought-after educators in the province’s public school system.”
The province’s education minister Liz Sandals was on hand to launch the program at Ryerson University with administrators from both universities in late March.
“We’ve developed a program that will create a new kind of professional with a powerful view of early learning that cuts across both care and education needs – a step that will support the Ontario government’s commitment to full-day kindergarten,” says Alice Pitt, vice-provost academic at York and former dean of the Faculty of Education. “Some students have in the past earned early childhood education diplomas prior to earning bachelor degrees, but this new program will kick it up a notch, creating a formal collaboration that is bound to push research, professional development and educational policy in completely new and positive directions.”
First-year students enrolled in Ryerson’s BA in Early Childhood Studies degree program can apply during the winter semester for the BEd at York with concurrent courses beginning as early as the student’s second year. Graduates will earn two credentials (BA-ECS/BEd) through the five-year program, qualifying them to teach at the kindergarten, primary and junior levels. The program will be housed on the Ryerson campus with York faculty teaching courses on-site.
This joint program will also enhance career options for students as the province moves to complete its full-day kindergarten program by 2014, enabling graduates to work as early childhood educators or teachers in a collaboratively planned, play-based learning environment.
“In Toronto and other urban settings, we need graduates from our program who can work with diverse student populations, their families and communities,” says Rachel Langford, director of Ryerson’s School of Early Childhood Studies. “The program will teach them to be ready to take on working in inclusive settings and understanding how schools fit broadly in communities.”
Ryerson’s four-year early childhood studies degree program is known for preparing early childhood educators who are well-versed in the theory and application of child development, play-based curriculum instructional methods, special education and assessment in teaching young children in a variety of settings.
York University’s Bachelor of Education infuses its program with a combination of theory and practice, providing students the philosophical and social foundations of education, professional rights and responsibilities, theories of communication and human development, planning and pedagogy and curriculum development in an interdisciplinary environment.