About the Career
Early childhood professionals work in a variety of settings for children ages birth through eight years, including child care centers, Head Start centers, family child care homes, morning preschool programs, after-school programs, programs for children with differing abilities, summer camp programs, private schools, and public schools. In addition, early childhood professionals also work with home visitation programs, parenting programs, and early intervention programs.
Recent scientific research has confirmed the need for quality early care and education environments for all children, especially during this time of optimal brain growth and development. This has increased the demand for high-quality, early care and education programs and trained early childhood professionals. For students already working in a child care or early education setting, opportunities may be available for Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (TEACH) scholarships and other bonus incentives. Early childhood professionals work in partnership with families to create a nurturing environment, respectful of culture, and rich in experiences to promote the optimal growth and development of each child.
About the Program
The Early Childhood Development student will receive the tools and resources necessary to provide language and literacy rich environments, appropriate math and science skills, an inquiry based approach to learning about the world, and safe, healthy environments which promote the emotional and social well-being of all children. An emphasis is placed on a variety of learning styles and inclusive environments to meet the needs of all children. The program includes interactive classroom experiences as well as off-site experiences in a variety of child care and early education environments. Students will experience a variety of ages and curriculum models through site visits to nationally accredited child care facilities or public school child development programs.
Students completing the 18-hour Child Care Certificate are qualified to work in a child care center, family child care home, morning preschool program, after-school program, summer camp program and some private school programs. Students completing the 27-hour Early Childhood Development Certificate could work as a lead teacher in a Head Start center. The Infant/Toddler Certificate is designed for the child care professional who works with or is interested in working with children from birth through two years of age. The Associate Degree in Early Care and Education provides opportunities in all of the previous fields as well as administering a child care center and working as an instructional assistant in the public schools. The new 27 hours Special Needs Certificate program will provide information and resources for current and future early childhood educators to work with children with special needs.
The ECD program is nationally accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
ECD Mission Statement:
To empower current and future child care and early education professionals to inspire our youngest children to reach their fullest potential.