Curriculum: Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Care & Education

July 01, 2023
August 21, 2023
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curriculum icon Curriculum at a Glance

With UC Online’s Associate in Early Childhood Care & Education (ECE), all of your coursework is completed online, providing the flexibility, accessibility, and control you need to complete your degree on your terms. With four (4) different concentrations to choose from, UC Online allows you to really personalize your educational experience.

Our courses give you information and strategies that you can learn today and apply in the classroom tomorrow! Graduates will be able to implement developmentally appropriate integrated activities and materials across the domains, including visual arts, music, movement, science and math, and early language development.

Upon completing the Associate degree program, many of our ECE graduates continue their education by pursuing a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education (Birth – Age 5)  – opening up even more opportunities for career growth and professional advancement.

Four Concentration Options:
  • Preschool: In the Preschool concentration, you will dive into planning developmentally appropriate curriculum experiences for children age three (3) through five (5) to ensure that they are ready for Kindergarten. This option includes two (2) semesters of practicum experiences in a preschool that may lead to the faculty’s recommendation for Ohio’s Pre-Kindergarten license.
  • Infant & Toddler: In the Infant & Toddler concentration, you will get an in-depth education on providing quality interactions and environments for children from birth to age three (3). This option includes a practicum experience in both infant and toddler classrooms.
  • Nature-Based Early Learning: The Nature-Based Early Learning concentration will provide the knowledge base or dispositions to work in Nature-Based Early Learning programs. This concentration specifically targets students seeking ways to use their greened-up playgrounds, playscapes, and nearby green space or those planning to obtain employment in nature-based early childhood programs or forest schools.
  • Administration: The Administration concentration is designed specifically for those in leadership positions in the field of early care and education. This option does not require a classroom practicum but includes shadowing an administrator.

This degree does not lead to Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 5 licensure.

Learn more about which courses are taken for each concentration by reviewing this Program Map and the below descriptions for all AAS in Early Childhood Care & Education courses that may be taken.

Graduation Requirements:
  • All Early Childhood Education (ECE) courses must be completed with C or higher (C- or below does not count towards graduation requirements and the course must be repeated).
  • Obtain at least a 2.0 University Grade Point Average.
  • Obtain at least a 2.5 University Grade Point Average if seeking Ohio Preschool Licensure.
  • Complete a minimum of 60 credit hours (at least 20 credit hours must be completed at the University of Cincinnati).
    • Electives: 9 credit hours
    • Child Development Coursework: 36 credit hours
    • Concentration Coursework: 15 credit hours
  • Be in good academic standing; that is, not on academic or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Submit a formal application for the degree by the posted semester of graduation deadline.

CDA Coursework: Through UC’s online Early Childhood Education program, students have the opportunity to meet the education requirements for obtaining the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ while receiving advanced standing in the Associate degree program.

