This Early Childhood Education (ECE) program is designed to prepare students to meet Washington state requirements to become a program coordinator for a licensed child care center or a teacher or teacher assistant in an early childhood classroom. Courses include understanding child devel- opment, behavior, and guidance; planning activities for children; managing safe healthy learning environments, working with families; and participation in early childhood centers. Successful completion of this program leads to a certificate in Early Childhood Education. Prospective ECE students should be aware of the fact that they will have to complete a background check.
Program Length: 3 Quarters
Program Code: ECESEC45
Career Opportunities and Earnings
A variety of child care, preschool, school district, Headstart/ECEAP, recreational, and community programs offer career opportunities in early childhood education and paraprofessional in education. With additional experience, training, and education, graduates may pursue a variety of career pathways in education and administration. The demand for persons trained in early childhood education should remain strong over the several years. Standard Occupational Classification 39-9011 Childcare Workers.
- Assistant director
- Childcare center director or program coordinator
- Childcare supervisor
- Family child care provider
- Lead teacher
- Respite care provider for children with special needs
- School age care staff and education assistant in preschools or primary K-3
For current employment and wage estimates, please visit and search for the relevant occupational term: bls.gov/oes/.
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
- 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.
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: $55.50
- Tuition and fees: $5,233.13 total based on 2022-23 WA resident tuition rates (additional fees may apply)
- First quarter (17 credits): $1,840.63
- Second quarter (16 credits): $1,768.44
- Third quarter (14 credits): $1,624.06
College-level skills in English and math (eligibility for courses numbered 100 or higher) are required before registering for the English, math, or applied 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.
This sample schedule is provided as a guide for a full-time student starting in fall quarter whose goal is to earn a certificate. 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)
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.
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.
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.
Second Quarter (Winter)
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.
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.
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)
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.
Third Quarter (Spring)
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.
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.
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.
Your personal educational plan will vary based on many factors including: