Early Childhood Education

Associate Degree

Program Outline

This outline covers all four semesters of your at-home degree program. You will receive credit for previous college coursework if you meet Penn Foster standards. If you wish to receive credit for previous coursework, contact the college you attended and ask that your transcripts be forwarded to Penn Foster for evaluation. All previous college work must have been completed with a grade of "C" or better, and as much as 75% of the required credits may be transferred. We will also credit your tuition for all the courses that are acceptable.

Upon completing your online basic skills assessments, your first course will be sent immediately. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams, so that you will always have training materials to work with.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program. Access to Microsoft® Office 365 is a requirement for this program.

Online Library and Librarian
Students at Penn Foster College have access to an online library during their college studies. Students can use the library to do the required course research or for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and will assist students in research activities.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal
To prepare graduates for employment, but also provide the foundation for entry into Bachelor of Science programs, and includes at least 30 semester credits in general education subjects.

Program Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge of child development and learning in an early childhood setting
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the development and execution of family and community relationships
  • Apply best practices, observation, and assessment to enhance learning and development
  • Plan, evaluate, and design curriculum appropriate for the education of young children
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of individuality and cultural diversity to assist in creating a meaningful curriculum
  • Demonstrate a commitment to and an awareness of the need for lifelong professional growth, learning, community involvement, and advocacy in regards to current early childhood research, practices, and issues
  • Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of foundational concepts in the general education areas including science, mathematics, English composition, and the social sciences

 

Semester 1

Basic Skills Assessment
All degree applicants are required to complete two Basic Skills Assessments, one in reading and one in math, to determine the level of readiness for beginning their selected program. Additional studies may be required.

Orientation to Early Childhood Education (1 credit)
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program, and learn how to be an effective child care professional.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
  • Understand the components of quality child care and the responsibilities of the caregiver.
  • Reflect and develop your own child care beliefs and principles.
  • Determine where you best fit in the child day care industry.

Information Literacy (1 credit)
Get better at finding and using information!

Objectives:

  • Search the Internet more effectively.
  • Get tips about search engines and reliable websites.
  • Learn how to search libraries and other information centers for important, useful information.

Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child (3 credits)
Each day seems to bring more dire news about health, especially children’s health. However, early childhood educators and staff have the potential to create enormous, positive changes in the way children eat, exercise, and avoid injurious habits.

Objectives:

  • Understand the components of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Develop programs designed to promote healthy lifestyles.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Healthy Young Children: A Manual for Programs

Essentials of Psychology (3 credits)
Learn about the relationship between biology and behavior.

Objectives:

  • Describe major theories in psychology.
  • Compare consciousness, memory, thought, and language.
  • Define intelligence, personality, and stress.
  • Analyze the role of gender in psychology.
  • Understand how community influences behavior.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Psychology and Your Life

General Education Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

HUM102-Art Appreciation
In this course, you will gain an understanding of artistic media, historical periods and artistic movements, the roles of the artist and the viewer, and the principles of art criticism.

Objectives:

  • Define the language, visual elements, and principles of design of art
  • Identify two-dimensional media
  • Identify three-dimensional media
  • Explain the evolution of art from ancient Mediterranean cultures through eighteenth century Europe
  • Identify features and popular examples of art throughout the history of African, Asian, Pacific, and American cultures
  • Compare the genres of the Modern and Postmodern eras of art from around the world

Textbook: Living with Art, 11th Edition

HUM104-Music Appreciation
In this course, you'll understand how to appreciate music by learning about the roles of the composer and the listener, the principles of music theory and instrumentation, musically significant historical periods, and varying styles of music.

Objectives:

  • Identify the building blocks of music a composer can use to create a piece, such as rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form, and timbre
  • Explain the evolution of Western music through history, from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century
  • Differentiate between the music of the baroque era and the musical styles of previous time periods
  • Recognize the major characteristics of classical music, including form, melody, and instrumentation
  • Discuss the musical trends and innovations that occurred during the romantic era
  • Trace the evolution of American popular music in the twentieth century
  • Recognize the influence of world music on modern Western composition

Textbook: Experience Music, Fourth Edition

Early Childhood Education Site Selection 1
Each semester you’ll be in an early childhood education setting. Identify an appropriate site, obtain your official clearances, and submit the paperwork for approval. You can use the same site to fulfill this requirement each semester without having to resubmit the required paperwork.

Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education (3 credits)
This course is designed to teach you the importance and benefit of early childhood education.

Objectives:

  • Describe the philosophies of various types of early childhood education programs.
  • Equip and organize an effective early childhood classroom.
  • Participate in a webinar and complete an observation report project.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Early Childhood Education Teaching Children in a Diverse Setting

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Semester 2

Early Childhood Education Site Selection 2
Each semester you’ll be in an early childhood education setting. Identify an appropriate site, obtain your official clearances, and submit the paperwork for approval. You can use the same site to fulfill this requirement each semester without having to resubmit the required paperwork.

Child Growth and Development (3 credits)
Child growth and development is impacted by both genetics and environment.

Objectives:

  • Understand the basics of child psychology.
  • Recognize the interplay of both genetics and the environment on child growth and development.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Child Development

Curriculum for Early Childhood Education (3 credits)
This course is designed to provide you with the skills to design an ECE curriculum.

Objectives:

  • Plan, develop, and implement curricula for early childhood education.

Additional Course Materials:
Textbook: Early Education Curriculum
Supplement: information, activities, and examinations needed to acquire these necessary skills

Early Childhood Education Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

ECE213-Art, Music, and Movement
Understand the role of art, music, and movement in a young child's education.

Objectives:

  • Understand how art and movement education address the physical, social/emotional, and cognitive development of young children.
  • Promote creativity and self-expression by enhancing curriculum with experiences in visual, auditory, and kinesthetic creativity.

ECE216-Language and Literacy Development in Young Children
Learn how important it is that teachers respect, understand, and dignify each child’s uniqueness while providing language-rich environments.

Objectives:

  • Promote each child’s self-esteem and self-efficacy.
  • Plan a comprehensive early childhood language arts program.
  • Describe the four major components of communication—speaking, listening, writing, and reading.

ECE217-Developing Math and Science Skills in Young Children
Learn how to integrate math and science with other content areas for young children from preschool through the primary grades.

Objective:

  • Study the guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

ECE160-Cultural Diversity in the Early Childhood Program
This course will challenge you to examine the cultural influences on your attitudes and behaviors and how those cultural influences affect your professional judgment and practice.

Objectives:

  • Analyze the cultural influences and differences in family childrearing practices, young children's social skills and behavior, and communication skills and styles.
  • Describe how culture influences emergent literacy.
  • Understand the importance of developing cultural competence.

ECE221-Administration of an Early Childhood Education Center
This course offers a comprehensive view of the procedures involved in establishing and administering a child care education program.

Objectives:

  • Learn how to staff and budget for day-to-day administration.
  • Learn about parent involvement and equipment acquisition.

ECE225-Family Child Care
This course includes the practical consideration of issues and responsibilities in providing family child care for infants and young children. Topics include developmental domains, developmentally appropriate practices, curriculum and creating a successful environment.

Objectives:

  • Identify typical milestones and recommended practices for promoting development across all developmental domains (physical, cognitive, emotional, and social growth) in young children
  • Identify activities that conform to DAP principles to meet the needs of a specific age level in early childhood education
  • Define the needs of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
  • Identify recommended practices for managing a multiage environment
  • Identify the components of an effective, developmentally appropriate early childhood curriculum
  • Describe the caregiver's role in arranging the environment
  • Identify the purpose of a daily schedule
  • Describe strategies for guiding children's behavior
  • Identify basic methods of assessment in the early childhood setting
  • Identify strategies for promoting early literacy, creativity, and play
  • Describe recommended policies and practices for transporting children

Prerequisites:
ECE100 Orientation to Early Childhood Education
ECE220 Child Growth and Development
ECE240-Assessment in Early Childhood Education

The current emphasis on producing high-quality, comprehensive programming for young children requires early-learning professionals to develop excellent observation and assessment skills.

Objectives:

  • Understand the purpose of observation and assessment in the early childhood classroom.
  • Describe the process of collecting and recording observations.
  • Foster child development in each learning area.
  • Share your observations with the children’s family members.

English Composition (3 credits)
Improve your writing skills.

Objectives:

  • Review English grammar.
  • Brainstorm, write, edit, and revise essays.
  • Write effective and clear thesis statements.
  • Write a descriptive, persuasive, and reflective essays as well as first-person narratives.