Accreditation: The University of Cincinnati and all of its regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice & Human Rights (CECH) is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Course Title / Description Credit
English Composition
Course: ENGL1001
Credit: 3
English Composition 1001 is a writing-centered course that emphasizes the careful reading, analytical thinking, and persuasive strategies inherent in researching and writing within an academic community. Students learn that rhetorical knowledge is the basis of composing while learning to write with purpose, audience, context, and conventions in mind. Students develop rigorous academic research practices: how to locate and evaluate primary and secondary sources relevant to their line of inquiry and position their own ideas in conversation with public writing. Students also engage in regular self-reflection: articulating what they know, what they can do, and how to apply their knowledge and skills in various contexts.
Intermediate Composition
Course: ENGL2089
Credit: 3
Intermediate Composition is a writing-centered course that builds on what students learn in first-year composition and focuses students’ attention on theoretical underpinning of how meaning is made, understood, and communicated within and across various discourse communities and genres. The course emphasizes critical reading and writing, advanced research and analysis skills, and rhetorical sensitivity to differences in academic, professional, and public composing. This course challenges students to engage in substantive projects drawing on primary research and source analysis methods and asks students to document, communicate, and reflect on their research.
Educational Technology
Course: CI1001
Credit: 3
This course encompasses effectively analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating educational technology as an instructional resource in the classroom as related to principles of learning and assessment. Students will develop increased classroom communication and management skills through discussions, modeling, laboratory experiences, and completion of a comprehensive project.
Learning Early Care & Education Online
Course: ECE1005
Credit: 3
This course provides a basic overview of the skills needed to be a successful online student inEarly Care & Education. Topics include: developmentally appropriate practice in preschool classrooms, national and state standards in early care and education, professional communication, academic writing, using references in writing, best practices for an online student, and study skills.
Health, Safety, and Nutrition
Course: ECE1020
Credit: 3
The goal of this course is to explore concepts of theory and practice in early childhood education about health, safety, nutrition, and other related topics, such as gross motor development, recognition and response to maltreatment, support for inclusion of children with disabilities and special needs, and considerations for creating linkages between schools, families, and communities. Students must receive a C (not a C-) or better in every ECE course in order to graduate.
Introductory Child Development
Course: ECE2000
Credit: 3
This course is a study of the growth and development of the child, prenatal through age 8 for the creation of healthy, respectful, supportive, challenging, and effective learning environments. The following domains will be addressed: physical, cognitive, language, and social/emotional development. Students develop an understanding of theories of development, current research, and influences on development such as nature and nurture. Observational techniques for assessing development are examined. Multiple and interrelated influences on the development and learning of young children will be examined. Students will need to have access to a child (birth through 8 years) for this course.
Classroom Organization and Guidance
Course: ECE2010
Credit: 3
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. The student will construct concepts and develop skills which will provide a foundation for classroom environmental design, organization and guidance. During this course students must have access to a classroom other than their own.
Families, Communities, and Schools
Course: ECE2025
Credit: 3
This course explores educational considerations in working with young children and families from a variety of cultural, ethnic, and other diverse backgrounds. This course also addresses issues related to working with families in early care and education and to learning strategies for building partnerships, communicating about child progress, and accessing community resources.
Infant and Toddler Care and Education
Course: ECE2040
Credit: 3
This course addresses specific caregiving of infants and toddlers in both individual and group care settings. Course content will cover environmental design, curriculum implementation, and responsive adult-child interaction. Students will need access to a child between the ages of 3-30 months who is not a child living in their home. Students will also need access to a child care center for a classroom observation.
Foundations in Early Childhood Education
Course: ECE1001
Credit: 3
This course is designed for beginning early childhood education students. The course introduces the students to the current knowledge base related to families, how young children develop and learn, and early childhood education programs. The course content includes: (a) current theories on how young children develop and learn, (b) the historical, philosophical, and social foundations of contemporary programs, (c) the role of the early childhood professional, and (d) current early childhood education issues. This is a required course for the Early Childhood Education major and there are no prerequisite courses. This course requires observations and participation in the classes at a highly rated preschool.
Educational Psychology
Course: EDST1002
Credit: 3
This course covers the major theories of human development and learning, motivation, instructional strategies, assessment, and examines similarities and differences in learners. The role of factors in students' development and learning are considered.
Individuals with Exceptionalities
Course: SPED1001
Credit: 3
This is a survey course addressing identification, developmental characteristics, and intervention strategies for individuals with exceptionalities across educational and community settings.
Preschool Internship
Course: ECE2085
Credit: 3
This course requires students to work with preschoolers in an early childhood setting. This is the second part of the preschool experience sequence. This course emphasizes development of interactive learning that stretches across curriculum areas. Students are expected to assume and manage the full range of teaching and care giving responsibilities for a group of preschool children. It is an expectation that students will produce a portfolio that represents a culmination of their teaching experiences throughout the degree program. This course requires access to a preschool classroom, where students complete 200 hours of in-class practice. In addition, videotaped documentation will be a reflective tool used in this course for students, mentors, and supervisors. Successful completion of ECE2080 Pre-K Student Teaching is required for enrollment to this course.
Creative Arts in Early Care and Education
Course: ECE2020
Credit: 3
This course is an introduction to the creative arts, including visual arts, block design, sensory experiences, music, and drama. It is designed for students to explore both the theoretical and practical aspects of creative expression as they relate to young children birth to age five. Students will construct knowledge and understanding of these creative domains as well as demonstrate implementation of strategies and techniques for involving children in aesthetic experiences.
Language Arts & Literacy in Early Care and Education
Course: ECE2015
Credit: 3
This course focuses on understanding how young children birth to five develop oral language and emergent reading and writing skills. It also examines ways teachers can provide developmentally appropriate, literacy rich experiences in an integrated early childhood classroom through play,environmental design and knowledge of children's literature. This course requires access to children ages 2 - 5 years.
Preschool Student Teaching
Course: ECE2080
Credit: 3
