What Courses Will I Take in a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Program?

Considering an early childhood education degree? Here are the courses you'll take, plus the career-focused skills you'll develop in the classroom and during fieldwork.

portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.

Published October 28, 2022

Edited by Tyler Epps
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What Courses Will I Take in a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Program?
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With an early childhood education (ECE) degree, you can become a childcare worker, preschool teacher, or daycare director. But what classes will you take during a bachelor's in early childhood education?

During an ECE degree, you'll take courses on child development, program administration, and classroom management. These classes can strengthen your planning, communication, and leadership skills. Then, you will apply your classroom learning during a hands-on practicum. By graduation, you'll have the knowledge and skills necessary for leadership roles in early childhood education.

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Ready to start your journey?

8 Classes You Can Expect to Take in an Early Childhood Education Program

Curious about what to expect in an early childhood education program? Learn more about some of the most common courses that prepare graduates for careers in early childhood education.

1. Introduction to Early Childhood Education

In introductory classes, you'll explore the core principles and concepts of early childhood education. The course introduces child development and learning theories, trends in preschool education, and the best practices for educating young children.

Depending on the program, you might observe early childhood educators and classrooms.

2. Child Development

Understanding child development will help you create supportive, safe learning environments. This class covers brain development and its relationship to emotional, physical, and social development.

You'll examine language skills, physical changes, and cognitive growth from birth through adolescence. The course links child development to environments like the home and classroom.

3. Observation and Assessment

Learn how to observe children in diverse environments to understand their development and growth. You will examine assessment techniques and explore the relationship between assessment and program development.

Research-based approaches will help you strengthen your classroom leadership skills. The course also emphasizes classroom management and the tools you can use to create a safe classroom.

4. Language and Literacy Development

Before kindergarten, children develop key literacy skills. Learn how to integrate literacy skills in daycare and preschool settings, including emerging reading skills.

During the class, you'll study language and literacy development. You will also apply your knowledge in projects such as designing literacy activities.

5. Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning play important roles in early childhood education. Learn how to help children develop their self-regulation skills and strengthen their emotional resilience.

The course will teach you how to encourage healthy social relationships between children. You'll also learn how fostering trusting relationships supports social and emotional learning.

6. ECE Administration

Are you interested in roles like lead teacher or program director? A course in early childhood education administration can help you build key leadership and management skills.

You will learn how to evaluate programs, train teachers, and implement improvements. The course may also cover budgeting, parental relationships, and licensing requirements.

7. Curriculum Development

In daycares and preschools, children strengthen their fine motor skills, creative abilities, and foundational math and literacy skills. Learn how to build and implement a curriculum that teaches core skills.

You will study developmentally appropriate activities, curriculum assessment, and learning theory to create a strong curriculum.

8. Early Childhood Special Education

Explore the best practices when caring for young children with exceptional needs. The course covers instructional strategies, inclusive approaches, and differentiation in early childhood settings.

You will also learn how to work with families to support children with disabilities. The class might incorporate a practicum component to gain hands-on experience.

5 Skills You'll Learn In Early Childhood Education Courses

Throughout your early childhood education courses, you'll strengthen key skills and abilities. Programs also incorporate a fieldwork component to apply the following skills in a daycare or preschool setting.

  • Assessment: Your classes will explore the emotional, cognitive, and physical development of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Drawing on your knowledge of child development, you will learn assessment techniques to apply in the classroom.
  • Planning: Children benefit from engaging, creative activities. Your coursework will emphasize developmentally appropriate projects and how to adapt plans to each child's needs.
  • Behavior Management: You'll learn how to address conflict, create a safe environment, and encourage respectful behaviors in the classroom. Then, you'll apply behavior management techniques during your practicum.
  • Communication: As an early childhood educator, you'll work closely with children, parents, and other educators. Strong communication skills, including trust-building with children, play a central role in your training.
  • Leadership: In addition to administrative skills, your courses will cover classroom leadership, program assessment, and leadership styles.

What Are the Fieldwork Requirements for an Early Childhood Education Degree?

The best early childhood education programs blend classroom learning with experiential components. You will likely complete a practicum, internship, or student teaching experience as part of your fieldwork requirement.

During the practicum, you will visit diverse ECE settings and interact with teachers and children. By applying your classroom knowledge, you will gain valuable hands-on training.

The fieldwork requirement prepares you for early childhood education jobs like preschool teacher, childcare worker, or preschool director.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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