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Department of Teaching & LearningEarly Childhood Education

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Students walking outside near Brock Commons.

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


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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.


Dr. Kristine Sunday

KRISTINE SUNDAY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR


Kristine Sunday is an Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning at Old Dominion University and serves as Co-Director of the Darden College of Education & Professional Studies Literacy Center. Her teaching and research interests focus on intersections between art and early childhood education, with emphasis on children's drawing, materiality, and early childhood teaching practice. She holds a PhD in Art Education from The Pennsylvania University.