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ECE program curriculum

With college-level courses that provide students with an understanding of the different facets of early childhood education, our ECE program curriculum is designed to be a well-rounded first step toward a career working with children.

From child development and cultural diversity to creative expression, play, and development, our electives cover a range of topics under the ECE umbrella. You’ll also have the option to apply your studies to the professional education requirement section of your Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.

Required course

E01 - Careers in Early Childhood Education  

This course offers a look at the foundations of early childhood education, current trends, and the importance of educating young children from birth to age eight. You'll learn how to meet the needs of every child in every area of development, background, and ability.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Describe early childhood education, and explain how the current trends reflect the past influences.
  • Explain how to support child development with the use of developmentally appropriate practices.
  • Explain how teachers meet the individual and cultural needs of all of their students.
  • Describe how a teacher can create positive relationships with families and caring communities in the classroom.
  • Design curriculum plans that will enhance learning and development.
  • Utilize effective strategies for teaching various subjects including language arts, math, science, and social studies.
  • Employ effective strategies for helping children become aware of the world around them as well as their own emotions, health, and physical fitness.
  • Describe children's learning, and implement appropriate teaching strategies to foster continued growth.

Credit Hours: 3

Course electives

E02 - Child Development  

This course examines childhood development by observing physical and psychosocial factors that lead to cognitive, language, and literacy development according to a child's age.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Describe current theories and types of research in early childhood development.
  • Explain sociocultural, economic, emotional, and psychological factors associated with becoming parents.
  • Discuss assessment and care of newborns, health issues involved with infancy, and family changes after the birth of a new child.
  • Use theories related to physical, cognitive, language, and literacy development of toddlers.
  • Apply psychosocial, language, and literacy development in children ages one through three.
  • Recognize expected patterns of physical and motor development in children ages four through five and the major factors that influence them.
  • Identify cognitive development in children ages four through five and physical development in children ages six through nine.
  • State factors influencing emotional, neurological, and motor development in children ages six through nine.

Credit Hours: 3

E03 - Curriculum Development  

This course focuses on the purpose of curriculum, the elements to consider when developing curriculum, and how to meet the needs of all children in your classroom.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Explain Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) as it relates to curriculum in the early childhood classroom.
  • Plan small and large group activities that are developmentally appropriate.
  • Describe the space and materials needed in an early childhood classroom that complement a child's ability to gain self-regulation.
  • Discuss assessments and evaluations and how to effectively share these with caregivers.
  • Explain the aesthetic and affective domains and how to effectively implement these in DAP.
  • Explain the cognitive and language domains and how to effectively implement these in DAP.
  • Explain the physical and social domains and how to effectively implement these in DAP.
  • Create organized, effective DAP curriculum that integrates play.

Credit Hours: 3

E04 - Guidance and Discipline  

Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning. Have you ever had a child stick their tongue out at you? How about the eye roll? Behaviors such as those are why courses such as this exist. This course will take you through guidance and discipline, two very important aspects in the world of teaching. In this course, you'll learn the reasoning behind a child's behavior and explore why a "one size fits all" approach is rarely effective in the classroom.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Discuss the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development impacting child behavior.
  • Explain ways to prevent discipline problems through the classroom environment and program planning.
  • Describe how desirable behavior can be achieved through effective modeling and communication.
  • Explain how to help children understand and accept limits.
  • Contrast punishment versus discipline.
  • Describe childlike behaviors and unmet needs that lead to behavior problems.
  • Discuss how to meet children's academic, social, cultural, linguistic, stress, and vulnerability needs.
  • Analyze discipline problems from knowledge previously gained.

Credit Hours: 3

E05 - Children's Literature  

Literature is a core component of an early childhood curriculum. This course will teach you how to select and evaluate appropriate resources and how to use these resources in a classroom to meet specific educational objectives.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Apply your understanding of literary elements to evaluate the quality of children's fiction and nonfiction books.
  • Explain how teachers should choose a story to read aloud to help children develop understanding and meaning from literature.
  • Summarize knowledge of diversity in literature to create appropriate classroom activities.
  • Create and plan literature programs for emergent readers.
  • Discuss how to select and how children learn from poetry.
  • Identify the significance of informational books in the classroom.
  • Outline how books of various genres are evaluated and selected.
  • Describe the role of story and literature in the personal and academic lives of children.

Credit Hours: 3

E06 - Creative Expression and Play  

Have you ever wondered why play is so important for children and why it's a core component of an early childhood curriculum? This course will show the importance of play and teach students how to integrate play into the art, music, movement, and drama curricula. Creative Expression and Play analyzes the connection between play and creativity and will demonstrate techniques for fostering creativity.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to do the following:

  • Examine the dimensions of creativity that make it both a thinking process and a feeling process.
  • Explain the different ways play helps young children develop in areas such as cognitive, language, literacy, social, physical, and creative growth.
  • Identify the ways children learn through art.
  • Summarize the educational value of music, movement, dance, and drama.
  • Develop specific teaching strategies that will promote creative thought and expression in children.
  • Analyze teachers' roles in assessing and the influence of culture on children's creativity.
  • Explain key features of creative environments.
  • Examine the different types of play and learning materials for young children of various ages.

Credit Hours: 3

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Program Description

The Early Childhood Education program is designed to provide you with a foundation of knowledge in Early Childhood Education along with career-focused skills and best practices you can use to start a career in the field or advance a current one. These studies can also be applied to the professional education requirement section of the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™.

Program Objectives

After completing the Early Childhood Education program, you’ll be able to do the following:

  1. Examine strategies to help children learn about the world around them as well as their emotions, health, nutrition, and safety.
  2. Assess the needs of every child in every area of development, background, and ability.
  3. Describe the physical and social-psychological developments of growing children and how these impact cognitive abilities.
  4. Evaluate appropriate resources for an early childhood curriculum.
  5. Discuss the importance of creative play, art, music, and movement in an effective early childhood curriculum.
  6. Explain the importance of meeting the cultural needs of students and fostering good relationships with families.

Make a career in ECE a reality

With a broad understanding of what it takes to shape young minds in an early childhood education role, you’ll graduate with the confidence to pursue higher education and employment in the field. We’ll give you exclusive access to our Career Tools, which comes with one-on-one interview guidance and resume writing workshops. Additional professional development resources, such as how to build your brand on social media and use technology in your job search, are also available through The Ashworth College Central Network.

Top grade career tools and tips

The Undergraduate Certificate in Early Childhood Education is more than just a semester toward the next degree level, it's your launch pad for career growth. Make every lesson count by taking advantage of the career services provided by the Ashworth College Central Network. From the moment you enroll, you gain access to a complete toolkit of resume and letter templates so you can pitch your new job skills before your coursework is done. After you graduate, feel free to revisit your account any time. Learn more on the Career Services page.

Advance your career in our online API Program Name program. Call 1-800-957-5412