Individuals enrolled in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program complete course work that combines theory and practical experience in working with young children and their families. ECE courses are based on Washington State Skill Standards for the Early Childhood and School-Age Care Professions.
You may enter the program during any quarter on a fulltime or part-time basis. Courses are offered on the Port Angeles campus during late afternoons and evenings to accommodate individuals who work. Courses also are offered in Port Townsend, Forks, and Neah Bay through Interactive Television (ITV). Most courses have an online component and several courses are offered entirely online. All Early Childhood Education courses and selected EDUC courses are STARS approved for continuing education.
- Create and maintain a developmentally appropriate, safe, and healthy learning environment for children.
- Support the growth, development, and diverse individual needs of each child.
- Plan, provide, and evaluate developmentally appropriate programming and curriculum to meet diverse group needs.
- Provide support to meet the diverse needs of families and build family partnerships.
- Build community partnerships and advocate for early learning and childcare issues.
- Participate in on-going professional development and contribute to a professional team environment.
Individuals may earn short-term certificates in Curriculum for Young Children, Infants and Toddlers; Working with School-Agers; and Children with Special Needs.
Individuals who earn a 55-credit certificate in ECE may find opportunities as nannies, family child-care providers, or respitecare providers for children with special needs. Others may become education assistants in preschools.
Graduates with a 90-credit AAS Degree in Early Childhood Education find employment as child-care specialists, curriculum-program managers, or teachers in child-care centers serving infants and children up to age 12. Graduates may also qualify for positions in Head Start/ECEAP as Early Head Start specialists for infants/toddlers, preschool teachers, home visitors, or family-educators, and as para-educators in grades K-5. In addition, opportunities are increasing for family support paraprofessionals in human services and mental health agencies.
The Associate of Arts Transfer Degree with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education may be used as preparation for full transfer to a university in such related fields as education, speech pathology, child psychology, social services, and human services. You should consult an ECE advisor and the four-year college of your choice to determine transfer requirements.