Heidelberg University of Education introduced its three-year Bachelor of Arts (BA) programme in Early Childhood and Pre-primary Education in the 2007/2008 winter semester.
The degree trains students to work with children in a large range of different institutes in the area of early childhood and pre-primary education (nursery school, kindergarten, joint pre-primary and primary educational centres, early support centres).
Early childhood and pre-primary education
A market with great prospects
Awareness of pre-primary education has steadily increased over the past few years and it has gained the recognition it deserves as a vital and integral part of the education system. This has led to discussion about and implementation of a diverse range of measures to support children's development as well was the development of guidelines and curricula for the pre-primary area. The end result is a demand for teachers trained to work in this field.
In view of these requirements, Heidelberg University of Education's BA programme in Early Childhood and Pre-primary Education aims to provide sound academic training in close conjunction with practical experience in the fields concerned.
The six-semester BA is a modular programme (for details, see Teaching – modules). The programme aims to enable participants to apply scientific techniques and theories and equip them with the professional skills required to work in the various fields of pre-primary education. Students gain practical experience in these fields from the outset (see Work experience office). Many years of conducting research into early childhood and pre-primary education (for details, see Research) have resulted in an excellent blend of research, teaching and practice with regard to course content and skills.
The programme enables participants to
- support children's development in particular fields of education (e.g. maths, natural sciences, music, art, ethics, language)
- deal with diversity in line with the principles of Diversity Studies (interculturality, inclusion, gender)
- monitor and support development (in particular physical, motor skills, cognitive, social and emotional, linguistic and moral development)
- make diagnoses
- advise and manage
- conduct quality management
- evaluate and document
- develop a professional level of responsiveness
- reflect on one's own actions
- acquire academic writing and research skills
- language, communication and interculturality
- arts (music, aesthetics, dance, theatre)
- early intervention – dealing with children with special needs
- health promotion (movement: physiotherapeutic, artistic, psychomotor development; diet)
- early education for babies and small children
- supervising, providing guidance, making diagnoses
Early childhood and pre-primary teachers work in institutions that provide educational services to an age group ranging from new-born babies to 12-year-old children (e.g. joint pre-primary and primary educational centres, nursery schools, day care centres, extracurricular support services). These teachers possess specialist skills that qualify them for positions that involve implementing quality development programmes, optimising pedagogical diagnosis and planning processes, networking the educational centre with other institutions, supporting children with potential social development problems, among other areas, advising the parents of these children and assuming management responsibilities. Furthermore, they are trained to work in early intervention centres.
Further training and career opportunities
The University plans to introduce a Master of Arts programme with the option of a subsequent doctorate degree. There are numerous opportunities in the fields of science and research for specialists in early childhood and pre-primary education.