Early Childhood Studies

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General Education Courses

Click here for a complete list of curriculum requirements


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

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 from birth to age three.

Basic Professional Practices Orientation in Early Childhood Studies
ECS 309 4 credits
This course is designed to introduce students to procedures and issues relevant in the field of education. Students will explore the origins and foundations of the field, understand the importance of individually and culturally appropriate curriculum, and develop an awareness of ethics, trends, professionalism, professional standards, and training required in education.

Language, Arts, and Literacy in Early Childhood Education
ECS 325 4 credits
This course explores the importance of theory and understanding and practical implementation of promising practices to promote communication and early literacy skill acquisition in early childhood education, birth through the early primary years. It provides knowledge and understanding of how young children develop emergent literacy skills and language through the integration of print into the environment, use of children’s literature, and writing across the early childhood curriculum. Its focus includes strategies for the plan and implementation of developmentally appropriate literacy activities, materials, and experiences into the early childhood classroom to promote children’s expressive and receptive language skills. It stresses the importance of family involvement in the young child’s cognitive development in language arts.

Effective Mechanisms for Working with Families, Communities and Organizations
ECS 330 4 credits
The course is designed to assist ECE professionals with development of skills and knowledge that will enable them to work effectively across multiple systems. Group process, effective strategies for staffing committees, communication styles and nuances, methods for organizational assessment and planning, systems theory, and mechanisms for creating family -centered early childhood care and education environments and community partnerships will be discussed.

Curriculum Development for Early Childhood Education
ECS 405 4 credits
This course presents an exploration of developmentally appropriate curriculum for young children including socio-dramatic play, sensory experiences, blocks, math, science, music, language arts and literacy, manipulatives, gross motor activities, outdoor play, cooking, field trips, and technology. Students will use their knowledge of child development to plan and present developmentally appropriate curriculum while utilizing classroom management strategies.

Classroom Management and Organization
ECS 411 4 credits
This course provides an introduction to developmentally appropriate methods of guiding young children’s behavior including communication skills for use with young children, staff, and parents. Students will gain an understanding of appropriate and safe early care and education environments and how their design may assist in the promotion of young children’s development for successful play, positive social interactions, self-regulation, and behavior management.

Observation and Planning
ECS 412 4 credits
This course will focus on the growth and development (physical, socio-cultural, emotional, cognitive, language and aesthetic) of young children. It will combine observation of children and required readings to develop a better understanding of the uniqueness of individuals and how they respond in relationships with others and develop through exploration and activities across the curriculum. The early care and education profession requires an ongoing understanding of child development at different stages in order to objectively conduct planned observations and use documentation and data for evidence based assessment for quality and accountability and in planning for the individual child, groups of children, and programmatically.

Multicultural Education and Administration
ECS 430 4 credits
The 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.

Policy and Administrative Issues for Child Care Administrators
ECS 440 4 credits
The course provides a macro-level perspective for Early Childhood Educators interested in the development and/or the administration of the day-to-day operations of a child care program. Specific emphasis will be directed toward Human Resource Development, Board Development, Fiscal Accountability, Program Development, Licensure, Advocacy via Policy Development and Monitoring, and Community Involvement.

Cognition and Learning in Early Childhood
PSY 349 4 credits
This course explores early childhood cognition and development. This course takes a multicultural approach to both learning and development in the early years. Designed for future teachers, this text explores birth to age eight child development with cognitive development embedded in the context of development. Specific topics include cognitive development from infancy through school age literacy, language, and schooling. Challenges of special education and atypical development are included.

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
Capstone Portfolio


Research Paper Taken in a major core class – separate credit not awarded
0 credits
Research Paper