Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education
Note: This page provides information on earning a Bachelor's degree in early childhood education. For details on other degree levels, please see our early childhood education degree page.
A Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education gives you the skills you will need to help young students succeed in school. Programs focus on shaping the social, academic, and cognitive skills of children through third grade. A degree in this field will help you make a difference as a preschool teacher, after-school program instructor or director, daycare professional, and with the proper certification - and elementary or special education teacher.
Choosing an Online Bachelor's in Early Child Education
Online programs have become a very popular way to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Early Child Education. Online students have the ability to set their own schedules, as they can study and research from anywhere. The following questions may help you choose the best online program for your needs:
Is the Program Accredited?
Schools become accredited after they are successfully assessed by an agency recognized by the Department of Education. If you notice an online school has acquired regional accreditation, you can find comfort in knowing that your college or university is valid and reputable. Early Childhood Education programs will often be assessed on their thoroughness when it comes to the competencies and guidelines as established by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).
How Long Has the Program Been Offered?
If an online program has been offered for a long time - it is usually a good sign. This means the program has proved to be successful year after year. Keep in mind that online schools are a relatively new concept; however, be wary of online bachelor's degree programs that have not been around long enough to gain accredited.
What Technologies Will Be Used to Facilitate Online Learning?
Online teaching and learning occurs by means of virtual learning platforms. Students and teachers login to a designated website, such as Moodle or Canvas, in order to access their virtual classroom. Online, students will be able to view and submit assignments, access learning materials such as multimedia lectures, and communicate with peers as well as instructors. Not all online learning platforms are the same. It may be a good idea to learn about this beforehand.
What Resources Will I Have Access To?
Good online Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education programs may give students access to online resources such as comprehensive online research materials, personalized career guidance, online textbooks, ans technology assistance. This is something you will want to inquire about, especially if you rely on school resources to help you with assignments.
What Skills and Topics Are Covered?
A good online school should be able to provide program goals upon request. In other words, find out what the planned curriculum is. This is a list of measurable and observable goals that students should be familiar with over the course of their online bachelor's degree program. To see if a specific program is right for you, assess how the outcomes align with your personal and professional goals.
Do You Have Job Placement Information for Students Who Recently Graduated from the Program?
Being able to communicate with alumni is a great way to see if a program is right for you. Find out what career goals they have accomplished as a result of their online Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education. If you get a chance, ask about their job and how the degree has prepared them for it.
Is an Online Degree Right for You?
An online bachelor's degree can be a great option when time is limited, but the desire to further one's education is present. A Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education can be earned online, but observation and student teaching hours may be necessary if a teaching certificate is obtained.
Online degree programs allow students to maintain flexibility in their schedule. This is due in part to the fact that class requirements can be completed whenever and wherever is most convenient for the learner. Since a rigid class schedule does not need to be adhered to, students can integrate studies into their daily lives - whether that be early in the morning before work or at a coffee shop on a lunch break. Online bachelor's degree programs help make higher education an option for those who might not be able to commit to a traditional brick and mortar program.
Opportunity and Accessibility
Online degree programs allow for students to work towards a degree regardless of geographic location, scheduling restrictions, or physical ability. Since the majority of learning will be done online, only two basic things are needed: a good computer and reliable internet connection.
Tuition and Costs
Generally, when considering online bachelor's degree programs, you will learn that the overall costs associated may be less than those of a traditional on-campus program. Take the following into account:
- No money spent on traveling to and from campus, no parking fees, no on-campus dining costs.
- No costs associated with on-campus living.
- No need to quit current job, since school requirements can be done before or after work. Thus, ability to maintain a source of income.
For a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education, curriculum will often focus on preparing adult students to work with children. When assessing an online program's curriculum, you can expect to come across the following:
- Established due dates and accountability markers in form of practicums, presentations, reading assignments, and exams.
- Content delivered via online lessons and interactive instructors.
- Whole class message boards where students will be required to collaborate, share ideas, and communicate.
- A final cumulative exam, project, or portfolio
Bachelor's Degree Course Topics
Designed to provide students with the theoretical and practical groundings in the field of education, obtaining a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education is becoming a mandatory first step to employment in the field in many states. While degree course offerings do vary between institutions, student can expect to find the following curricular goals in their bachelor's program of choice:
Foundations of Movement & Motor Activities
Students will learn about integrating movement into the curriculum for children and how the body is used during and while building fundamental motor skills.
Language Development in Young Children
This course will provide an introduction to the development stages of language, beginning at birth.
Child, Family, & Society
This type of course will provide an overview of children from infancy through elementary school and the reciprocal relationships that children develop as they grow.
Other course concepts may include:
- Familiarity with a multidisciplinary practice
- Succeed in an environment that is moving toward integration of programs and services
- Succeed in an child-focused, family-centered model of care
- Learn about and apply knowledge of healthy environments
- Learn how to promote safety and good health in the early childhood care environment
- Learn about nutritional and lifestyle choices in the early childhood care environment
- Help students learn about relationships between health bodies and nutritional food choices
- Identify and analyze human development theories
- Examine underlying principles that influence human development theories
- Explain the models of development as theorists such as Bandura, Erikson, Bowlby, Ainsworth and Piaget.
- Identify developmental stages and milestones in babies and children
- Practice child-centered care based on developmental ages and stages
- Identify and work to remediate familial, social and environmental stressors on development
- Articulate specific movements in education throughout history
- Analyze various teaching methodologies for effectiveness with various developmental demographics
- Articulate a mission statement for teaching that is research, practice and experience-based.
- Analyze the effectiveness of play as it relates to developmental psychology, education, and curricular theory.
- Deconstruct and evaluate cultural perspectives on children's play, the right to play and its role in education
- Examine the value of play through a diverse array of social perspectives
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education?
Earning a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education can lead to an entertaining and long career within the school system as a preschool teacher, primary school teacher, elementary school teacher, day care provider, or even as a private consultant. There are many options when an education degree is earned.
A good way to stay connected and excel in the field of early childhood education is to join affiliated organizations and attend conferences, such as the Association for Childhood Education International. ACEI's mission is to promote innovative solutions to education challenges and inspire action that creates positive, sustainable futures for children and youth worldwide.