Jun 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog SVC 
2023-2024 Catalog SVC [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Early Childhood Education

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The Early Childhood Education (ECED) program prepares students for positions working with young children and families in a variety of early care and education settings. Students may pursue an Associate in Applied Science Degree, AAS, an Associate of Education degree (A.Ed.), a one-year certificate, or multiple program certificates. Graduates of an Early Childhood Education degree are often employed as lead teachers, family home visitors, or administrators in childcare, Head Start, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), and preschool programs. Courses meet the criteria addressed in the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards for Early Childhood Professional Preparation.

Learning Outcomes:

General Education Learning Outcomes  

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Early Childhood Education program will be able to:

  • ​Use knowledge of key child development theories and current research to analyze and understand children’s perspectives, behavior and development.
  • Develop strategies for connecting with and supporting the child and family that recognize the interconnectedness of the child, family, and community and the impacts of culture and structural inequity on their lives.
  • Use effective teaching strategies that adapt and change to meet student’s needs.
  • Use observation and documentation as tools to understand the development, learning, and behavior of young children and use that knowledge for curriculum development.
  • Create engaging curriculum that is based on knowledge of children’s developmental needs, established learning outcomes, and children’s interest.

Program Admissions:

Students may enter the program at the beginning of any quarter. For specific information, contact Enrollment Services  or the Department Chair.

According to Washington State law RCW 43.43.830, any person with a positive criminal history for “crimes against persons” is not allowed to work with children. Background checks of criminal history are required of all students who work with children in any setting. Students with a criminal background should complete a background check with the Department of Children Youth and Families prior to enrolling in the program to make sure they will be able to complete the practicum requirement and gain employment after graduation.

Specialized Program Information:

Work-Based Learning

Students will integrate classroom learning with work-based learning experience in practicum at a supervised work site. Department Chair approval is required. Credits and grades are based on hours worked, work performance, and completion of the learning objectives specified in the course syllabus. 

Each quarter students will enroll in a practicum course and will spend 2-6 hours each week working or volunteering in an early learning classroom. If a student is currently employed as an early childhood educator, you can complete most of your required practicum hours at your workplace. If you are not currently employed as an early childhood educator, we will assist you in finding a volunteer placement in an early learning program.

During the final quarter of the AAS and the Associate in Education degrees, students will compete a capstone practicum experience. Each student will be required to volunteer 12-15 hours of work each week in a practicum setting. Associate in Education students must be in a K-3rd grade classroom for their capstone practicum.

All ECED courses require extensive reading and writing. Students should expect to participate in both individual and group assignments.

Degree and Certificate Options:

An Associate in Applied Science Degree, AAS  is awarded upon completion of a minimum of 90 credits of specified technical and related education coursework above 100-level with both an overall 2.0 grade point average and a 2.0 grade point average in the technical major. 

This degree is intended for students who want to work with children aged birth to five years old and are not interested in pursuing a Bachelor’s degree.

An Associate in Education, Early Childhood Education, A.Ed.  degree is intended for students who want to work with children aged birth to age 8 and are interested in pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. If a student completes the Associate in Education degree requirement, they are eligible to be awarded the AA-DTA as well. The A.Ed. degree will be granted to SVC students completing with a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Entry into a baccalaureate program will require a higher GPA for admission. This degree does not guarantee admission into a Bachelor’s program. You will need to work closely with your advisor if you intend to pursue this option to make sure your classes meet all the requirements of the AA-DTA. Educational plans may vary based on which quarter you begin, how many credits are taken, placement into Math and English, and your preferred transfer institution.

The ECED certificates listed below have been aligned with statewide standards to improve transferability. These certificates are “stackable,” i.e. build on each other, beginning with the ECED initial micro-certificate, which is equivalent to a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate, followed by any one of the 20-credit certificates. The State ECED certificate requires taking all of the courses listed for the “stackable” certificates plus the general education courses of ENGL 101  and WMATH 100  or above.


    Associate Degrees: Transfer

    Intended for students who are interested in transferring to a four-year university.

    Associate Degrees: Workforce

    Intended to give students the skills needed to move directly into employment.


    Certificates are intended to provide students with specialized training and skills.


    Typically two quarters or less, micro-certificates are focused on providing training in a specific skill. 

    Additional Programming

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