Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood

High quality early education is essential for young children to reach their potential.

High quality early education is essential for children, particularly children at risk due to developmental concerns or poverty, to reach their potential. This fully online certificate provides specialized knowledge and skills to help professionals in early childhood and related services understand the context and practice of high quality early education.

In recent years, the importance of effective early education and care has gained a great deal of attention, particularly in policy circles. As a result, a significant need for professionals with specialized knowledge and skills to meet the early educational needs of young children and their families has arisen. This program provides training and skill development in 4 core areas related to early childhood education: developmentally appropriate curriculum, assessment, working with families of young children, and policy and transition in early childhood.

The potential students of this online graduate degree include teachers already working in the field that wish to become leaders, students interested in early learning with the flexibility of online courses, state college graduates with an earned Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree that wish to articulate into this graduate program.

This certificate is a total of 12 credit hours. Information about current tuition for online graduate coursework in our college can be found here: Tuition and Fees.

To receive the Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood, you must:

1) Successfully complete the following 4 courses with grades of B or higher:

In this course, students will begin with an overview of child development. This creates an important foundation. Students must be able understand why, in the context of child development, a teaching practice is developmentally appropriate or not. Students must also be able to recognize variation in development within a classroom. Later course material will demonstrate how to create practice that is developmentally appropriate, why this is important, and they ways in which children benefit. The course will conclude with a discussion of standards and policy and how these relate to DAP.

Course Objectives:

Identify the unique characteristics and needs of young children and use this knowledge to support child learning.
1. Students will learn to identify age level characteristics and needs through course readings and discussion.
2. Students will learn to identify individual and cultural needs through provided video and discussion.
3. Students will apply this knowledge of child characteristics to a curriculum plan.

Recognize the multiple influences on development and learning and use these to support learning.
1. Students will learn about multiple influences on development in learning in course readings and discussion.
2. Students will practice recognizing influences on development by watching course videos and commenting in video response assignments.

Use knowledge of child development to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments.
1. Students will learn about creating such environments in course readings and discussion.
2. Students will see examples of these environments in provided video.
3. Students will see large-scale learning environments in community observations.
4. Students will incorporate knowledge of environments in a curriculum plan.

Apply knowledge of child development as well as early learning standards and other resources when designing, implementing, and evaluating curricula.
1. Students will learn about incorporating learning standards in course readings and discussion.
2. Students will see the application of learning standards in provided video.
3. Students will see the application of learning standards in museum/community setting observations.
4. Students will apply knowledge of learning standards in the creation of a curriculum plan.

Analyze your own practice and the ways that it promotes positive outcomes for each child.
1. Students will evaluate their own practice in the context of course readings and provided video.

This course addresses issues of assessment related to the practice of early childhood education. We begin with foundations for assessment, including principles and recommended practices, and how to evaluate assessment instruments. Subsequently, we examine how assessment data can be used in decision-making at the child, class, and program level.

Course and Student Learning Objectives
By the end of this course, students will:

1. Compare and contrast different purposes and types of assessment techniques and how they can be used to improve services for young children.
2. Apply the basic properties of assessment and assessment scores (reliability, validity, and authenticity), demonstrating the importance of considering these properties in selecting assessment techniques for different purposes.
3. Evaluate formal, informal, traditional, and alternative assessment techniques and the extent to which they are appropriate for various purposes such as screening, eligibility determination, program planning, and program evaluation.
4. Apply informal assessment techniques to assess child and program qualities in order to plan future instruction and environmental arrangements.
5. Critique commonly used commercial assessments, as well as informal assessment practices regarding their utility and validity for use with individual children with diverse needs as well as program evaluation.

In this course, students begin by learning about diversity and the impact of culture on families’ involvement in education. To foster meaningful family engagement, students learn strategies to recognize each family’s unique strengths. Students then apply this knowledge to develop effective family engagement programs for their school and classroom.

Course and Student Learning Objectives
By the end of this course, students will:

1. Discuss how to support and engage families and through respectful, reciprocal relationships.
2. Compare and contrast the multiple influences on development and learning.
3. Demonstrating an understanding of and respect for diverse family and community characteristics, create plans for improving family engagement.
4. Analyze the different forms of social and cultural capital among classroom families and how these strengthen the family.
5. Apply knowledge of family and community characteristics when involving families in their children’s development and learning.
6. Apply knowledge of family and culture to practice to promote positive outcomes for each child.
7. Develop strategies to analyze and evaluate relationships between schools and families and communities.
8. Create strong collaborations with families, communities, and colleagues (including CIS or other school-level family engagement personnel) to develop comprehensive strategies to address diverse educational needs of families and the community.

This course examines policies that directly affect educational practice in early childhood settings. Students consider their own role as child advocates in the implementation of educational policy.
Course and Student Learning Objectives
By the end of this course, students will:
1. Describe the relationship between educational problems and their solutions
2. Compare and contrast the roles of federal, state, and local government in the creation and implementation of school policy
3. Critique the roles of schools, including administrators, teachers, and student in school improvement
4. Analyze school policy development from historical, sociological, political, and economic perspectives
5. Analyze empirical policy research
6. Evaluate the relationships between educational problems and policy solutions
7. Evaluate within school and outside school factors that affect policy implementation
8. Interpret and assess both intended and unintended consequences of educational policy initiatives

2) Complete a portfolio of artifacts from coursework with reflections on how the course and assignment have influenced your practice.

The Portfolio is designed to showcase what you’ve learned about early childhood. To that end, you’ll choose one course assignment for each of Student Learning Goal, and complete a reflection that demonstrates what you’ve learned and how it will influence your practice.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of completing the Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood, you will analyze and synthesize professional literature and best practices for young children in these 3 areas:

  • Developmentally Appropriate Classroom and / or Intervention Practices
  • Developmentally Appropriate Assessment
  • Families, Diversity, and Community Relations

SLO 1: Students will analyze and synthesize literature as it relates to the practice of early childhood education and care in the following core areas:

Developmentally appropriate classroom and intervention practices.
Developmentally appropriate assessment practices.
Families, diversity, and community relations, including policies governing funding, service provision, and transition in the early childhood years.
Assessment of SLO 1: Portfolio. Students will select at least one artifact for each core area to include in a portfolio. They will write a reflection explaining the selection of the artifact, what they learned from the experience, and how it demonstrates their mastery in the area. Portfolios will be reviewed by a faculty committee.

SLO 2: Students will integrate and apply effective instructional and assessment practices as they relate to planning and care for individual children in early childhood.

Assessment of SLO 2: Course related assignment (EEC 6936: Assessment and Evaluation in Early Childhood Educational Practice) which will be evaluated by a single faculty member using a rubric.

SLO 3: Students will integrate and apply effective instructional and assessment practices as they relate to planning for an early childhood classroom or program.

Assessment for SLO 3: Course-related assignment (EEC 6205: Early Childhood Curriculum) which will be evaluated by a single faculty member using a rubric.

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Contact us!

For more information about our Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood contact Dr. Tina Smith-Bonahue.

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