Female student working with preschool children

The University of Maine at Farmington Early Childhood Education major is a high quality program with extensive experiences in children’s settings. It has earned a national reputation for preparing highly qualified teachers.

Early Childhood Education – A White-Hot Career Path

Pre-COVID, the job market for Early Childhood Education teachers was re-hot. During and after COVID, the state of Maine and indeed the nation, saw the need for Early Childhood professionals reach an all-time peak in demand. Right now, it’s a white-hot job market for Early Childhood Educators with no end in sight.

Simply put, the demand for competent, professional educators of young children vastly outpaces the pool of job candidates. This is where the University of Maine at Farmington comes in.

Maine’s Governor, supported by the Maine Legislature and authorized by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, is investing the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan relief funds into Early Childhood Education. Where is this investment happening? At the University of Maine at Farmington. Previously, the Sweatt-Winter expansion project received $1.4 million from a bond for UMaine System workforce development infrastructure approved by voters statewide in 2018. The Lennox Foundation also contributed $100,000.

“One of the highest priorities for higher education is preparing the next generation of educators,” said UMaine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “Maine families have to have access to reliable child care and great local schools. We are investing in programs and facilities that can help meet that need.”

To help meet that need, UMF is renovating a former call center at 274 Front Street (right across the street from campus) into the future home of its nationally accredited Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center.

UMF's new Sweatt-Winter Early Childhood Education Center
Building located at 274 Front Street in Farmington to be renovated for new UMF Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center

Expected to open in January 2023, the new 10,384 square foot state-of-the-art child care and academic facility will allow UMF to create at least 20 slots for high-quality infant and toddler care in Franklin County, and increase enrollment in its undergraduate and graduate Early Childhood Education programs by at least 20% in support of critical state workforce needs in the sector that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

This larger, expanded facility will replace the existing Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center (which is at capacity), located on campus.

The NEW facility will be your new state-of-the-art learning & working lab — right across the street from campus. Here, you’ll work with young children and their families, your mentoring UMF professors and other professionals as you gain the real-work, hands on experience and skill set employers are desperately seeking.

This is where classroom theory meets real education practice — you’ll experience first-hand why UMF Works.

Student teacher working with a child in a school classroomTeacher Education-focused Open House – Friday, October 21

Think you want to teach? Perfect! You’ve come to the best place.

We invite you to our special Teacher Education-focused Open House — a day designed to provide you with hands-on experiences that will showcase why UMF graduates are such sought after educators. Meet with our Education faculty, current Education students and Education alumni.

They’ll share their experiences and describe the wide array of teacher education opportunities available to you here at UMF: Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Elementary Education, Secondary / Middle Education, School Health Education, Special Eduation, World Languages Education K-12 and more.

Campus tours, lunch in South Dining Hall and separate sessions for families are all part of this special teaching-focused day.

Come find out why UMF is considered one of the premier teacher education schools in New England.

Teacher Education Open House

The University of Maine at Farmington Early Childhood Education program is well-respected in part because our students are required to practice in early childhood settings — putting classroom theory into observable hands-on practice.

Our program is based on National Association for the Education of Young Children standards for teacher preparation and is CAEP accredited.

Our Education students describe their senior year Student Teaching assignment as the most meaningful experience of their UMF career. It’s when they’re teamed with a mentor school teacher (often a UMF alumnus) and they get to put into practice in a school classroom what they’ve learned in their UMF college classes.

See More About Student Teaching

Portrait of Early Childhood Education graduate Crystal Macomber “During my time at Farmington, I worked as a reading tutor at Mallett Elementary School and a Teacher Assistant for Professor Clawson. My senior year at UMF, I took on teaching remote kindergarten for a local school. Like many teachers, this was my first experience teaching fully online. Although there were some challenges and many hurdles, I felt prepared to take on each day and new challenges because of the overwhelming support and knowledge I gained at UMF.

Working with Professor Clawson when UMF first went remote helped me learn how to navigate an online classroom presence which ultimately later helped me with getting a teaching job.

