Course Number:
ECE 120
Transcript Title:
Introduction to Early Childhood Education
Aug 09, 2022
Jul 11, 2023
Total Credits:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture / Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement:
Satisfies General Education requirement:
Grading Options
A-F, P/NP, Audit
Default Grading Options
Repeats available for credit:

Placement into IRW 115 or WR 115

Course Description

Introduces practitioners to the major tenets of the Early Childhood Education profession with emphasis on: historical influences, fundamental principles, current issues, careers, program models and approaches, and ethical and professional standards in accordance with the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Prerequisites: placement into IRW 115 or WR 115. Audit available.

Course Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Summarize historical influences, fundamental principles, and current issues in the Early Childhood Education field.
  2. Compare and contrast early childhood education program models and approaches.
  3. Identify careers in the Early Childhood Education field.
  4. Summarize the ethical and professional standards for an ECE professional.

Suggested Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessments may include: class participation, quizzes, portfolio artifacts, interviews, research paper, written observations, journal reflections, and written assignments.

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content

Outcome #1: Summarize historical influences and current issues in the Early Childhood Education field.
  1. History of ECE in the U.S.
    • American influences
      • National Association for the Education of Young Children
    • Influences from abroad
    • Social change
  2. Fundamental principles
    • Young children
      • Are capable and competent
      • Learn best when their needs are met
      • Are unique in their growth and development
      • Develop and learn within the context of their family and culture
    • Families
      • Are the primary caregivers and educators of young children
      • Are critical partners in all early learning environments
      • Children can thrive across diverse family structures and all families bring strengths
    • Early Learning Environments
      • Support young children to learn in the context of relationships
      • Reinforce the importance of the cultural context of young children, families and communities.
      • Provide opportunities for active exploration
      • Provide experiences that are relevant and integrated across domains of development
      • Intentionally promote the development of skills and knowledge
      • Utilize authentic assessment
      • Provide opportunities for children to benefit from diversity
      • Support children’s language development in their primary language
    • Communities
      • Believe that all children deserve high-quality early learning experiences
      • Offer a variety of resources that support early growth and course development
      • Strategically plan to meet the needs of children and families
  3. Current Issues
    • Upholding the value of play
      • “True” play
      • Risky play
    • Defining “quality” ECE programs
    • Universal preschool
    • Equity and inclusion in the ECE classroom
    • Reducing the achievement gap
    • The role of assessment in ECE
    • Guidance vs. punishment
    • Professionalizing the field and increasing compensation
      • Power to the Profession
Outcome #2: Compare and contrast ECE program models and approaches.
  1. Types of Programs in the U.S.
    • Center-based programs
      • Head Start and Early Head Start
      • Private programs
    • Home-based programs
    • After School Programs
    • Parent Co-ops
  2. Approaches
    • Teacher-led (traditional)
    • Play-based
    • Emergent Curriculum
    • Waldorf
    • Montessori
    • Reggio Emilia
    • HighScope
    • Bank Street
    • Whānua
    • Anji Play
    • Outdoor & forest schools
Outcome #3: Identify careers in Early Childhood Education field.
  1. Identify local and national early care and education programs
    • Research positions within these programs
      • Identify job responsibilities, educational requirements and wages.
Outcome #4: Summarize the ethical and professional standards for an ECE professional.
  1. “Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators”
  2. “NAEYC’s Code of Ethical Conduct”
  3. Developmentally Appropriate Practice 

Suggested Texts and Materials

Copple, C. & Bredekamp, S. (2008). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs: Serving children from birth through age 8 (3rd ed.). NAEYC.

Gordon, A.M., & Browne, K.W. (2016). Beginning essentials in early childhood education (3rd ed.). Cengage Learning.

Additional Materials:

  • “Professional Standards & Competencies for Early Childhood Educators”
  • “NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment”
  • “Advancing Equity in ECE – NAEYC Position Statement”
  • “Living Our Commitments: A Pledge to All Children and Families” by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards

Department Notes

NAEYC Professional Standards & Competencies for Early Childhood Educators:

#1 - Child Development & Learning in Context

#6 - Professionalism as an Early Childhood Educator

Oregon Registry Core Knowledge Categories:

PPLD - Personal, Professional & Leadership Development (30 hours)