This course provides an overview of the field of early childhood education. The course addresses the historical and theoretical bases for early childhood education, as well as the influence of standards-based instruction and assessment on current program practices. Students will have the opportunity to explore characteristics of the scope of early childhood programs (i.e., infant and toddler through early elementary age), and the programs and practices appropriate for each level. The importance of working with children and families from diverse backgrounds will also be addressed. The course facilitates initial professional development through initiation of an early childhood education program portfolio, and observation of professionals in the field.


Students are encouraged to pursue a 24 hour field experience as they pursue their studies for the course.

This course provides an in-depth understanding of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children, birth through age eight. An exploration of the family and sociocultural influences on development will be explored, as well as methods to observe and evaluate children’s development. Students will learn the range of factors that influence young children’s learning, health, and well-being.

Students are encouraged to pursue an 18 hour field experience as they pursue their studies for the course.

The course explores assessment as an ongoing and systematic process for collecting information in order to evaluate the development and make decisions to address the needs of the young child in a variety of childcare and learning environments. Students will learn how to select appropriate assessment tools and processes, given the purposes for assessment, age of child, and the context for caring for and teaching infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and young school age children. Consideration will be given to appropriate practices in selecting and evaluating a variety of formal and informal assessments, as well as processes for organizing, analyzing, interpreting and sharing assessment information with appropriate individuals.

Th e purpose of this course is to explore the value of school, family, and
community partnerships for the education and development of the young
child. Family diff erences in terms of social, cultural, religious, and economic
backgrounds are explored, along with the diff erent approaches to
parenting taken by families. Ways to establish collaboration among schools, families, and communities across diff erences is examined, as a means for building and maintaining partnerships necessary to teach and care for the young child.

This course is a survey of the characteristics and educational needs of exceptional learners, birth through age eight. There will be an emphasis on understanding students with specific exceptionalities and the appropriate instructional approaches and resources to serve their needs. This course also addresses the ways teachers and families collaborate to serve the needs of the exceptional children.

Students are encouraged to pursue an eight hour field experience as they pursue their studies for the course.  

In this course students will review recent research on play and development in the early childhood classroom. Students will also explore various instructional strategies and techniques designed to support a play-centered curriculum in the core curriculum areas. Students will learn how to use play as a form of assessment, and to use research toys and technology that will support a play-based curriculum. Th is course will focus on the importance of classroom environment, outdoor environments, safety, developmentally appropriate curriculum, teacher interaction and more, with an eye towards teaching language, literacy, science and mathematics.

Knowledge is not simply acquired by accumulating information from the environment, or even copying the behavior of others, but is based on what the individual brings to each situation. Learning occurs through active construction of knowledge based on experiences and refl ections on those experiences. Th is process holds true for adults as well as for children. Th is course looks at the role of play in the development of childhood education curriculum. Play is a fundamental human activity that drives development in the early childhood years. In this course we examine theories from developmental psychology, education, and anthropology to look at the role of play in human experience from infancy to adulthood. The history of play in educational practice and its relationships to concepts such as ritual, work, and friendship are traced through the study of games, traditional rhymes, fairy tales, and humor from a variety of cultural perspectives. Play therapy and issues related to play and academic achievement are explored. Students will observe children and adults at play and will evaluate contemporary toys and games in light of gender and cultural stereotypes. Students will design a game and play-based assessment as part of their portfolios for this course.

This course examines issues related to nutrition, health and safety for children from toddlerhood through the school-age years. Th is class looks at the role of nutrition in child development, and how it relates to teaching strategies. In this course we begin by understanding various aspects of nutrition, and the importance of good nutrition to proper learning and development. We also consider various strategies for teaching nutrition to young children. Next, the role of menu planning in nutrition education is discussed, as well as food safety concerns that are important for all teachers and school employees to understand.

The course goes on to look at the role of general wellness in child development, considering health assessments in school and looking at various physical, emotional and mental disorders that children can exhibit. Attention is paid to understanding the special needs of children with various food requirements or other disorders, as well as the importance of maintaining a safe physical environment for children at all times. Finally, the course concludes by discussing abuse and neglect in childhood, looking at ways that teachers can help to identify and report such issues.

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of literacy development from birth to age eight. Students will learn the content, skills, and dispositions appropriate for teaching literacy (reading, writing, listening and speaking) through exploration of current research and theory relevant to literacy, and practical approaches to facilitating literacy development.

The goal of this course is for students to understand the vital importance of creative thinking and arts-based learning in early-childhood education. Students will learn how to interpret and promote children’s creative thought and expression in original ways and will discover how the arts help children succeed in all academic areas. The course addresses which classroom supplies inspire true creativity and which should be avoided.  The importance of play, music, movement, and dance are addressed for their importance in creative expression. Ways to assess creative processes and products, and methods for incorporating special-needs children into the creative environment will also be addressed.