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Undergraduate Programs - Child Development & Family Relations


This Child Development and Family Relations major, including the Early Childhood Education option, prepares professionals to work with children and families in a variety of rewarding and challenging careers.

Child DrawingThe B.S. in Child Development and Family Relations offers the opportunity to specialize in different aspects of individual and family development to meet specific career interests, such as family planning, employment assistance, gerontology, intervention programs, education, social service and community programs.

Students study the growth and development of individuals in the contexts of schools, communities and families. Study may focus on individuals at various times in the lifespan (e.g., early childhood, adolescence, adulthood) with special attention to the family context. The family, itself, is studied in its various forms (e.g., single parent families, two parent families, foster families).

Child Development & Family Relations graduates hold a variety of interesting jobs working with children and families such as:

  • Behavioral Specialist
  • Peer Educator
  • Residential Care Specialist
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Development Therapist
  • Child Advocate
  • Day Camp Director
  • Camp Counselor
  • Education Technicians
  • Family Assistant

Others, upon graduation or later in their careers, pursue graduate work and advanced degrees.

Students do extensive internships with organizations such as:

  • Care Development of Maine
  • Families and Children Together
  • Wings for Children and Families
  • Community Health & Counseling
  • Good Samaritan Agency
  • United Cerebral Palsy Center

The curriculum meets the rigorous standards and requirements of the National Council of Family Relations’ Certified Family Life Educator designation. This approval enables graduates to quickly complete the application process for Certified Family Life Educator status. The undergraduate degree is also an excellent springboard for advanced study.

Early Childhood Education

Childhood EducationThe Early Childhood Education concentration prepares students to be early childhood (ages 0 to 8 ) teachers and leads to recommendation for Maine K-3 teacher certification. The concentration is designed to provide students with instruction and experience in the best research-based practice and to work effectively with all children and families.

The campus-based Katherine M. Durst Child Development Learning Center serves as a convenient lab school for students, as well as a state-licensed nursery school and pre-kindergarten for the community. Students follow the College of Education and Human Development’s nationally accredited process for teacher preparation and certification.

Early Childhood Education students do extensive internships in a variety of program with agencies such as:

  • Penquis Community Action Program
  • United Cerebral Palsy
  • Stillwater Montessori School
  • Head Start
  • Job Corps
  • UMaine Child Care and Learning Centers
  • Indian Island Pre-kindergarten

Under supervision, they might:

  • Make home visits
  • Support a teen parent program
  • Work with children with autism and other disabilities
  • Provide training for child care providers
  • Design curriculum and teach – for example – science, literacy, math and social studies all through play

Graduates leave the program with understanding of how children learn, how teachers can best promote learning, the crucial role of the family and how teachers and parents can work together for the best interests of children. In addition to teaching, early childhood education graduates enjoy careers in areas such as museums, recreation, publishing, early intervention, and a variety of social services and community programs.

Entrance Requirements in Years (as established by the College)

A high school diploma with the following specific courses:

Algebra I & II
Lab Science
History/Social Studies
Foreign Language (same language)
Academic electives (to equal at least 17 total credits)

To ensure current mathematical skills students should take a mathematics course during their senior year of high school.

Major Requirements

Credits 120 minimum total credit hours required for graduation
51 Child Development & Family Relations
19 Education
6 Communications (English, speech)
21 Humanities & Social Sciences
14 Sciences & Mathematics
9 Electives

General Education Requirements

ENG 101 College Composition
18 credits Human Values & Social Context area (at least 3 credits must be taken within each sub-category; a single course may satisfy more than 1 sub-category)

  • Western Cultural Tradition
  • Social Context & Institutions
  • Cultural Diversity & International Perspectives
  • Population & the Environment
  • Artistic & Creative Expression
2 courses Designated Writing Intensive (1 must be within the major)
2 courses Biological or Physical Sciences
6 credits Mathematics (including statistics & computer science, only 3 credits in computer science can count toward this requirement)
1 course Ethics (emphasis on discussion of ethical issues in 1 course or series of courses. The requirements of the program in education automatically satisfy this requirement)
1 capstone An approved experience in which the student integrates the components of his or her undergraduate training to perform at a professional level. The capstone experience is usually completed during the senior year in consultation with the student’s academic advisor

*All UMaine students must complete these general education requirements, which are counted in the total credit hours required for graduation and may be contained in the Major Requirements listed above.

For additional information about these majors, please contact:

College of Education & Human Development
144 Shibles Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5766
(207) 581-2485

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