Jose S., Class of 2022

Bachelor of Arts Degree
in Early Childhood
Education (BAECE)

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Home » Programs » Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education (BAECE)

Help Children Build a Strong Foundation for Learning

National University’s Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education gives you the tools and skills to make an impact in the lives of young learners. Fostering a love of learning in children under the age of eight can set them up for success throughout their entire educational journey. Beyond learning academics, early childhood education focuses on social and emotional development and helps young minds develop a positive outlook on education. Whether you’re looking to advance your career as an early childhood educator or begin in the field, a bachelor’s degree will give you a competitive edge in the job market.

The BAECE program at NU is based on a conceptual framework of current theory, contemporary perspectives, and sound research findings. You’ll gain the knowledge, skills, practice, reflection, and field experiences needed to become efficient, competent, and an effective professional in the field. You’ll learn to design appropriate learning environments, individual and adaptive curricula, and instructional strategies and techniques to maximize learning outcomes.

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Course Details

Course Listing

Preparation for the Major

  • 4 courses; 18 quarter units

Course Name

Overview of major and theoretical frameworks and perspectives. Focus on gender and cultural impact on biological, physical, cognitive, social, moral, emotional and behavioral aspects of development for effective educational practices.

Focus on the influence of family, school and community on development and education of the young child. Special emphasis on the role of nutrition, positive home and school environments and community resources.

Focus on cultural pluralism and its impact on development and education in regards to teaching and learning strategies. Emphasis on self-examination, reflection, and integration of current processes involved in interactions and relationships in society.

Focus on the eight components for coordinated health for young children in out-of-home care. Health, physical education, health and nutrition services, health promotion for the staff, counseling and psychological services, a safe healthy environment, and family involvement, and community resources and personnel will be addressed. Attention will be directed towards children with special needs and challenging behaviors as well as legal and ethical issues in the field of early childhood.

Requirements for the Major

  • 12 courses; 54 quarter units

Course Name

Focus on local, state and federal statutes and regulations in early education settings. Emphasis on ethical codes of conduct, including analysis of legal and ethical dilemmas and practice.

PrerequisiteECE 201; ECE 210; HED 220 and ECE 211

Inquiry into the nature and tasks of early cognition including social, cultural and biological foundations. Attention paid to current research implications for learning theory, individual differences and classroom instruction.

PrerequisiteECE 330

Focus is on infants and toddlers in group care settings. Emphasis is on close, caring relationships in the cultural context of the child and family, understanding developmental milestones, the identification of special needs, and current issues of health, safety and nutrition.

PrerequisiteECE 330

Focus on acquisition and developmental aspects of language related to emergent literacy skills. Emphasis on current research regarding language experiences that contributes to literacy acquisitions, including assessment and instruction.

PrerequisiteECE 330

Focus on essential elements of curriculum design including writing of goals, learning outcomes, developmentally appropriate activities, assessment measures and integration of the arts. Alignment with national and state standards stressed.

PrerequisiteECE 330

Focus on identification, design and delivery of developmentally age appropriate experiences that encourage active math, science and technology inquiry. Inquiry related to emerging notions of mathematical and scientific processes is basis for activities along with the inclusion of technology as a strategy.

PrerequisiteECE 330

Focus on play as the primary learning modality for young children. Theoretical basis for play as a means of teaching, role in learning and as a means of assessment emphasized.

PrerequisiteECE 330

Focus on acquiring and enhancing skills in the selection, administration, scoring, interpretation, reporting of screening assessment instruments. Emphasis on designing and implementing curricula based on assessment results.

PrerequisiteECE 330

Exploration of variations in child development and identification of specific disabilities in young children. Inclusive early childhood programs, specific strategies for adaptation and accommodation of the core curriculum to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of children who are at-risk or have special needs are examined.

PrerequisiteECE 330

Focus on observation, identification, description, and assessment of challenging behaviors. Designing and implementing effective teaching and learning strategies to successfully guide these behaviors within a social and cultural context.

PrerequisiteECE 330

Focus on acquiring knowledge through current research and developmental theories to plan responsive environments that strengthen family-school partnerships. Will explore through case studies optimum communication techniques for building and maintaining positive relationships with family members.

PrerequisiteSatisfactory completion of all core courses with an average grade of “C” (2.0) or better in the core.

Participation in a collaborative field/academic experience to reflect and actively practice material covered in core classes. Field experience must be in approved setting and arranged by student. Grading is S or U only.

Upper-Division Electives

  • 4 courses; 18 quarter units

Candidates must choose four (4) elective courses from the following:

Course Name

Focus on enriching and enhancing young children’s learning through the creative arts. Emphasis on integrating creative experiences within core subjects to create developmentally appropriate experiences.

A survey of literature for young children in preschool through first grade. Emphasis on effective read aloud and story telling strategies for the developing language and listening skills, for developing concepts of print and vocabulary and for fostering a love of reading and early literacy skills.

Focus on authentic informal and formal assessments for infants and toddlers, and the use of case study to develop observation skills leading to the promotion of responsive environments.

Focus on infant and toddler development and the role of the adult in supporting optimal outcomes through routines, curriculum planning, and implementation. Candidates will examine the primary components of quality care and education.

Focus on understanding the value of providing opportunities for infants and toddlers to engage in sensory art exploration as well as experimentation with culturally diverse music and dance. Emphasis is on creating experiences indoors and outdoors focusing on the aesthetic process of experiencing various rhythms, tones, textures and color.

Focus on administration of early childhood programs. Emphasis on working with boards, staff, parents and volunteers. Highlights include hiring, assessing, and supervising staff and volunteers. Attention to designing staff and volunteer professional development programs.

