Professional/Technical Degree

Early Childhood Education, Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree

Area of Study
Social Sciences and Education
Program Coordinator

Anna King
(360) 417-6495
aking@pencol.edu

Program Description

Course work in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program combines theory and practical experience for work with young children and their families. Courses include child development, child behavior and guidance, children with special needs, planning early childhood learning environments, planning developmentally appropriate curriculum, and working with families. Practicum courses provide opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge to planning and presenting curriculum, and for working with children and staff in early childhood centers. Successful completion of this program leads to an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Early Childhood Education. Prospective ECE students should be aware of the fact that they will have to complete a background check.

As of fall 2019, this program requires students to achieve a grade of 2.0 or above in all ECED and EDUC classes to progress through and complete the program.

Program Length: 6 Quarters
Program Code: CCMECAPT

Career Opportunities and Earnings 

A variety of child care, preschool, school district, recreational, and community programs offer career opportunities in early childhood education. Also, opportunities are increasing for family support paraprofessionals in human service and mental health agencies. With additional experience, training, and education, graduates may pursue a variety of career pathways in education and administration. The demand for trained early childhood educators is increasing and should remain strong over the next several years.

  • Child care specialists
  • Curriculum program managers
  • Head Start/ECEAP preschool teachers/home visitors/family service advocates and school-age care staff
  • Paraprofessional educators in elementary schools
  • Teachers in childcare centers
  • Teacher’s assistant

For current employment and wage estimates, please visit and search for the relevant occupational term: bls.gov/oes/.

Program Outcomes

When this program is completed, the student will be able to:

  • Use evidence-based information about child development and learning to critically think and implement equitable teaching practices
  • Demonstrate effective relationship building skills with children, families, and community members
  • Utilize appropriate observation, documentation, and assessment information to support children’s development and families
  • Apply developmentally appropriate practices when working with children and families
  • Plan, implement, and evaluate meaningful curriculum for young children
  • Demonstrate personal characteristics, knowledge, and skills necessary to provide programs that facilitate children’s learning in a professional manner

Special Features

  • ECE students may pursue an Associate in Arts, Direct Transfer Agreement (AA-DTA) either independently of or simultaneously with the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. Contact program advisors for guidance on degree opportunities. Demonstrate effective relationship building skills with children, families, and community members.
  • In addition to the 90 credit degree and the 47 credit one-year certificate, short-term certificates are also available.
  • The ECE program is open entry with few prerequisite course requirements. Courses are offered online and may have a virtual class meeting in late afternoons and evenings to accommodate working students. Most courses are open to students for personal enrichment, elective, and continuing education credit.
  • ECE students may begin the program during any quarter and enroll part-time or full-time.
  • The on-campus childcare center serves as one the primary ECE laboratories for students. Lab experiences may also be arranged in other locations.
  • All courses have an online component.

Program Prerequisites

College-level skills in English and math (eligibility for courses numbered 100 or higher) are required before registering for the English and math courses required in this program. Students entering this program should have good computer and typing skills. Students may need to complete prerequisite coursework. The placement test will help determine placement level if not known. Previous coursework may also indicate placement level.

Approximate Additional Costs

  • Books, supplies and miscellaneous fees (per quarter): $500 
  • TB Test: $15
  • Food Handler’s Permit: $10
  • HIV/AIDS Training: $79 
  • First Aid Card: $120 
  • Background Check: $55

Sample Schedule  

This Sample Schedule is provided as a guide for a full-time student starting in fall quarter whose goal is to earn an Associate in Applied Science (AAS). The typical student schedule is based on entering the program during the fall quarter, however some programs allow students to enter in the winter or spring as well. Since not all do, please confirm with an advisor whether this program must be started during a specific quarter or not. 

First Quarter (Fall)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
5

Explore the foundations of early childhood education. Examine theories defining the field, issues and trends, best practices, and program models. Observe children, professionals in action. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 5

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5

Introduces basic concepts of equitable health, safety, and nutrition standards for the growing child in group care and education programs. Requirements as outlined in Chare Care Block Grant funding (CCDF) and state licensing standards for child care providers will be covered including the knowledge and skills to ensure appropriate health, nutritional, and safety practices. In addition, the course will emphasize the skills necessary to recognize signs of child maltreatment, the educator’s role as a mandated reporter and the process of identifying and referring families to available community resources. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 5

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2

This course will provide students an opportunity to focus on, develop and apply best practice for engaging in nurturing, supportive relationships with children, families, and professional peers in an early learning setting. Students will apply and additional focus of children’s health and safety while promoting growth and development to relationship building with children and families. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 2

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1

Overview of what to expect in an online course and how to make web-based learning more productive and rewarding. Meet in an online classroom that simulates a typical web-based learning environment. Students will learn how to use online courseware, navigate threaded discussions, locate articles and research materials, create an electronic presentation, and save electronic documents for presentation on the internet.

