Early Childhood Education

Our Mission

The mission of the Early Childhood program within the Department of Teaching and Learning at Old Dominion University is to prepare early childhood professionals with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to support the work of young children and their families within a variety of learning environments. The faculty share a commitment to two broad views that unite graduate study across degree programs: (1) a focus on an image of the child that reflects the multiplicities of children and childhood that positions them as rich, competent, and complex social actors (2) a democratic approach towards early childhood that attends to socially-just educative practices that recognize the many modalities by which children learn, express, and communicate.

Undergraduate and Master's degree students develop understandings of learning, teaching, and the role of research in promoting a vision of early childhood education that is deep, rigorous, and relevant to all children. Doctoral students become qualified as researchers and teacher educators to work within institutions of higher education, non-profit settings, or other academic environments to further understandings of the child, childhood, and the complex phenomena that impact the lived realities of children's experiences.

Our commitment, to both research and practice, supports the agency of children through a focus on emerging scholarship, methods, and approaches that maintain a critical negotiation of traditional and re-conceptualized approaches to early childhood development, care, and education and the perspective that a professional career in early childhood is both an intellectual and ethical pursuit.

Core Faculty


Angela Eckhoff

Associate Professor

Angela Eckhoff is an Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning and director of the Virginia Early Childhood Policy Center at Old Dominion University in Virginia. She holds a dual PhD from the University of Colorado -Boulder in Educational Psychology and Cognitive Science. She is a coeditor of the Growing in STEM column for Young Children and the Full STEAM Ahead column for Teaching Young Children from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dr. Eckhoff researches informal learning environments for children and families, the role of creativity in child development and learning, as well as arts-based early childhood pedagogical practices.

Seongryeong Yu

Seongryeong Yu

Assistant professor

Dr. Seongryeong Yu is an assistant professor of Teaching and Learning in the Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a dual major in Comparative and International Education from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Yu's research focuses on investigating the diverse language-literacy practices of young children in various cultural and geographic contexts, emphasizing their meaning-making, learning, and sense of belonging. Her work explores how children negotiate identities, shape linguistic repertoires, and develop a fluid sense of self through their literacy practices, contributing crucial insights to build an inclusive classroom environment.

Michelle Arnold


Michelle Arnold is an avid learner and educator, serving as a lecturer of elementary methods at Old Dominion University. Dr. Arnold also works with the elementary education (preK-6) master's program with initial licensure. She holds a PhD and master's degree from Old Dominion University and a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary. Dr. Arnold is interested in pedagogy that generates interest and engagement among students and the ways diversity influences student interest and engagement. Currently, her research and service center around home literacy practices and creating access to literacy-rich experiences. Prior to joining academia at Old Dominion University, Dr. Arnold was a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and reading specialist serving Title I schools in Virginia.