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Early Childhood Studies

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Curriculum

General Education Courses

Click here for a complete list of curriculum requirements

Pre-requisite

The Early Childhood Studies major requires a foundation course in child growth and development. Students may transfer in a completed Foundations of Early Childhood or equivalent course, or may have attained an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood, or have achieved the national Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) or equivalent. For students who need the foundation course, Union Institute & University offers the following course:

Foundations of Child Growth and Development
ECS 230 4 credits
This course offers students a foundation in the concepts and principles of child growth, from a developmental as well as an educational perspective. The course offers students an overview of developmental theory and research and the implications for practical application in various educational or childcare settings. In order for students to become knowledgeable as early childhood practitioners, they will explore the major theories of child development regarding the physical, social, cultural, emotional, cognitive, and language domains of child growth and learning.

Core Courses in the Major

Professional Ethics for Early Childhood Studies
ECS 310 4 credits
This course introduces the basic principles of early childhood studies to ensure that all students understand the importance of the development of integrity, responsibility, and ethical practices that demonstrate multicultural respect for all members served.

Exceptional Child
ECS 320 4 credits
This course will examine child development from a comparative perspective, considering race, gender and disabling conditions as dimensions of diversity. A focus will be on cultural and family factors that shape and influence the contexts in which children develop. The development of multicultural activities, materials, literature and preparation of environments for children will be reviewed with a special emphasis on applying multicultural education principles to curriculum planning.

Curriculum Development for Early Childhood Education
ECS 406 4 credits
This course will focus on the design of curriculum and instructional practices that promote optimal learning and development in young children. Strategies for integrating developmentally appropriate curriculum across content areas, creating lesson plans and units of study, and engaging this age group of children in activities will be addressed.

Guiding & Counseling the Child
ECS 409 4 credits
In this course, students will research developmentally appropriate child guidance techniques, including the design of learning environments for providing developmentally appropriate guidance for all children, including those at risk. An exploration of guidance strategies for promoting pro-social behaviors with individual and groups of children will be covered. Emphasis will be on promoting family involvement and investigating cultural influences on child guidance.

Observation, Assessment, and Evaluation of the Child
ECS 413 4 credits
This course examines a variety of methods for systematic assessment that support the learning of young children. The course is designed to survey a variety of assessment methods including observations, checklists, rating scales, and individually administered testing instruments. Focus will also be on the development of an assessment plan, utilization of appropriate methods, adaptation of curriculum to meet individual needs, and involvement of families throughout the assessment process.

Electives in the Major

Note: Students who have earned the National Child Development Associates (CDA) credential or equivalent may be eligible to receive 8 elective credits in the major.

Infant Toddler Programming
ECS 280 4 credits
Infant Toddler Programming is the study of the physical, social, emotional, cognition, and language development of young children ages six weeks up to 36 months and their application to the design and implementation of developmentally appropriate promising practices in the care, guidance, and development of the child.

Understanding Health & Safety Issues in Young Children
ECS 308 4 credits
This course will provide comprehensive information in the areas of health, nutrition, safety, and physical movement that the pre-service students entering the early childhood field will need to know and to apply in various early care and learning settings. Strategies and projects in health and nutrition, as well as movement exercises and games will be emphasized. Potential practitioners are expected to provide learning experiences for children’s development of positive lifestyle behaviors.

Multicultural Issues in Early Childhood Education
ECS 315 4 credits
This course will examine dimensions of diversity in child development using a comparative perspective. A focus will be on cultural and family factors that shape and influence the contexts in which children develop. The development of multicultural activities, materials, literature and environments for children will be reviewed with a special emphasis on applying multicultural education principles to curriculum planning.

Early Language & Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood
ECS 326 4 credits
This course offers students the foundation for understanding that life-long literacy is established during the early childhood years. According to research, “emergent literacy and language acquisition skills precede the ability to read and write and influence later literacy skills development.” Focus will be on an extensive review of research on programs to promote language and emergent literacy in early childhood care and education settings for children ages 0-8. Interventions and proven programs will be reviewed and examined.

Effective Mechanisms for working w/ Families, Communities, and Organizations
ECS 330 4 credits
The course is designed to assist early childhood practitioners with development of skills and knowledge that will enable them to work effectively across multiple systems. Group process, committee staffing, communication styles, organizational assessment and planning, and community partnerships will be discussed.

Reading in Early Childhood Classroom: Instruction and Materials
ECS 419 4 credits
This course will focus on current research/best- practices for reading instruction at the pre-k through grade 3 levels of development. The teacher/practitioner’s role in selecting materials and strategies that lead to proficiency in reading and literacy will be emphasized. Students will examine the essential components necessary to establish a balanced program of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension in the teaching of reading and the enhancement of literacy skills.

