The Early Childhood Education program offers courses applicable to all students as well as those planning on a highly satisfying career nurturing young children. The Child Development I course (ECE 104X) is a social science option in the general education requirements for any bachelor’s degree. Individual classes such as child guidance, nutrition & physical wellness, and positive social development may be of interest to parents or community members.
Associate of Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.)
The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in early childhood education is a 60 credit program. Students attending fulltime can complete it in 2 years, but many students attend part time while they are working or raising a family. The program is intended for students enrolling in college for the first time as well as for those who are educated in other subject areas but desire to retrain for employment in this field.
In addition to the courses of interest to all, students becoming early childhood professionals will study safety & health, learning environments, culture & the young child, families, screening & assessment, curriculum development for various ages, and inclusion of young children with special needs.
Certificate Program (Cert.)
The certificate in early childhood education is helpful for those who want to formalize their early childhood education training. Often, students who choose this option have a degree in another field but need to show an employer the knowledge and skill specific to early care and education as well. All courses in the certificate apply to the A.A.S. degree, and most students continue on to complete the 60 credit degree.
The minor in early childhood education provides an opportunity for you to develop a foundation of knowledge and skills through coursework that includes an introduction to the early childhood profession and development of the child in their prenatal, infant and toddler years or in their pre-school and primary years. Working with an early childhood program advisor you will select the classes that are best for your interests.
This minor is a great choice for Bachelor of Arts degree-seeking students who need to satisfy their minor requirement or Associate of Arts students who want to explore accounting as an area of interest.
Graduates will develop the knowledge and skills needed to meet State of Alaska requirements for employment as administrators or teachers in licensed centers and as aides in elementary schools. Coursework also fulfills minor or concentration requirements for degrees in other disciplines.
Due to high demand for qualified early childhood professionals, graduates usually have a variety of options for employment. The many career options include working with infant, toddler, preschool and children K-3rd grade. The following types of positions are filled by early childhood education graduates:
- Preschool teachers
- Aides in elementary schools
- Before and after school child care providers
- Recreation leaders
- Child caregivers
- Parenting and staff educators
- Curriculum specialist
- Family home providers
- Licensing and regulatory experts
- Program directors & owners
- Resource and referral specialist
- Family assistance administrators
- Home visitors
- Family advocates
The goal of the A.A.S. degree is to prepare early childhood educators to work effectively with children and families in a variety of settings. The emphasis is on the development of the whole child, prenatal through age eight, so some courses are very beneficial for parents too. The focus is on developing meaningful approaches for working with young children and their families.
The mission: Inspiring excellence in early childhood education.
The vision: Helping to create a world where all children attain their full potential.
- The potential of all people is important to us.
- Respectful, trusting relationships are the foundation for our work.
- We acknowledge the complex process of learning.
- Collaboration is integral for our success.
- Working with children should be joyful.
The study of early childhood education includes positive methods for child guidance, partnerships with families, classroom activities and curriculum development, as well as current issues and trends, professional ethics, supporting adaptive learning environments for children who experience health impairments and disabilities, safety, physical wellness, and other topics. On-site coursework is taught with appeal to hands-on learner styles, particularly helpful for students who enjoy interactive discussion and project-based activities. Web classes include a variety of online links, videos, virtual field trips and individual activities. Assessment is through meaningful, relevant assignments.
In association with the program, the Bunnell House Early Childhood Lab School, located on the main UAF campus, provides rich observation and practicum experiences for students.
IMPORTANT—ADVISING! All required courses are offered at least once a year, but the correct sequence is important. That is why it is important to see an early childhood advisor.
Students entering the A.A.S. degree should meet with an early childhood advisor to discuss a specific course of study. The courses for the A.A.S. degree lay the foundation for the B.A. in child development and family studies or can be combined with other disciplines to make a specific focus on young children in areas such as science, movement, leadership, business or creative arts.
BACKGROUND SCREENING. To work in this profession, students must be able to pass a background screening.
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