Early Childhood Studies Major


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About the Major

Students majoring in early childhood studies learn a developmentally appropriate approach to caring for young children (birth to age 8) in a play-based environment that invites inquiry, autonomy and responsive social interaction while supporting language, cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.

Jobs in Early Childhood Studies

  • Preschool teacher
  • Day care director
  • Teacher aide
  • Family support worker
  • Early intervention specialist

Related Programs

Quintuplet Focuses on Early Childhood

Sophia Zimlich

For an education course at South, Sophia Zimlich observed a second-grade class, which was something new for a student who was home-schooled as a child in Saraland, Alabama. It was also Zimlich’s first time in the field, a pivotal moment for education students.

“It was cool to see everything in a different setting,” she said. “The class was really structured, and the teacher was good at keeping them on task. I was really impressed by the technology.”

Zimlich was completing work on a bachelor’s degree in early childhood studies. Next would be an internship at a preschool or early learning center.

She was one of five Zimlich quintuplets who enrolled at the University of South Alabama. Their enrollment in 2018 made news. “My freshman year, I’d hear it all the time,” she said. “People would say, ‘I recognize you — you’re one of the quintuplets!’”

Things calmed down, though some would still catch her last name.


“I’ve always known this is what I want to do.”


Zimlich has worked with Jaguar Productions (the student activities board) and has been a summer camp counselor at the Student Recreation Center. For fun, she took dance classes.

“I’ve done ballroom, swing dancing and an advanced combo class — ballet, jazz and contemporary,” she said. “It’s really fun.”

Her education classes could be challenging. The more she learned, the more she realized how much more there is to know. Take, for instance, the class in language development.

“There’ve been so many interesting things, all the details of development, that I’d never thought of before,” she said. “All the different aspects of birth through adolescence, all the different theories. There’s so much, and it’s all really interesting.

“And it definitely reinforced the idea that this is the right major for me. I’ve always known this is what I want to do.”

Did You Know?

  • Many early childhood studies graduates enter South's alternative master’s program, which leads to an advanced degree and teacher certification in early childhood education.
  • Many courses take place online or in the evenings to make it easier to balance school with other commitments. 
  • Students who work at an approved child care center or early childhood facility may be able to use that experience as their required internship.



Dr. Rebecca Giles
Professor, Early Childhood Studies Interim Program Coordinator
Department of Leadership and Teacher Education
(251) 380-2899

Curriculum and Degree Requirements