This fall, I’m teaching my first in-person class and I couldn’t be more excited.”

— Crystal Macomber
Kindergarten Teacher
Early Childhood Education

You can choose one of three Early Childhood Education options:

  • Early Education and Care Option (non-certification) prepares you to work with children birth to age 5 and their families. You select a specialization of your choosing.
  • Birth to 5 Education Option (certification) leads to Maine Teacher Certification allowing you to teach in a variety of early childhood settings, including pre-Kindergarten classrooms in public schools.
  • K-3 Education Option (certification) leads to Maine Teacher Certification allowing you to teach in Early Childhood settings including Kindergarten through 3rd grade classrooms in public schools.

Graduates of our Early Childhood Education program are eligible for jobs in a variety of settings, including childcare, Head Start, pre-Kindergarten, community and recreational programs and grades K-3 in public and private schools.

The University of Maine at Farmington is considered one of the premier teacher education programs in New England.

At our founding in 1864, the University of Maine at Farmington (then called Western State Normal School) took an innovative approach to teacher education, integrating a strong liberal arts foundation into teacher training. Our founders believed that only those with a strong background in the liberal arts could effectively teach the arts and sciences. Obvious as that may seem, it was not the rule among teacher education programs of the time.

More than 150 years later, the University of Maine at Farmington continues to be recognized for its innovation and excellence in teacher preparation.

  • UMF is one of only three nationally accredited teacher education programs in Maine
  • UMF was the first in Maine to receive national CAEP accreditation (formerly NCATE) 
  • UMF received full Maine State Board of Education accreditation
  • UMF full-time faculty supervise you in your off-campus practicum and student-teaching field experiences

The UMF Center for Assistive Technology is the only public or private university-based assistive technology lending and demonstration center in Maine.

Here, you’ll have full access to specialized on-campus education-focused resources such as UMF’s Children’s Programs and our Spenciner Curriculum Materials Center, which includes assistive technology resources, children’s literature, and early childhood curricula materials.

Assistive Technology is any device or product that makes it easier for someone with a disability to live more independently.

Bright From the Start: The Best Teachers Started at Farmington.

  • 2019 National Education Assoc. Foundation Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence recipient, Dan Ryder, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2017 Maine Elementary Principal of the Year, Jennifer McGee ’86, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2017 Maine Teacher of the Year, Tammy Ranger ’99, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Dorman ’93, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2015 Maine Elementary School Principal of the Year, Tracy Williams ’82, is a UMF Education graduate
  • 2014 Maine Elementary School Principal of the Year, Melanie Ellsworth ’84, is a UMF Education graduate
  • Since 2006 seven UMF Education graduates have been named Maine Teacher of the Year


  • UMF Education graduates have received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
  • UMF Education graduates received the prestigious Milken Family Foundation Educator Award
  • UMF Education graduates have been named Maine History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehman Institute of America
  • A UMF Education graduate is an Adult Space Camp graduate and earned certification at the Google Teacher Academy in London
  • A UMF Education graduate received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Award
  • A UMF Education graduate received the prestigious Apple Design Award
  • UMF was featured as a Newsweek.com Great Teaching School

Farmington Education grads get hired.

According to a 2020 survey of UMF Education graduates over the past three years, 83% of respondents indicated being employed in the field of education, with 85% hired within a year of graduation and 73% employed within four months of graduation.

Overall, 94.3% of respondents indicated they were Very Satisfied or Satisfied with their teacher education preparation at UMF.

This program will prepare you to be eligible for licensure in the State of Maine. Visit the UMaine System State Authorization & Licensure page to learn more about the licensure requirements in other states and territories, in addition to the contact information needed to inquire further into the licensure requirements associated with this program.

See Where Our Grads Teach
Got questions? Ask a professor in this program

Contact Us

Office of Admissions
University of Maine at Farmington
246 Main Street
Farmington, Maine USA 04938-1994
tel  207-778-7050
fax  207-778-8182
TYY (via Maine Relay Service) dial 711