The University of Houston-Clear Lake will begin offering a new degree in fall 2022 for those interested in focusing on early childhood education, the university announced in a news release.

UHCL is among eight Texas Educator Preparation Programs offering a degree specifically for teachers interested in teaching early childhood years. UHCL will offer a Bachelor of Science in education with an early childhood prekindergarten through third grade certification.

“We see the value in early childhood education with coursework rich in content for these grade levels,” said Shanna Graves, an associate professor of early childhood education at UHCL, in the release. “We are happy not to have to stretch the courses all the way to sixth graders because the children’s needs are so different. Principals can take comfort in knowing they will have the right people in those lower grades.”

No other four-year university in the Houston area offers the certification, Graves said in the release. The coursework in the degree plan is strictly tailored to younger learners, she added.

“These are foundational years for children, so it’s critical to have the right teachers providing that foundation,” Graves said.