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Early Childhood Education in Wisconsin
Wisconsin, known as America’s Dairyland, earns decent marks for its educational system. The state has been recognized by Education Week, earning high marks for preparing students for the pre-k to kindergarten transition and for school funding. It has been a national leader for investing in early childhood education in years past, as well. There are many opportunities for individuals seeking a teaching career in early childhood education in the state of Wisconsin.
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Earning a Wisconsin Teacher Certificate
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction includes extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring and current teachers.
To be a Wisconsin educator, individuals must meet three main requirements: They must earn at least a bachelor’s degree, complete a teacher preparation program including testing requirements, and pass a background check. The various pathways to teacher certification are as follows:
Bachelor’s Degree Pathway: for the candidate with a bachelor’s degree who has completed a teacher preparation program.
Post-Baccalaureate Pathway: for candidates with bachelor’s degrees, career changers, or current educators who wish to add an endorsement. These candidates may choose to return to college to attend a teacher preparation program
Alternative Route Pathway: also for candidates with bachelor’s degrees, career changers, or current educators who wish to add an endorsement. These candidates may opt for the alternative route if they plan to teach the subject they majored in or have secured employment in a shortage area.
License Based on Equivalency Pathway: for candidates with three years of teaching experience in a private, out-of-state or postsecondary school.
Out-of-State applicants can view additional information here. Applicants must meet the testing requirements and submit the appropriate application form with the supporting documents. Please contact the educator licensing department, should you have any further questions about the licensing/certification process.
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ECE Programs in Wisconsin
There are about 30 childhood education degree programs in Wisconsin.
is part of a large system of 13 four-year universities across the state. It offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (pre-K through three) and a master’s degree in education. A few other University of Wisconsin schools offer similar programs.
is a Franciscan liberal-arts university offering a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (birth through age 11), as well as a master’s degree in education.
is a Catholic liberal arts school comprised mostly of women. It offers a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (birth through age 11), as well as a master’s degree in education.
is a private liberal-arts school that offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (pre-K through three) and elementary/middle education (grades one through eight). Several master’s degree options are also available.
Finding a Teaching Job in Wisconsin
There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.
Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking a career in early childhood education. The Education K through 12 Printable Listings page posts current open positions, daily. Applicants can search for jobs by location or employer. Some current shortage areas in Wisconsin’s public schools are English as a Second Language/Bilingual, Sciences, Library Media, Mathematics, Music, Reading and Foreign Languages (Loan Forgiveness and Cancellation Programs for Educators). There are several shortage areas in special education, as well.
Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start, and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child-care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community, as well.
Teacher Associations in Wisconsin
There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Wisconsin sharing similar visions.
The Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) aims to improve both the profession and local public schools. The organization represents 92,000 members and has 700 local affiliates within Wisconsin communities. It provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country.
The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. It has been going strong for over 40 years and strives to help children ages zero through eight, as well as their families. It is also an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members. It also offers a database of ECE programs.
There is also a variety of organizations for teachers, based on specific areas of interest, including the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English (WCTE), Wisconsin Mathematics Council (WMC) and the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers (WSST).
Wisconsin’s Education Bloggers
The JS Online education section covers hot topics, issues, and events in Wisconsin’s schools, much like the News Room of the Wisconsin Department of Public Education. Wisconsin teachers also share insights and information through their personal blogs.
Learning in the Little Apple is maintained by a third-grade teacher who shares her classroom activities and resources.
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Clearly Kindergarten is written by a kindergarten teacher who blogs frequently about her many clever classroom ideas.
Growing Firsties is operated by a first-grade teacher and former reading specialist who loves providing resources for elementary teachers.
The WECA blog is another great place to find information on EC education in Wisconsin.