Additional Course Materials:
Textbook: Successful College Writing
Course Grammar Supplement: The Little, Brown Essential Handbook
Online supplements: The Parts of Speech, World Usage, and Sentence Skills

Computer Applications (3 credits)
In this course, you’ll become familiar with a personal computer.
Along the way, you’ll learn some excellent tips on effective use of the web and Microsoft® Office. Beyond this, you’ll have opportunities to practice what you’ve learned.

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Semester 3

Early Childhood Education Site Selection 3
Each semester you’ll be in an early childhood education setting. Identify an appropriate site, obtain your official clearances, and submit the paperwork for approval. You can use the same site to fulfill this requirement each semester without having to resubmit the required paperwork.

Working with Preschoolers (3 credits)
The preschool years are a special time in the life of young children. It's essential that teachers learn about and provide the types of activities and experiences preschool children need.

Objectives:

  • Understand how preschool children 3–5 years old learn and develop.
  • Create an appropriate learning environment for preschool children.
  • Complete two graded projects to practice your knowledge and skills.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Creating Environments for Learning: Birth to Age Eight

Infant and Toddler Care (3 credits)
Few things are as rewarding as seeing a child’s life unfold before your eyes. As we now know from brain research, the first three years of a child’s life are critical to all future development.

Objectives:

  • Understand the importance of the first three years of a child’s life.
  • Make your practice individualized and inclusive.
  • Complete a case study project and a final project.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers

Science Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

SCI120-Introduction to Biology
During this course, you’ll gain insight into the origin of life, the relationships among all living organisms, and even how your own body works.

Objectives:

  • Learn how organisms are structured and how they work.
  • Discuss the various forms of life and their processes.

SCI110-Earth Science
Survey a broad range of topics.

Objective:

  • Examine topics within the fields of geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy.

SCI140 - Nutrition
This course will allow you to develop a healthier lifestyle by making smarter nutritional decisions.

Objectives:

  • Explain the various components of nutrition as a science.
  • Describe nutrition from a global viewpoint.
  • Understand the importance of water and exercise.
  • Identify the basics of human growth and aging.
  • Discuss food safety procedures.

Interpersonal Communication (1 credit)
This course is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace.

Objectives:

  • Understand and explain the components of communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
  • Develop effective listening and observation skills.
  • Recognize prejudice in interpersonal relations.
  • Describe personal traits essential for successful interpersonal relations.

Play in the Lives of Young Children (3 credits)
This course offers an exciting exploration of the power of play in early childhood development and the early childhood curriculum.

Objectives:

  • Recognize the underpinning role of play in children’s early learning and development.
  • Understand how to use the power of play to meet established early childhood curriculum goals.
  • Integrate and enhance children’s academic development with children’s social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: An Integrated Play-based Curriculum for Young Children

Working with Children with Special Needs (3 credits)
For an early childhood educator, there’s nothing more rewarding than working with young children with special needs.

Objectives:

  • Describe the typical development of a child and how certain disabilities affect a child’s development.
  • Create an inclusive environment for children with special needs in a regular classroom.
  • Identify legal implication of including student with special needs.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: The Exceptional Child: Inclusion in Early Childhood Education

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

 

Semester 4

Early Childhood Education Site Selection 4
Each semester you’ll be in an early childhood education setting. Identify an appropriate site, obtain your official clearances, and submit the paperwork for approval. You can use the same site to fulfill this requirement each semester without having to resubmit the required paperwork.

Guidance in Early Childhood Education (3 credits)
This course is designed to provide you with ideas and guidelines to work with young children.

Objectives:

  • Describe the beliefs and philosophies of Piaget and Montessori.
  • Organize and manage a classroom that provides many learning opportunities and advantages.
  • Use intervention techniques to manage conflicts.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: A Guidance Approach for the Encouraging Classroom

Mathematics for Business and Finance (3 credits)
This course will provide a foundation in basic mathematical operations and applications. Because practice is the key to mathematical success, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice the concepts you learn!

Objectives:

  • Perform basic mathematical operations.
  • Prepare a bank statement and work with every day math applications such as invoices, payroll, interest, annuities, mortgages, financial statements, taxes, insurance, and investments.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Practical Business Math Procedures

Child, Family, and Community (3 credits)
Early childhood educators should be advocates for children and practitioners of best practices for working with children.

