Career Description

The ECE Fundamentals certificate is designed to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to begin a career in Early Childhood Education. It prepares students for a variety of positions in the ECE field, but the main emphasis is on supportive roles, such as classroom or teacher assistants, in settings that serve children birth through age eight.

Course of Study

The certificate is equivalent to a Step 8 in the Oregon Registry. (The Oregon Registry Steps are a sequence of 12 steps that ECE professionals can ascend as they increase their training and education in the early childhood care and education field. As an ECE professional reaches specific steps they qualify for higher positions in the field.) It addresses all six of the Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators at an introductory to intermediate level. The certificate also provides students with the 120 hours of training needed to sit for the nationally recognized exam to earn the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

The ECE Fundamentals certificate runs four consecutive terms, fall through summer. It is designed for part-time students but can be combined with the Early Childhood Education Curriculum certificate to achieve full-time enrollment status. All certificate courses may be applied towards the Early Childhood Education AAS degree.

Program Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this certificate will be able to:

  • Use introductory knowledge of early childhood development and of individual children in the implementation of early childhood curriculum, teaching practices, and learning environments that are safe, healthy, respectful, culturally and linguistically responsive, developmentally appropriate, supportive and challenging for each child.
  • Use knowledge of family structures and available community resources to establish respectful, reciprocal relationships that affirm and respect family diversity and engage families in their child’s development and learning as collaborative partners.
  • Use observation, documentation and assessment to inform instruction and planning in early learning settings in ways that are ethically grounded and developmentally, culturally, ability, and linguistically appropriate to promote positive outcomes for each child in partnership with families and professional colleagues.
  • Use supportive relationships and interactions with young children along with developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically relevant, anti-bias and evidence-based teaching skills and strategies to meet the needs of each child.
  • Use critical thinking and problem solving to apply knowledge of child development and early learning standards to the implementation of curriculum across content areas, facilitating individual and group learning. 
  • Use collaborative, reflective, and intentional practice in their work with young children and as members of the early childhood profession.
  • Use knowledge of history, current issues, the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct, and the mission of the early childhood education profession to support and advocate for young children, families and the profession.