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Early Childhood Program

Program Highlights


Degree Options

Early Childhood, Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Early Childhood Studies: Birth - Age 5, Bachelor of Science (BS)

One-Year Certificate - Child Care Practice Certificate



Students in SUNY Cobleskill’s Early Childhood programs have multiple opportunities to interact with infants through 5-year-olds while observing how early childhood professionals work with, guide, and present lessons to the children.

Current research from the fields of developmental psychology, early education, infant mental health, cultural anthropology/family studies, and pediatric science is woven throughout the curriculum to ensure students understand the complex nature of early development and learning.

In addition to our conventional classrooms, the College operates two excellent early childhood laboratory schools, the Cobleskill Campus Child Care Center and a half-day preschool program at the Child Development Center. It bears noting that, while many colleges have either just one lab school or none at all, the fact that SUNY Cobleskill has two helps set our programs apart.

The mission of the Early Childhood program is to provide guidance and learning opportunities, including authentic experiences, to students who choose to work with children and families as they become early childhood professionals.

Students are engaged in course work, research, child observation, and field-based experiences working directly with very young children and families in community agencies and educational settings. Graduates are preparing for employment and/or advanced study that requires deep knowledge of early development, best practices in early care and education, and effective methods of family engagement. E-portfolios are developed during practicum and internship. Sample courses include:

  • Child Growth & Development
  • Infants & Toddlers
  • Intro to Community Agencies
  • Applications in Child & Family
  • Adolescent Psychology
  • Child Psychology
  • Sociology of the Family
  • Foundations of Modern Education
  • Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Child & Family Wellness
  • Positive Child Guidance
  • Exceptional Children
  • Curriculum and Methods
  • Literary Development in Young Children
  • Math/Science for Young Children
  • Anti-Bias Strategies: A Human Relations Approach
  • Conflict Resolution: Creating a Peaceful Environment

A degree in Early Childhood Studies from SUNY Cobleskill can open up career opportunities in many different professional settings. An employment survey of our 2017 BS alumni showed a wide variety of placements, such as:

  • Early Intervention case worker and technical consultant
  • Early Head Start and Head Start Lead teachers
  • Lead teacher in an infant-thru-school-age child care center
  • Proprietor of an in-home child care business
  • Teacher of*:
    • Public kindergarten
    • UPK
    • 2nd grade
    • Special education
    • High school Consumer & Family Science
  • Family Court Child Advocate
  • Infant/Toddler Technical Assistant in NYC and the capital district
  • Teachers at private schools, such as Waldorf, Springbrook and Montessori
  • Domestic violence program worker at Catholic Charities
  • Caseworker, Department of Social Services

*NYS Certification requires completion of Board of Education requirements via a Master’s program or “Alternative” pathway.

Students have two ways to study abroad in the Early Childhood program. They may choose from several international study-abroad classes, each for 3 credits. These are held in such diverse locations as Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Poland, Ireland, Spain, Canada, Peru, Mexico, Turkey, China, Australia and Anguilla.

Additionally, students may elect to do their internship work at an international site. Past venues have included Australia, Anguilla and Turkey.

Two types of internships are required. At the associate degree level, a practicum must be conducted, for a total of 225 hours. At the baccalaureate level, a standard internship must be undertaken, for 450 hours.

As mentioned above, because we maintain a number of MOUs with several New York State graduate schools, SUNY Cobleskill can guarantee that students who complete their BS degree will be admitted to a graduate program. Some of the participating schools are:

  • College of Saint Rose
  • Long Island University
  • Mercy College
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (education for the deaf) 
  • SUNY Cortland
  • SUNY Plattsburgh
  • Utica College

Students in the Early Childhood programs at SUNY Cobleskill can take advantage of a unique array of facilities for use in the course of their studies. Most notable among these are our two On-Campus EC Laboratory Schools: the Effie Bennett-Powe Child Development Center (for preschool), and the Cobleskill Campus Child Care Center (for infants through school age children).

Students and faculty at the annual early childhood conference

Early Childhood students and faculty at the New York Association for the Education of Young Children's Annual Conference at Turning Stone Resort, in Verona, New York. This powerful day of learning emphasized excellence in early care and education services through advocacy and the support of the profession.

Our Early Childhood Association is open to any student interested in the education and welfare of young children. The association’s purpose is to raise money for community programs serving children, to provide special programs for community children, and to provide information to the public regarding children’s needs and rights.

Elise WeissElise N. Weiss, M.S. Ed.

Assistant Dean for the Teaching Faculty 
Department Chair of Early Childhood
Assistant Professor of Early Childhood
Director, Effie Bennett-Powe Child Development Center
Wheeler Hall 216 & Holmes Hall 232A 

Elise began her teaching career as a New York State-certified elementary school teacher in Delhi, New York. One of the highlights of working in K-12, besides her individual students, was guiding student teachers as they practiced lesson planning and prepared themselves for entry into the field. After ten years in K-12, Elise moved her career into higher education to continue her passion for educating future teachers.

Elise has been teaching at SUNY Cobleskill for almost 20 years. She also serves as Program Director of the Effie Bennett-Powe Child Development Center and works closely with the Cobleskill Campus Child Care Center. She recently was awarded a grant under the SUNY Early Childhood Paid Internship Program. Elise takes pride in promoting leadership and community engagement among students. She emphasizes the importance of team teaching, partnerships with families, and effective communication. Elise collaborates with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to bring the early childhood education curriculum “Growing Up Wild” to her students. Through this program, B.S. students earn a certificate and learn about building on children’s sense of wonder about nature as they explore wildlife. Elise has also developed the following four micro-credentials for the EC program: Trauma Informed Practices for Early Childhood Professionals, Nanny Studies, Going Virtual with Young Children, and American Sign Language.

Elise’s education includes a Master of Science in Reading K-12, a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, N-6, from SUNY Oneonta, and PhD coursework at the University of Albany in Educational Theory and Practice.

Suzanne FineSuzanne Fine

Associate Professor
Warner Hall 200

Suzanne has been a professor at SUNY Cobleskill for over 20 years, teaching a variety of Early Childhood courses and supervising interns and practicum students, both on campus and off. She was a Master Teacher in the Effie Bennett-Powe Child Development Center for nearly a decade, collaborating with families and supervising second-year Early Childhood students during their practicum experience at the center.

Suzanne has had a variety of teaching experiences, including working with toddlers in upstate New York, teaching preschool in the Boston area, and elementary school in rural Virginia. She earned a Master's degree in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was also a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Early Childhood Education.

Suzanne most recently completed a Persona Doll Research Project with her students enrolled in the course Anti-Bias Strategies: A Humanistic Approach. Persona Dolls are used to help children deal with issues of identity, diversity, and discriminatory teasing and exclusion. After receiving a grant from the New York Association for the Education of Young Children to purchase the dolls she worked with the practicum students in the Effie Bennett-Powe Child Development Center on campus to incorporate the dolls into the curriculum.

Carol MorrisCarol A. S. Morris, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Warner Hall 216

Dr. Morris has been involved with the care of young children almost since she was a young child herself. From babysitting and being a nanny, to childcare as an infant-toddler and preschool teacher, to becoming an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant and, finally, to teaching the next generation of early childhood professionals, the care and education of young children has been the primary focus of her career from the start.

More recently, Dr. Morris has become interested in infant-early childhood mental health and is a member of the Schoharie County Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Team and has earned endorsement as a Research Faculty Mentor through the New York State Association of Infant Mental Health. Other interests of hers include singing, sewing and needlework, and taking care of her miniature poodle.


Gail WentworthGail E. Wentworth, Ed. D.

Professor of Early Childhood
Frisbie Hall 214

Gail is Professor of Early Childhood Studies at SUNY Cobleskill. She earned her BA, MEd and EdD degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She worked and studied in a variety of international settings and brings empathy and respect for human diversity to her work.

Gail’s latest project is to develop a new upper-level course and an academic minor for Cobleskill on children with disabilities. Her Spring 2023 sabbatical will be devoted to graduate study and field observations to advance her knowledge about special education and young children.

Gail is also founder and coordinator of Generations Together, a new Inter-Generational program at the college. Generations Together is a grassroots program designed to provide social engagement, cognitive/physical stimulation, and respite for person’s living with dementia and their caregivers. It was temporarily closed due to the pandemic, but plans are in the works to re-open in the future.

A professional in the Early Childhood field for over 30 years, Gail’s passion is guiding college students to become highly effective educators, caregivers, and advocates for young children and other populations.

Kelly YacobucciKelly Yacobucci

Library 211

Kelly is a SUNY Cobleskill alum with three degrees (Business Administration, Early Childhood, and Child Care and Development). She obtained my Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from SUNY Empire where she excelled at online learning.

Kelly has been employed at SUNY Cobleskill for the past 14 years in a variety of capacities, including teaching ENGL 101, ENGL 121, COMM 301, FFCS 101, and ECHD 170. She was the FYE Coordinator for several years, and then moved into working with the Honors Program. Within the last year, Kelly was tasked with creating a teaching and learning center while finding her roots back in the Early Childhood curriculum.

Keeping up with latest research and trends in the professional field, the college’s 2 Early Childhood programs incorporate the study of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and ‘trauma-informed’ practices.

Graduates, therefore, are prepared to promote healthy social and emotional development, self-regulation, and resiliency among young children and families. In spring 2018, a new upper level course in Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health was offered to delve deeper into issues of mental health for children birth to age 5 and families.

Students will explore aspects of child rearing/parenting, child care, education, and communities that help or hinder the development of emotional well-being and positive social relationships. Course content will be aligned with the New York State Association of Infant Mental Health (NYS AIMH) and its endorsement levels.

Learn More About Our Learning Facilities

Effie Bennett-Powe
Child Development Center
Cobleskill Campus
Child Care Center

Early Childhood Education Best Schools 2018 Badge from Schools.com
Schools.com has ranked SUNY Cobleskill in the top 10 for best Early Childhood Education in 2018. Congratulations to our exceptional faculty and staff!


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