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Education: Early Childhood (Birth to 4th Grade)


The Education: Early Childhood (Birth to 4th Grade) Program develops the knowledge and competence of students interested in teaching or working in related careers with children birth through fourth grade. The Program provides a sound theoretical foundation in principles of child growth and development from the prenatal period through the primary years, as well as a functional understanding of programs and curricula appropriate for young children. Skills emphasized include child observation, curriculum planning for diverse learners, advocacy, and interpersonal and communication abilities.

Upon completion of the Program students receive an Associate in Arts degree and may either enter the workforce or transfer to a baccalaureate program in Education.

Because the curriculum supports the needs of those wishing to pursue a variety of options including transfer, it is highly recommended that students consult Program advisors, catalogs, and transfer worksheets available in the Career and Transfer Center in order to make appropriate course selections.

Graduates of the Program will be prepared to work as childcare practitioners and directors, parent educators, children's recreation staff, teacher assistants and instructional aides. Graduates who wish to become certified teachers will need to transfer to and complete a Pennsylvania Department of Education approved teacher certification program at a four year college or university.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the Education: Early Childhood degree program graduates will be able to:

  • Identify key theories of child development 
  • Responsibly apply systemic observation, documentation, and other assessment techniques, in partnership with families and other professionals
  • Design, implement, and assess differentiated curricula and experiences to positively influence the development of every child
  • Demonstrate ethical and professional standards and make decisions as part of continuous collaborative learning, informed reflective practice, and diverse field experiences
  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills in the discourse of the discipline.

Program Entry Requirements:

New students are normally required to complete the College's placement test prior to their enrollment. Students identified as needing developmental work must satisfactorily complete the appropriate developmental English and mathematics courses as part of the program.

Because students will be required to observe and work with young children the Program requires students to meet the requirements of the Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa. C.S.A., section 6344 (relating to prospective child care personnel). Students must therefore present up-to-date Pennsylvania criminal history reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal history reports, Department of Public Welfare (child abuse) reports, and health clearances, clearly stating that they are eligible to work with children. (Up-to-date clearance is defined as being no more than 12 months old on the first day of working with children.) Failure to produce up-to-date clearances or a change of clearance status may result in a student's removal from the program. A student who believes that an error of fact has been made in his/her removal may appeal that decision. Information regarding the appeal procedure will be provided with the letter of removal.

Program of Study and Graduation Requirements:

To qualify for the Associate in Arts (A.A.) Degree in Education: Early Childhood (Birth-4th grade) program, a student must complete a minimum of 62 credit hours as described in the course listing below. In addition, the student must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0, and a minimum grade of "C" in all Education courses. During their matriculation in the Education: Early Childhood (Birth-4th grade), it is strongly recommended that students meet with a designated Education academic advisor to choose their courses. Students whose behavior is viewed as inconsistent with professional standards may be dropped from the curriculum pending a departmental hearing.

Prior Learning Assessment:

Students may be eligible to apply for credits for prior learning. Interested students should contact the program coordinator for further information regarding the criteria and an application.

Education: Early Childhood (Birth to 4th Grade) Course Sequence

Course Number and Name Prerequisites and Corequisites Credits Gen Ed Req.

First Semester

ENGL 101 - English Composition   3 ENGL 101
CIS 103 - Applied Computer Technology   3 Tech Comp
ED 105 - Foundations of Early Childhood Education   3  
PSYC 101 - Introduction to Psychology   3 Social Science

MATH 151 - Linear Mathematics OR
MATH 152 - Probability OR
MATH 123 - Mathematical Principles I

  FNMT 118 with a C or better or MATH 161 (or higher) placement  3  Mathematics

Second Semester

ENGL 102 - The Research Paper ENGL 101 with a grade of "C" or better 3 ENGL102 & Info. Lit.
ED 135 - Family and Community Relationships   3  

MATH 161 - Precalculus I OR
MATH 133 - Mathematical Principles II


FNMT 118 with a C or better or MATH 161 (or higher) placement
For MATH 133: MATH 123

PSYC 201 - Child Psychology PSYC 101 3  
ED 204 - Curriculum & Instruction: Engaging Young Children in the Learning Process OR
ED 214 - Cognition and Learning in
the Classroom
ED 105
ENGL 101 and ED 105 or ED 201

Third Semester

ED 222 - Language and Literacy Development in Early Childhood PSYC 201 ED 204 or
ED 214
ED 230 - Integrating the Arts into Early Childhood Education ED 105 3  
ED 245 - Assessment of Young Children ED 204 or ED 214 3  
BIOL 106 - General Biology I   4 Natural Science
ED 250 - Infant and Toddler Development and Curriculum ED 204 or ED 214 3  

Fourth Semester

ED 255 - Teaching English Language Learners ED 105 or ED 201 and ED 204 or ED 214 3  
ED 265 - Introduction to Special Education and Inclusive Practices ED 105 or ED 201 and PSYC 201 or PSYC 209 or PSYC 215 3  
HIST 101 - United States History: Colonial America through the Revolutionary Era OR
HIST 102 - United States History: The 19th Century OR
HIST 103 - United States History: The 20th Century
  3 Humanities, Writing Intensive, Interpretive Studies, Am/Global Div.
ED 290 - Early Childhood Education Practicum ED 222 and ED 245 4  

Directed Elective - choose one

ENGL 190 - Intro to Literature
GEOG 180 - Urban Geography
ENGL 115 - Public Speaking
ED 151 - Health, Safety and Nutrition for the Young Child


Minimum Credits Needed to Graduate: 62

General Education Requirements

All General Education requirements are met through required courses as indicated above. View the courses that fulfill all degree requirements and receive a more detailed explanation of the College's general education requirements to help in your selection.

1Directed Electives should be selected in consultation with an advisor based on career goals and requirements of the institution to which the student plans to transfer. Note that many baccalaureate programs in education require two semesters of college level math and two semesters of lab science. 2*Students who enter the College at the Math 161 level or higher can complete this program in 62 credits. Students who enter the College at a lower level on the Math placement exam will need to take FNMT 118 - Intermediate Algebra and thus will need 65 credits to graduate.

For More Information Contact:

The Division of Liberal Studies, Room BR-21, 1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19130, Telephone (215) 751-8450; or call the College Information Center (215) 751-8010.