Online Early Childhood Education Degree Program

The need for well-qualified early childhood educators in today’s school systems is increasing and will continue to increase as a generation of teachers retires from the workforce. Southwestern College Professional Studies offers adult learners who want to teach birth through age 8 the opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Education in a format that allows a balanced approach to work, family and educational pursuits.

Courses for our early childhood education degree are offered completely online in 6- and 12-week sessions for anytime, anywhere convenience.

Students who complete the early childhood education degree online program may apply for full licensure in early childhood education birth through age 8 unified (unified licensure allows teachers the ability to teach regular or special education, birth through age 8), with the completion of the education licensure preparation program and passing scores on the ETS Praxis assessments required by the state.

Military personnel may also want to check out the Troops to Teachers program, which is a U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Defense program that helps eligible military personnel begin new careers as teachers in public schools. For more information, visit the Troops to Teachers website.

Southwestern College Professional Studies is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Kansas State Department of Education. Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

To see how you can earn your early childhood education degree online from Southwestern College, contact us today.

Program Outcomes

The Southwestern College teacher education program is a student-centered learning community dedicated to optimal intellectual growth, preparation for leadership in the field of education, personal development, ethical values, and lifelong service in a world beyond cultural boundaries. The goals of teacher education program are in the Conceptual Framework. This states that the professional educator will:

  • possess wisdom of practice;
  • have the ability to facilitate student learning;
  • have the ability to interact effectively;
  • have the ability to reflect.
  1. The educator is a reflective practitioner who uses an understanding of historical, philosophical, and social foundations of education to guide educational practices.
  2. The educator designs, implements, and evaluates curriculum and provides experiences for candidates to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn.
  3. The educator understands the role of technology in society and demonstrates skills using instructional tools and technology to gather, analyze, and present information, enhance instructional practices, facilitate professional productivity and communication, and help all students use instructional technology effectively
  4. The educator demonstrates an understanding of how individuals learn and develop intellectually, socially, and personally and provides learning opportunities that support this development.
  5. The educator uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  6. The educator demonstrates the ability to provide different approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are equitable, that are based on developmental levels, and that are adapted to diverse learners, including those with exceptionalities.
  7. The educator will design, implement, and evaluate arts experiences that are developmentally appropriate, meaningful and challenging for all students, that lead to positive learning outcomes, and that develop positive dispositions toward artistic explorations and expression.
  8. The educator knows, understands, and uses the major concepts of health education and human movement and physical activity as central elements to foster active, healthy life styles and enhanced quality of life for all students.
  9. The educator knows, understands, and uses the major concepts and modes of inquiry from the social studies the integrated study of history, geography, the social sciences, and other related areas to promote all students’ abilities to make informed decisions as citizens of a culturally diverse democratic society and interdependent world.
  10. The educator demonstrates a high level of competence in use of the English language arts and knows, understands and uses concepts from emerging literacy, reading, language and child development to teach reading, writing, speaking, viewing, listening, and thinking skills, and to help all students successfully apply their developing literacy skills to many different situations, materials, and ideas.

Required and Core Courses

Education Coursework

CORE101 Developing Academic and Professional Strengths
EDUC212 Education Entrance Seminar (1 credit hour)
EDUC 215 Foundations of Education
EDUC 216 Diversity Field Experience (1 credit hour)

Elementary Education Requirements

EDUC220 Educational Technology
EDUC280 Writing, