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Arkansas Tech University

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Online Associate’s Degree
in Early Childhood Education

Students will be able to develop lesson plans for pre-kindergarten through fourth grade.Students will cultivate a thorough understanding of student development. Students will be able to teach children fundamental skills in creative and interesting ways.


Early Childhood Education – Associates Degree

The Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE) has been approved as an online degree program by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. This is an ideal program of study for students who wish to prepare for careers in child development, child care, or other early childhood service organizations. The degree is structured to provide a seamless acquisition of academic requirements for various career levels in occupations related to child care and early childhood education in the public and private sectors. With the courses online, students are allowed the opportunity to work while obtaining their degree.

Requirements for the degree have been designated in keeping with current research and theory in early childhood education.

Program Objectives

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of child development and learning
  • Know about, understand, and value the role of a child’s family, culture, and community in children’s lives
  • Work cooperatively with parents, using an understanding of the family as a context for young children’s development
  • Demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions of a reflective early childhood practitioner
  • Demonstrate knowledge of health, safety, nutrition, and administrative guidelines
  • Develop a thorough understanding of child development and the value of play in children’s learning.
  • Design developmentally-appropriate curriculum and classroom practices
  • Adhere to ethical practices in the field of early childhood education.
  • What You Will Learn

    Upon completion of the AS Degree in Early Childhood Education, students will be able to:

    • Design a learning environment and use teaching strategies that are based upon child development theory
  • Plan, implement and evaluate a developmentally appropriate curriculum that fosters children’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development
  • Examine program philosophy and goals, classroom design, teacher/child interaction, planning and implementation of curriculum, observation and assessment of the young child and family involvement in a variety of early childhood settings
  • Demonstrate good early childhood practice in an early childhood setting
  • Identify, document and assess elements that determine quality in early childhood programs
  • Work effectively with diverse populations of children in a variety of settings
  • Work cooperatively with parents, using an understanding of the family as a context for young children’s development
  • Create and consistently maintain a safe, healthy learning environment
  • Recognize, articulate, and implement health and safety standards and procedures.
  • Maintain and implement nutritional standards that meet the diverse needs of young children’s healthy growth
  • Identify ways to meet each child’s individual needs by developing culturally relevant activities to nurture cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development
  • Exhibit respect/appreciation for individual children, families, and their culture
  • Develop and build partnerships with families and share information, resources, and referrals
  • Create and implement diverse activities including creative, open-ended art, music and movement, science, math, stories, and literature
  • Recognize characteristics of children with special needs and identify strategies to specifically meet the needs of each child and their family
  • Demonstrate an understanding of professionalism in the early childhood field through implementation of professional behaviors in daily work with families, children, co-workers, and community
  • Develop a professional portfolio to document training accomplishments, skills, and competencies in early care and education
  • Demonstrate basic math skills related to early childhood education including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and problem solving
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills involved in oral, written, and nonverbal communications.
  • Career Opportunities

    Possible career choices for the Early Childhood Education (Pre-K) Associate’s Degree:

    • Child care center teacher
  • Child care center aide
  • Head Start teacher
  • Head Start assistant teacher
  • Owner/director of child care center
  • In home parenting teacher
  • Family home child care provider

    Salaries vary according to job, education, training, and location. Benefits may include insurance, retirement plans, and college tuition reimbursement.

    Skills Needed

    Persons working in jobs in the early childhood care and education field need to be knowledgeable about how children grow, develop, and learn. They also need to be aware of how to plan activities to enhance children’s learning. Persons working in this field need to love the job, like children, have a good handle on stress management, be able to laugh often, and be able to lift at least 50 pounds. Working with children requires creativity, endurance, energy, and enthusiasm.

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