What is an Early Childhood & Family Studies Major?

The news is full of headlines about the failure of American schools and the vast number of children who struggle academically. The Early Childhood & Family Studies major aims to look at the development of children from birth to school age and how these important years shape their future. This major prepares you for a wide variety of career paths. Graduates have gone on to work as preschool teachers, social services professionals, family counselors, child behavioral specialists, parent educators, and much more. It’s a flexible option for students interested in helping children succeed.

1. ECFS Coursework

Though the curriculum may vary, ECFS majors typically take classes that encompass all aspects of a child’s development and family environment. This includes sociology, health, psychology, speech, and classes on lifespan human development. Undergraduate field work at community centers, child advocacy organizations, and childcare centers is interwoven, as well as opportunities to focus on the area of of child development or particular career path you’re interested in. ECFS coursework can also focus on parental development and educating mothers and fathers about how to nurture their child’s early growth. Education on birth defects, developmental problems, and different forms of childhood disability is included.

2. ECFS Job Outlook

The demand for preschool teachers is growing due to a large turnover rate and an increased focus on early childhood education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 20 percent growth in jobs in the next decade, which is much faster in other areas of public education. An ECFS major qualifies you to take the licensing exam for early childhood education needed for a variety of child advocacy positions. The highest paying area of early childhood development work is in special education, and teachers in that field are always in demand.

3. Skills Required for ECFS

It’s fairly obvious that working with infants and young children requires patience, and this major is for students who are enthusiastic about being involved in a child’s early life. It should not be forgotten that many early childhood professionals work with babies and toddlers who are born with developmental problems and help them find resources for their medical and psychological needs. You can be required to learn how to identify the signs of Down syndrome, autism, and other disorders. A wide-ranging knowledge of social sciences and biology is also important. This major attracts compassionate and self-motivated individuals who are interested in the complex relationship between nature and nurture in child development.

As science grows more competent at assessing a child’s special needs early on in life, there is a growing place for Early Childhood and Family Studies majors. The curriculum will prepare you for virtually any job involving young children. It’s an ideal choice for students who want to make a direct impact on America’s future, starting with its most vulnerable.