Practicum in an Early Childhood Setting
EDU/ECS 450 3/4 credits
This course is designed to provide field experiences and support related to the early childhood course of study in which the student is enrolled. The practicum will focus on providing direct experience activities with young children at the appropriate levels of cognitive, social, physical and emotional development.

  1. Contact hours: a minimum of 45 hours for three credits and 60 hours for 4 credits.
  2. The practicum will be supervised and mentored by a faculty member from the Early Childhood Studies or Education majors as assigned by the department chair.

Note: Additional elective learning may be accepted when appropriate to the major. Acceptable elective learning may include: prior learning that meets program criteria for acceptance; general education courses (beyond those required by the program) and courses offered through other majors, following published syllabi; and/or individually designed courses developed by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor and submitted using the learning agreement form. All additional electives must be endorsed by the Program Chair and the dean and documented in the approved degree plan prior to registration.

Early Childhood Administrator Concentration

Administration & Supervision of Child Development Programs
ECS 408 4 credits
This course examines the guiding principles and practices for administering an early care and education program. Students will be introduced to licensing and accreditation standards as well as the legal and professional benchmarks that govern administration. A focus will be on human resource management in the early childhood setting to include the selection, management, and development of staff. Fiscal structures and community outreach programs, as well as exploring child advocacy issues and policies.

Administrative Leadership in Early Childhood Programs
ECS 415 4 credits
This course explores the nature of leadership in the early childhood setting. Emphasis will be on qualities that define effective leadership and the impact of communication and interpersonal skills. Students will examine: decision making, team development, effective meetings, family and community partnerships, and child advocacy policies.

Multicultural Education and Administration
ECS 430 4 credits
This course will assist students in understanding administrative practice within an environmental context of expansive diversity. Students will review the barriers and opportunities associated with multiculturalism as it relates to staffing, organizational leadership, stakeholders communication and development, garnering of funds, and the client population in receipt of services.

Teacher as Practitioner Concentration
All courses variable 3 or 4 credits
This concentration is a non-granting licensure program, however, students who are interested in qualifying for the certification requirements (State of Florida only) can add the required background courses into their individual plan. Students who are planning to qualify for Florida certification are required to plan and complete a 350-hour internship (9 credits) in their own
community during their degree program.

There are additional requirements for the Florida certification examinations which are not part of the degree. For exam requirements, see http://www.fldoe.org/edcert. It is the student’s
responsibility to be sure that all exam and certification requirements are met. The program chair should be advised prior to the start of any student taking the Teacher as Practitioner concentration.

All education course descriptions may be found in the Elementary Education core course section.
EDU 317 Psychological & Sociological Foundations of Education
EDU 331 Foundations & Practices of Teaching Reading
EDU 334 Educational Assessment
EDU 336 Integrating Educational Technology across the Curriculum
EDU 497 Contemporary Issues in Education

ECS Independent Studies. Each may be taken up to two times.
ECS 100/200/300/400 1-4 credits
Independent Studies

ECS Special Topics. Each may be taken up to two times.
ECS 190/290/390/490 1-4 credits
Special Topics

Additional elective learning may be accepted when appropriate to the major. Acceptable elective learning may include: prior learning that meets program criteria for acceptance; general education courses (beyond those required by the program) and courses offered through other majors, following published syllabi; and/or individually designed courses developed by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor and submitted using the learning agreement form. All additional electives must be endorsed by the faculty advisor and the dean and documented in the approved degree plan prior to registration.

Culminating Graduation Requirement:

As part of course work in the major, every student will complete a culminating graduation requirement (CGR). The CGR requirement may be met by satisfactory completion of one of the following:

Capstone Portfolio in Early Childhood Education
ECS 498 4 credits
The capstone course aligns university and early childhood studies major outcomes and competencies with national standards. It is structured on the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards (birth- through age 8) designed to prepare teachers and other professionals to work in the field of early childhood education and care. In addition, students are introduced to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) core propositions that form the foundation for the entire teaching profession in promoting knowledge, skills, dispositions and beliefs that represent excellence in teacher preparation and practices. Further focus will be on the NBPTS Early Childhood Generalist Standards, (ages 3 through 8.) A professional portfolio representing a theoretical understanding and a demonstration of practical application through evidence based documentation will be created.

OR

Research Paper Taken in a major core class – separate credit not awarded
0 credits
The research paper must be taken in a major core course and the topic is approved by the instructor of the course. The paper must follow APA guidelines and be a minimum of 12-15 pages in length.. The research paper is expected to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the student’s primary field of study and offer an opportunity to develop a noteworthy project to present to future employers. The paper is submitted to the Department Chair for final approval. The paper is then submitted as part the students CGR.