Florida Southern College is establishing a unique interdisciplinary program pairing early childhood education and pediatric health. The college believes it’s the first of its kind in the United States.

  • Program will train future teachers, nurses to identify issues that impact learning
  • Program expected to be running by Fall 2019
  • New building on campus will house program

The college already has an early learning preschool, serving students ages three to six, where education majors get hands-on training. With the new program, the students will get to work alongside nursing students.

"Both of them will learn together how children normally develop, any signs of health issues that might impair that and to work collaboratively with each other learning about each other's roles,” said Dr. Linda Comer, Dean of School of Nursing and Health Sciences

"We will be really pleased to expand that program and provide even greater clinical experiences for those education majors,” said Dr. Tracey Tedder, Dean of School of Education and Head of the School of Roberts Academy.

Tedder said future teachers and nurses will be trained to identify issues that impact childhood learning, such as vision and hearing problems, dyslexia, and oral health concerns.

Elementary education student Carole Ann Salb thinks the new program will give her a leg up when applying for jobs.

"I'm hoping to learn all types of things honestly, especially from the nursing side how assessments are done and how evaluations are done," said Carole Ann Salb, an Elementary Education major. "That's something that we really don't get a whole lot of.” 

The college is building the Carol Jenkins Barnett Center For Early Childhood Learning and Health to house the new program. The new building will also allow the college to expand its preschool, which currently has a wait list of quadruple its current capacity.

The building was named after Carol Jenkins Barnett, daughter of Publix Super Markets founder George Jenkins, because she’s one of the nation’s leading advocates for children, according to the college’s President, Dr. Anne Kerr.  Barnett and her husband are also graduates of the college. 

Tedder expects the new program to be up and running by the fall of 2019.