This course is a student teaching experience where students will work with preschoolers in an early childhood setting. This is the first of two preschool experiences in a classroom setting. This course focuses on student interaction skills with children and examines how she/he uses communication and effective guidance strategies to promote children's self esteem and prosocial behavior and managing an effective and positive learning environment. This course also requires students to observe children, plan, and implement curriculum that is both individually and developmentally appropriate. This course requires access to a preschool classroom, where 150 hours of in-class practice will be completed. In addition, videotaped documentation will be a reflective tool used in this course for students, mentors, and supervisors. It is required that a significant amount of appropriate coursework be completed in order to be successful in this course. Please speak with a program official for details.
Math, Science and Social Studies for ECE
Course: ECE3110
Credit: 3
This course focuses on understanding the conceptual development of mathematics, science, and social studies in preschool children and aligns with Ohio Learning and Development Standards in these areas. Students learn to design and implement appropriate curriculum within an integrated curriculum.
Infant and Toddler Practicum
Course: ECE4055
Credit: 3
This course is a practicum experience where students will work with infants and toddlers in an early childhood setting. The course content examines infant and toddler caring practices that focus on respectful, responsive, and reciprocal interactions between infants and toddlers and early care professionals. This course also emphasizes student implementation of curriculum materials captured through videotape documentation that serves as a reflective tool for students and supervisors. Students will be required to spend 70 hours in an infant classroom and 70 hours in a toddler classroom. Enrollment in this course requires successful completion of ECE4050 Responsive Environments for Infants and Toddlers.
Responsive Environments for Infants and Toddlers
Course: ECE4050
Credit: 3
This course explores the role of the environment in infant and toddler care settings. Course content will examine environmental design, emergent curriculum and implementation, and how the environment is responsive to the developmental needs of infants and toddlers. Students will need access to infant and toddler classrooms for this course.
Social Emotional Development and Guidance for Infants and Toddlers
Course: ECE2050
Credit: 3
This course explores the domains of social and emotional development of infants and toddlers including guidance strategies. It provides direction for planning experiences that promote and support social and emotional development.
Physical, Cognitive, and Language Development in Infant and Toddlers
Course: ECE2045
Credit: 3
This course explores the domains of physical and cognitive development, including language and pre-literacy skills, of infants and toddlers. The course provides guidance for planning experiences that enhance physical, cognitive, and language development including dual language learning.
Supervision and Organization of ECE Programs
Course: ECE2070
Credit: 3
This course focuses on the supervision and organizational structure of staff in early care and education programs. Topics will include recruitment and orientation of new staff, staff development, reflective supervision and the development of systematic observation of staff to inform continuous improvement.
Assessment and Evaluation in Early Care and Education
Course: ECE3025
Credit: 3
Assessment is an important and ongoing responsibility of professionals who serve young children and their families. This course fosters an in-depth study of authentic assessment practices for children ages birth to five including identification of children with special needs. Use of data for curriculum planning and measurement of quality in early childhood programsis included. Students need access to one child between the ages of 3 and five who is not their own child.
Creative and Instructional Environments for Young Children
Course: ECE3045
Credit: 3
This course will focus on creating developmentallyappropriate environments, curricula, and instructional strategies to foster the intellectual, creative, and social-emotional development of young children.
Operation of an ECE Program
Course: ECE2075
Credit: 3
This course focuses on the business and operational aspects of an early care and educationprogram. Topics will include business practices (budgeting, financial systems, and accounting practices), program evaluation, facilities management (including equipping the center) and strategic planning to meet the needs of families and the community.
Administration and Leadership in Early Care and Education
Course: ECE3035
Credit: 3
This course provides an overview of the principlesand characteristics of leadership and administration in the early care and education profession. Students will explore the importance of leadership skills, center administration, and working with families. Students will need access to preschool children and a center for an observational interview and assessment.
Nature-Based Early Learning
Course: ECE1060
Credit: 3
This course sets the foundation for nature-based early learning. Students will study the principles, philosophical underpinnings, and models for nature-based education in early childhood education, exploring various models of nature-based early learning. Students will study the tenets of early childhood environmental education and explore the propensities of a nature-based educator and how nature lends itself to a child-driven curriculum.
Movement, Storytelling, and the Arts in Nature
Course: ECE2160
Credit: 3
This course focuses on how teachers can build on children’s enjoyment of play to encourage the development of environmental understandings and 21st Century skills for diverse groups of children. Through creative arts, music, movement, and stories, students will learn how to plan and implement joyful instruction that links to children’s immediate surroundings, later expanding to larger environmental concerns and contexts.
Becoming an Early Childhood Teacher-Naturalist
Course: ECE2165
Credit: 3
This course aims to develop both teachers’ and children’s penchant for nature (biophilia) in exploratory, contemplative, and knowledgeable ways. The quintessence of curiosity about natural phenomena will be fostered throughout the course. Students will explore ways to advocate for children’s rights to experience a connection to nature. They will also be introduced to the role of science and the nature of expertise.
Inquiry and Early STEM Learning in Nature
Course: ECE3065
Credit: 3
This course explores the numerous ways science, mathematics, engineering, and technology can be integrated into nature-based early learning. It introduces Whitehead’s learning cycle of romance, precision, and generalization with regard to a nature and play-based curriculum for young children. It focuses on a reflective, educative STEM curriculum that fosters eco literacy development within a framework of early childhood environmental education. (APELS videos)
Interpreting Nature with Young Children
Course: ECE3070
Credit: 3
Students will self-select a venue for a field experience in a nature-based learning setting (nature-based school, nature camp, zoo, museum, etc). Upon approval of the venue by the university course instructor, the student will engage in 20 hours during the semester supporting the lead instructor and employing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions inherent in the pre-requisite coursework. Students will engage in scheduled seminars and fulfill the documentation requirements for this practicum experience.
Introduction to Education for Sustainability
Course: EDST2055
Credit: 3
This course will present information on sustainability principles set forth by UNESCO and environmental education practices. Student will learn about the history of Environmental Education and will focus on preparing lessons using an eco-pedagogical approach for teaching about environmental sustainability across disciplines. Students will delve into research and phenomena regarding the interconnections between physical, living, and human systems.
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