Objectives:

  • Positively connect the children’s world to the greater realm of adult society.
  • Use current research on interactions among families, schools, and communities to form a practical guide for early childhood educators.
  • Complete two graded projects to practice your knowledge and skills.

Additional Course Material:
Textbook: Child, Family, and Community

Early Childhood Education Electives (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

ECE213-Art, Music, and Movement
Understand the role of art, music, and movement in a young child's education.

Objectives:

  • Understand how art and movement education address the physical, social/emotional, and cognitive development of young children.
  • Promote creativity and self-expression by enhancing curriculum with experiences in visual, auditory, and kinesthetic creativity.

ECE216-Language and Literacy Development in Young Children
Learn how important it is that teachers respect, understand, and dignify each child’s uniqueness while providing language-rich environments.

Objectives:

  • Promote each child’s self-esteem and self-efficacy.
  • Plan a comprehensive early childhood language arts program.
  • Describe the four major components of communication—speaking, listening, writing, and reading.

ECE217-Developing Math and Science Skills in Young Children
Learn how to integrate math and science with other content areas for young children from preschool through the primary grades.

Objective:

  • Study the guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

ECE160-Cultural Diversity in the Early Childhood Program
This course will challenge you to examine the cultural influences on your attitudes and behaviors and how those cultural influences affect your professional judgment and practice.

Objectives:

  • Analyze the cultural influences and differences in family childrearing practices, young children's social skills and behavior, and communication skills and styles.
  • Describe how culture influences emergent literacy.
  • Understand the importance of developing cultural competence.

ECE221-Administration of an Early Childhood Education Center
This course offers a comprehensive view of the procedures involved in establishing and administering a child care education program.

Objectives:

  • Learn how to staff and budget for day-to-day administration.
  • Learn about parent involvement and equipment acquisition.

ECE225-Family Child Care
This course includes the practical consideration of issues and responsibilities in providing family child care for infants and young children. Topics include developmental domains, developmentally appropriate practices, curriculum and creating a successful environment.

Objectives:

  • Identify typical milestones and recommended practices for promoting development across all developmental domains (physical, cognitive, emotional, and social growth) in young children
  • Identify activities that conform to DAP principles to meet the needs of a specific age level in early childhood education
  • Define the needs of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
  • Identify recommended practices for managing a multiage environment
  • Identify the components of an effective, developmentally appropriate early childhood curriculum
  • Describe the caregiver's role in arranging the environment
  • Identify the purpose of a daily schedule
  • Describe strategies for guiding children's behavior
  • Identify basic methods of assessment in the early childhood setting
  • Identify strategies for promoting early literacy, creativity, and play
  • Describe recommended policies and practices for transporting children

Prerequisites:

ECE100 Orientation to Early Childhood Education
ECE220 Child Growth and Development
ECE240-Assessment in Early Childhood Education

The current emphasis on producing high-quality, comprehensive programming for young children requires early-learning professionals to develop excellent observation and assessment skills.

Objectives:

Understand the purpose of observation and assessment in the early childhood classroom.

Describe the process of collecting and recording observations.

Foster child development in each learning area.

Share your observations with the children’s family members.

Field Experience (6 credits)
The goal of this field experience is to provide you with the hands-on experience necessary to develop the skills needed by Early Childhood Education professionals. Practice these skills under the direct supervision of a certified teacher or credentialed Early Childhood Education professional. This field experience encompasses a minimum of 300 hours of observation and activities in an Early Childhood Education Center. Although we recommend that you complete your field experience in 12 weeks, you have a maximum of six months to finish. It is the responsibility of the student to secure a site for his/her field experience.

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete all 4 semesters.
  • Pass all courses.
  • Achieve a cumulative Quality Point Average (QPA) of 2.0 or higher.

 

CDA Credential Education Requirement
Penn Foster College's Early Childhood Education Associate Degree program fulfills the 120 hour educational requirement for those interested in earning their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential. For more information about CDA Credential requirements, click here.

 

NOTE: Advanced standing student shipments may vary from the above schedule.

A High School Diploma or GED is required to enroll in this degree program. Although this outline covers all four semesters of the Early Childhood Education Degree Program, you receive lesson materials for each semester as you enroll.

Because state education requirements vary for Early Childhood Education professionals, we recommend you check with the licensing agency in your state to find out what requirements you'll need to fulfill to obtain your license.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

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