You have experience with kids. You’ve done your research into the variety of early childhood education (ECE) careers. By now you are convinced you can be successful in one of those careers and you know that furthering your education is the best way to achieve that dream.
But what exactly will you learn while earning your degree? What types of early childhood education classes can you expect to take?
Every ECE program is unique, but there are some important early childhood education courses that tend to be included in most curriculums. We asked Dr. Cecelia Westby, ECE academic director at Collegis Education, to help us identify five key early childhood education classes featured in the Rasmussen College ECE program.
Keep reading for a sneak peek at these courses and how the curriculum at Rasmussen College stands out among other ECE degree providers.
Early childhood education classes you can expect
If you're serious about launching a successful career working with little ones, you're going to be seriously excited about some of the courses you'll be taking. Not only are they fascinating and fun, but they will help equip you with the techniques and tools you'll need when you have a classroom of your own.
Here's a sneak peek at some of the most exciting courses:
1. Early Childhood Education Curriculum and Instruction
Dr. Westby says that Rasmussen College recently redesigned this course to include the room environment and how it informs curriculum and instruction. The course also teaches tools to observe and assess child behavior and development.
This course is unique because it provides a holistic view of curriculum and instruction, Dr. Westby explains. From designing your learning space to properly utilizing the materials available, you’ll learn how to use your classroom in an intentional way. This method will also help you develop the skills needed to meet the diverse needs of individual children, from special needs to English language learners.
2. Technology and Developmentally Appropriate Practices
The learning landscape has drastically changed with the emergence of new advancements in technology. In this course you will learn about the role technology plays in the development of young children and appropriate digital activities for students.
“We are embracing technology in a way that promotes learning and development,” Dr. Westby says. She stresses the importance of this course because it is extremely relevant to the digital world in which we live. Our society is consumed by technology and teachers who can leverage these tools are already in demand.
3. Foundations of Child Development
This course will familiarize students with core early childhood educational practice and theory. The curriculum helps lay the groundwork for the foundation you will build upon throughout your entire teaching career.
This class is unique because it’s one of three courses that prepare you to earn your Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. The CDA is earned through assignments within the college course construct. That means it is integrated into the rest of your schoolwork, so you can achieve the credential without the burden of extra time or work.
4. Introduction to English Language Learners
In Rasmussen College’s ECE certificate program, you have the ability to choose from one of four specializations. These specializations provide focused knowledge to better support children and families. The English language learner (ELL) specialization teaches the strategies and skills teachers need to meet the needs of those who are learning English as a second language. For example, one ELL technique is to use visuals to help children understand common instructions like “be quite” or “sit down.”
Every teacher will inevitably encounter a child who identifies with each of these specializations sooner or later in his or her career, according to Dr. Westby. By taking courses in each concentration, you can be confident that you will be well prepared to thrive in each situation.
5. Early Childhood Education: Understanding Mental Health in the Early Years
Studies have shown that the infant and toddler years are critical to brain development. In this course, you will gain an advanced understanding of child development during these early years. In the past, educators placed more importance on brain development from ages 4 - 6. But there has been a growing movement in recent years to place more emphasis on the infant and toddler years.
There is a national call for teachers dedicated to infant and toddler development, Dr. Westby says. In order to help children reach their full potential, it is critical for educators to better understand brain development in very early years. This course focuses on that vital growth period and will help you gain a competitive advantage when entering the job market.
What will a rich course load provide for you?
You shouldn’t enroll in college just to receive a piece of paper with your name printed on it. You’re investing all of that time and money into your future, in order to acquire the necessary knowledge and training you’ll need to succeed in your career. Your early childhood education courses are the building blocks that will construct a solid foundation on which you’ll build your teaching career.
It’s important to be confident in the curriculum you’re about to undertake. These courses were strategically chosen in order help you make a splash when you enter the job market. These five early childhood education classes are just a taste of everything you will learn as a student in the Rasmussen College ECE program.
Check out the complete course listings and learn more about the program by visiting the early childhood education program page.