Early Childhood Development and Services

Early Childhood Development (ECD) is an introductory course offering a detailed overview of both developmental stages and areas of early childhood, and how early childhood education professionals provide optimal assistance during these important years of growth and learning. An examination of the history, theories, teaching models, research, and policies that grew withthe advance of early childhood education, as well as an introduction to the achievements of many leaders in this field, provide students a thorough grounding in the science and practice of early childhood education. This course further provides studentswith keen insight into why these years are so important to the life of the child, what areas of physical, emotional, and cognitive development are manifested from birth through age five, and what developmentally appropriate practices are proving to be most effective.

  • Introduction to Early Childhood Development: In this first unit, students will explore career and education pathways in early childhood education (ECE). What degrees are required to become a preschool teacher, a researcher, or a special needs instructor, for example? Students will learn about credentialing and licensing for child care providers and examine how licensing regulations and requirements vary from facility to facility and state to state.
  • Diversity and Family Engagement: Unit 2 focuses on diversity and family engagement. Communities around the country have a more diverse population than ever before, and ECE professionals must learn to be sensitive to, knowledgeable of, and diligent in family engagement. Helping all families feel respected, welcomed, understood, and engaged in open communication about their child's early education and development creates the very best environment for the child's individual abilities and developmental stages to be assisted and supported.
  • Understanding Child Development: Unit 3 is all about what is happening in child development from birth through age five. Understanding what stages of development are in progress is crucial to understanding developmentally appropriate practices and activities for that stage. While students will define milestones for cognitive (thinking), motor (movement), language (speech and literary skills), and social/emotional competence for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, they will also study temperaments and other factors that make each child's development unique.
  • Strategies for Enhancing Development and Learning: In this unit, students will extend their knowledge of effective activities and practices as children develop literacy skills. This unit will explain how emergent literacy skills (all that goes into understanding language before the child even speaks the first real word) can be helped or hindered in the home environment. Students will identify the stages in literacy, when a child begins to realize that letters are different than pictures, for example, or that the word “hello” means “hello” every time it is written or said. Students will also focus on building positive relationships with parents, and in child-teacher and peer relationships.
  • Laws and Policies in Early Childhood Education: This unit investigates abuse and neglect. Students will study the signs ECE professionals are mandated by law to watch for and recognize and will learn about reporting procedures and responsibilities in different states and professional positions. Students will also learn about the challenges faced by an ECE professional, and what people are doing to advocate for improvements in early childhood education.

State: National
Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
Category: Human Services
Course Length: Semester