Credits: 1

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Sub-Total Credits
13

Second Quarter (Winter)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
5

Investigate learning theory, program planning, and methods for curriculum development promoting language, fine/gross motor, social-emotional, cognitive and creative skills and growth in young children birth through age 8 utilizing developmentally appropriate practice. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 5

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3

Collect and record observation and assessment data in order to plan for and support the child, the family, the group, and the community. Practice reflection techniques, summarizing conclusions, and communicating findings. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 3

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5

Build a functional understanding of the foundation of child development from conception through early adolescence in all domains of development as seen through various developmental theories. The impact of culture, race, gender identity, socioeconomic status, family status, and exceptionalities on overall development will be examined as well as current research regarding brain development. Methods of observing and documenting developmental growth will be examined. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved. (Formerly EDUC& 114, Elective)

Credits: 5

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3

Examine the principles and theories promoting social competence in young children and creating safe learning environments. Develop skills promoting effective interactions, providing positive individual guidance, and enhancing group experiences. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 3

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Sub-Total Credits
16

Third Quarter (Spring)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
5

Participation with children and staff in an approved early childhood center. Practice applying guidance procedures, implementing curriculum, and working cooperatively with staff. Lab assignments, six hours per week; seminar, one hour per week. This class may include students from multiple sections.

Credits: 5

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3

This class focuses on the adult's role in designing, evaluating, and improving indoor and outdoor environments that ensure quality learning, nurturing experiences, and optimize the development of young children. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 3

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3

Teaching strategies for language acquisition and literacy skill development are examined at each developmental stage (birth-age 8) through the four interrelated areas of speaking, listening, writing, and reading. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 3

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3

Integrate the family and community contexts in which a child develops. Explore cultures and demographics of families in society, community resources, strategies for involving families in the education of their child, and tools for effective communication. This class may include students from multiple sections.

Credits: 3

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FA 105 or FA 180  +
1
Sub-Total Credits
15

Fourth Quarter (Fall)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
2

Provides an overview of appropriate math concepts for preschool age children and techniques to facilitate young children's math learning. Course also provides techniques adults may use to eliminate math anxiety and improve their basic math skills. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 2

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5

Advanced practicum experience based on skill standards in a developmentally appropriate setting with qualified master teacher. Individualized opportunities for students to practice advanced teaching competencies and professional interactions with site staff and parents. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved.

Credits: 5

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3

An introductory course in understanding educational programs, and state and federal laws regarding the education of children with special needs. An overview of current issues, trends, and resources affecting services and programs for children with special needs. This class may include students from multiple sections. STARS approved. (Elective)

Credits: 3

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5

Active reading, effective writing, and critical thinking, using subjective and objective approaches. Introduction to research techniques. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Communication Skills)

Credits: 5

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Sub-Total Credits
15

Fifth Quarter (Winter)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
MATH 106 or MATH& 107  +
5
5

Introduction to science of behavior. Emphasis on biological foundations of behavior, cognition, learning, intelligence, motivation, memory, personality, and psychological disorders. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Social Sciences, Elective)

Credits: 5

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Sociology Elective  +
5
Sub-Total Credits
15

Students planning to transfer to a School of Education should take Math 106 and Math 108. Students should work with the Early Childhood Education Program Advisor.

Sixth Quarter (Spring)

Catalog #
Title
Credits
3

Explore fundamental principles of fairness and justice, and work to eliminate structural inequalities that limit equitable learning opportunities. Examine teaching practices that use inclusive teaching approaches, demonstrate respect for diversity and value all children's strengths. This class may include students from multiple sections.

Credits: 3

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Elective  +
3
Elective or MATH 108  +
5
Natural Sciences  +
5
Sub-Total Credits
16

Your personal Educational Plan will vary based on many factors including:  

Total Credits
90