Emphasis on theories, principles and practical methods of leadership and supervision applicable to early childhood settings. Demonstrations of instructional, operational and organizational leadership. Focus on components of human resources related to staff recruitment, development and evaluation.

Focus on financial policies and management of resources in early education settings. Emphasis on accounting fundamentals of preparing, recording and monitoring funds.

Understand the impact of crisis, trauma and abuse on young children’s development. Examine research-based classroom strategies to support and mitigate the impact on young children. Focus on building resilience through collaborative partnerships, community resources and advocacy.

Guidelines on planning, designing and organizing physical learning environments for young children. Understanding, comparing, integrating theoretical frameworks on indoor and outdoor environments.

Degree and Course Requirements

To receive a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree, students must complete at least 180 quarter units as articulated below, 45 of which must be completed in residence at National University, 76.5 of which must be completed at the upper-division level, and the University General Education requirements.

In the absence of transfer credit, additional general electives may be necessary to satisfy total units for the degree. Refer to the section on undergraduate admission procedures for specific information regarding admission and evaluation.

A bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education opens doors in a variety of industries, including preschool education, preschool and daycare administration, recreation, elementary and secondary education and community family service organizations. * Employers in this field are looking for skills in teaching, communications, first aid, leadership, planning, management, operations, research, and customer service.

With this bachelor’s degree from National University, you will be prepared to seek roles in the education field such as:

  • Preschool Teachers
  • Pre-K Teachers
  • Summer Camp Teachers
  • Child Care Teachers
  • Early Childhood Teachers
  • Toddler Teachers
  • Infant Teachers
  • Head Start Teachers
  • Home Day Care Provider/Owner

*SOURCE: Emsi Labor Analyst- Report. Emsi research company homepage at https://www.economicmodeling.com/company/ (Report viewed: April, 2022). DISCLAIMER: The data provided is for Informational purposes only. Emsi data and analysis utilizes government sources to provide insights on industries, demographics, employers, in-demand skills, and more to align academic programs with labor market opportunities. Cited projections may not reflect local or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Current and prospective students should use this data with other available economic data to inform their educational decisions.

The BA in Early Childhood Education curriculum at NU is very rigorous and empowering, with a unique structure focused on three foundations: play, practice, and policy. Throughout the program, you will work with faculty mentors who are also practicing professionals in the field who are able to provide real-world insights and up-to-date knowledge. This also means they share your passion for bettering the lives of youth through meaningful early education.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to gain hands-on experience, which will prove to be extremely valuable as you pursue a fulfilling career. Upon completion of the program, you’ll have the confidence and ability to make a lasting impact.

Earning you Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education will help you remain competitive in the job market, and many schools and centers today require a bachelor’s degree for consideration. Early childhood education is a critical period for child development and is becoming increasingly important, as it has proven to have positive lasting impact. This is a rewarding career path for individuals who care about children and their future.

With this degree, you’ll be qualified to pursue rewarding careers such as preschool teacher, kindergarten teacher (BA in ECD with ITL needed), childcare center director, preschool director, and many others. You’ll also be primed to earn a solid income.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 124,300 openings for kindergarten and elementary school teachers open up each year. In May 2021, the median annual wage for elementary school teachers was $61,400, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $99,420. Their kindergarten colleagues earned about the same.*

*SOURCE: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-5

Program Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s BA in Early Childhood Education program, you will be able to:

  • Identify essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas and resources for early childhood education
  • Develop oral, written, and technological skills for communicating with families and very young children
  • Create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for young children
  • Use systematic observations, documentation, and other assessment strategies in partnership with families and professionals to positively influence children’s development and learning
  • Implement a curriculum that promotes development and learning outcomes for diverse young children
  • Demonstrate ethical, legal, and professional standards in early childhood education
  • Create positive relationships and supportive interactions with young children

Hear From Our Faculty

Watch this video to hear Professor Lori Piowlski talk about the need for passionate, heartfelt, lifelong learners to join us in NU’s Teacher Education Department.

Professor Lori Piowlski, Chair, Teacher Education Department

“Right now, early childhood is at such a crossroads and we really need passionate, heartfelt, lifelong learners to come into this field, who can really take charge and become agents of change.”

-Chair, Teacher Education Department, Professor

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To that end, we’ve simplified and streamlined our application process, so you can get enrolled in your program right away. Because we accept and review applications year round, you can begin class as soon as next month, depending on your program and location of choice.

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To speak with our admissions team, call (855) 355-6288 or request information and an advisor will contact you shortly. If you’re ready to apply, simply start your application today

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Lisa Alcantara, Class of 2022

“This degree will help me to make an impact in my community by providing me with the appropriate tools, methods, theories, and practices in the Early Childhood Education field to provide my current and future classes with the highest quality of education I can provide them.”

– Lisa Alcantara, Class of 2022

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Early Childhood Education Program FAQs

Overall, if you want to have a career that involves teaching and helping young children, an early childhood education degree might be the best choice for you.

ECE units refer to early childhood education units. They are essentially units of measure akin to credits for courses related to early childhood education or early childhood development.

Early childhood education (ECE) focuses on the academic, social, and cognitive skills that develop in children from birth through age 8 according to NAEYC. Elementary education refers to the primary education that comes after preschool but before middle school (typically kindergarten through fifth or sixth grade.)

Online elementary education degree programs that can prepare you to become a kindergarten teacher are available, though you’ll need to complete a student teaching requirement in person. NU does offer a BA in ECD with ITL, which can prepare candidates to meet the TK requirement as well as obtain the multiple subject credential. Read about online bachelor’s degree programs in elementary education and their typical course requirements.

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements in a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program-specific requirements. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

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