The Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) is designed to prepare teachers for working with children from birth to eight years and will be offered in addition to existing primary and secondary programs.
Professor Zbys Klich, Head of the Coffs Harbour campus and Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic, said 40 fulltime places would be offered in 2008 for the four-year course, with more than 150 places available by 2011.
“Early childhood education is now clearly a national priority and both the State and Federal governments are exploring ways to improve the provision of quality care and learning in the early years,” Professor Klich said.
“Southern Cross University will be looking to make a distinctive contribution by providing a flexible, high quality degree program that prepares students to work in a range of early childhood settings.”
Professor Klich said the University would be appointing a Professor for Early Childhood Programs and additional teaching staff as soon as possible.
Associate Professor Anne Graham, Head of the School of Education, said the course was being developed in close consultation with state and national accrediting bodies to ensure it would provide for graduates to work in a range of settings including childcare centres, pre-schools and in the early years of primary school.
“Our program will include a strong emphasis on the needs of children and families in rural and regional Australia, including improved provision of early care and education for Indigenous children,” Professor Graham said.
“We have a strong emphasis on improving outcomes for children through the Centre for Children and Young People and this will provide a strong research base for the new course.
“The course will focus on improving outcomes from early childhood education and in particular for children who may be ‘at risk’ in the critical early years,” she said.
Photo: Associate Professor Anne Graham.
Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.