Teaching young children is a rewarding and inspiring career. Northampton Community College's Early Childhood Education degrees and certificates help students understand and positively influence children's learning and development via a strong foundation in child development, inclusionary practices, and arts-inspired learning. Our highly-qualified faculty prepares students to be effective teachers for children aged infant to nine years. Graduates may transfer seamlessly to four-year institutions or immediately enter the early care and education profession.
The Early Childhood Education: Infant to Grade Four Associate Degree and CDA are 100% online. All online courses are facilitated by an instructor and include opportunities for student interaction and participation.
Program Paperwork Requirements
Education students are required to submit state-mandated clearances and related paperwork.
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Northampton offers a variety of tuition assistance options for Early Childhood Education Students.
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Program Standard 1: Child Development and Learning
Students use evidence-based knowledge of child development and learning to understand that each child’s learning and development is unique based on cultural, linguistic, and ability diversity as well as other interacting influences to create safe, healthy respectful, and inclusive learning environments that provide responsive, developmentally appropriate arts-integrated learning opportunities
1a. Understand each child’s characteristics and needs for development and learning in all domains.
1b. Understand multiple interacting influences including cultural, linguistic and ability diversity that results in the uniqueness of each child’s development and learning.
1c. Apply evidence-based knowledge of development and learning to create safe, healthy, respectful, and supportive learning environments that are arts integrated and support the full participation of each child.
Program Standard 2: Families and Communities
Students use evidence-based knowledge to understand complex and diverse characteristics of families and communities using multiple perspectives to support each child’s development and learning through collaborative relationships.
2a. Understand how diverse and complex characteristics including cultural, linguistic and ability diversity in families and communities affect each child’s development and learning.
2b. Understand strategies educators can use to build respectful, reciprocal relationships including other professionals to support each child’s development and learning.
2c. Apply evidence-based knowledge of families, communities, and other professionals to support each child’s development and learning.
Program Standard 3: Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families
Students use evidence-based knowledge about systematic observation and the goals, benefits, and appropriate uses of assessment in partnership with families and other professionals to understand and make decisions about environments, curriculum, and interactions to support each child’s development and learning.
3a. Understand the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment.
3b. Understand ethical methods of observation, documentation, and assessment.
3c. Understand how to partner with families and professionals in each child’s assessment process.
3d. Apply and analyze evidence-based knowledge of observing, documenting, and assessing to make decisions about environments, curriculum, and interactions to support each child’s development and learning.
Program Standard 4: Using Developmentally Effective Approaches
Students use evidence-based knowledge to understand and build positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with children and families. Students apply arts-integrated and developmentally appropriate approaches and Universal Design for Learning to support each child’s development and learning.
4a Understand and apply positive relationships and interactions to support each child’s development and learning.
4b. Understand and apply teaching skills and strategies including developmentally appropriate practices, and technology to support each child’s development and learning.
4c. Understand and apply a broad repertoire of arts-integrated, developmentally appropriate teaching/learning approaches and Universal Design for Learning, to support the development and learning of each child.
4d. Reflect on own evidence-based practices to support positive outcomes for each child’s development and learning.
Program Standard 5: Using Content to Build Meaningful Curriculum
Students use evidence-based knowledge of subject areas, Universal Design for Learning, inquiry tools, and resources to design, implement, and evaluate curriculum and experiences to support each child’s development and learning.
5a. Understand content knowledge and resources in symbol systems/subject areas: language and literacy; the arts – visual arts, music, creative movement, dance, and drama; mathematics; science, physical education, health, and safety; and social studies.
5b. Understand the central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of all symbol systems/subject areas.
5c. Use evidence-based knowledge, early learning standards, Universal Design for Learning, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate curriculum and experiences to support each child’s development and learning.
Program Standard 6: Becoming a Professional
Students use evidence-based knowledge of ethical guidelines and professional standards. They engage in continuous, collaborative learning and demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives to make informed decisions about advocating for sound practices and policies in early education.
6a. Identify and reflect on career goals; identify and involve themselves with the profession.
6b. Understand ethical guidelines, professional systems, standards and regulations in the field of early education.
6c. Explain and analyze personal engagement in continuous and collaborative learning; demonstrate reflective and critical perspectives.
6d. Understand ways to advocate for each child, family, and the profession.
6e. Analyze and synthesize knowledge about becoming a professional who can articulate and practice an individual philosophy which includes evidence-based practice and Universal Design for Learning.
Students studying on campus have access to children's classrooms in our lab schools. Reibman Hall Children's Center and Hannig Family Children's Center serve as state-of-the-art early care and education programs specifically designed to enhance student learning and support direct observation and on-going field experiences. Students learn to develop curriculum that is emergent, standard-based, and individualized to meet the unique needs of each child. You will gain hands-on experience in public school and young children's classrooms in your very first education course and later through an internship opportunity. Courses offered in these programs include Infant-Toddler Development and Learning, Observation & Assessment in Early Childhood, and Child, Family and, Community.
NCC's Early Childhood AAS Program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children ( NAEYC).
Join our Art as a Way of Learning Community and explore arts-integrated teaching and learning resources and tools. View Program Information
Explore selected list of resources about universal design for learning, inclusion, early learning, early intervention, disabilities, and NCC's BICC project. View Program Information
With an Early Childhood Education degree, certificate or diploma from NCC, you’ll prepare to embark on a rewarding classroom career or to transfer to a four-year institution to become a certified teacher. From our Associate in Applied Sciences in Early Childhood Education to our Early Childhood Apprenticeship Specialized Diploma, you’ll gain hands-on experience and leading-edge expertise at an affordable cost.
Recognized as a leader in the field for many years, NCC's accredited associate degree program focuses on a proven curriculum and ongoing field-work, allowing students to gain exposure and get excited about their future from the start.
Whether you plan to enter the workforce immediately after graduation or transfer to a four-year school, you will be prepared with the knowledge and skills you need to make a difference. The associate degree transfers smoothly into a baccalaureate level Pre-K to Grade 4 teacher certification program. Graduates from the program often work as:
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