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PreK–K Program

The undergraduate early childhood education PreK-K Program in the Department of Child and Family Studies is designed to prepare students to obtain the Tennessee Early Development and Learning PK-K teacher license in order to teach children with and without disabilities, birth through age five. The PreK–K courses emphasize studying child development in context and developing fundamental instructional strategies within authentic field experiences.

The PreK–K track contains courses designed to meet state licensure requirements and emphasizes learning through three basic tenets: (1) understanding child development theory in context, (2) examining early childhood education concepts that impact teaching and learning, and (3) providing opportunities to teach in a variety of settings. Once students have progressed into the program and successfully completed all of the core CFS requirements and PreK–K track courses, students must complete a semester-long student teaching practicum (CFS 472).

Read about how our Teacher Prep program received the highest possible ranking this year according to the newly released Teacher Preparation Report Card.


For all students interested in the program, progression is the formal acceptance into the major. In the case of Pre K–K candidates, progression is governed by applying for and being accepted into the Teacher Licensure program. However, before students can apply for the Teacher Licensure program, they must first become eligible through fulfilling the progression prerequisites. In order to be formally accepted into the teacher licensure program, students must complete the Admission Boards Interview Process.

Progression Prerequisites:

  • Completion of 60 undergraduate hours (junior standing)
  • A 2.7 minimum GPA
  • A score of 22 of the ENACT, or 1020 on the RSAT, or passing all three parts of the Core Academic Skills for Educators: math, reading, writing test
  • Minimum grade of “C” in all CFS courses
  • Successful completion of CFS 350 and enrollment in or completion of CFS 351
  • Pass a UT Hearing and Speech Evaluation
  • Completion of the Application Questionnaire for Admission

Steps to Progression:

Step 1: Meet the above prerequisites.
Step 2: Complete the Admission Boards Interview Process, as described in the Teacher Licensure Handbook.

Progression Considerations:

  1. Having the above prerequisites and being eligible to apply does not guarantee admission into the Teacher Licensure program. Candidates must also exhibit a strong knowledge base, professionalism in and outside of academic settings, experience with children, and abilities to collaborate and interact interpersonally.
  2. Once candidates have successfully been admitted into the program, they will have officially progressed into the CFS major (PreK–K track) in early development and learning (EDL).

Program Requirements

In order to complete the major in CFS, students must maintain basic curriculum requirements (described below), progress into the major via the aforementioned progression prerequisites and Admission Board Interview process, and complete the 12-hour senior practicum, CFS 472 (described in the next section). The basic curriculum requirements include:

  • Maintain a 2.7 minimum GPA over the course of undergraduate study.
  • Students must make no less than a “C” in all CFS courses.
  • Students must complete all core courses.
  • Students must successfully complete all track courses designated for Pre K–K interests.

Student Teaching Practicum

Student Teaching Practicum Overview

The major course of study concludes with a 12-credit-hour field-based experience that enables students to hone practical skills and knowledge in a work setting consistent with their personal and professional goals. PreK–K Interests will complete a semester-long student teaching Practicum.If you are currently following a PreK–K track and would like more information, please contact your assigned faculty advisor for details on applying, student teaching practicum placement options, prerequisites to the student teaching practicum, and other general information necessary for successful completion of the student teaching practicum and program.

Important Progression Considerations

  • Students are expected to know the criteria they must meet in order to progress into the program and should regularly monitor their progress in meeting these criteria.
  • Students must work closely with advisors to ensure that they understand the requirements for progression and that they strictly follow the application process for the practicum experience of their choice. Students are advised to start working with faculty advisors as early as possible.
  • If students do not appear able to meet these criteria, they are encouraged to work closely with their faculty advisor to plan an alternative educational program.

Declaring PreK–K

If you are interested in this program, you will first need to visit the Advising Center in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) to meet with an advisor. The center is located at 332 Bailey Education Complex (1122 Volunteer Blvd.) and appointments can be made by calling 865-974-8194. Advisors will discuss all of the information summarized above, go over the CFS program and curriculum, look over your degree audit report (DARS), and academic transcript(s) to ensure this program is the best fit for your needs. Also visit the CEHHS Advising Center online for further information. Please note that it is in your best interest to start this process as early in the academic career as possible.

Advising Information

Upon reaching junior status (60+ hours) and having a minimum 2.5 GPA, CFS students will be contacted by the Admin. Program Specialist, Rachel clement, to schedule group advising sessions. These advising sessions are mandatory for all rising CFS juniors, as they are vital to students’ success in registering for upper level CFS courses. If you are a rising junior and you do not receive a Group Advising email from Rachel Heston, please reach out to her through email at


PreK–K Internship Coordinator
Melody Hobbs 

Undergraduate Admin. Program Specialist
Rachel Heston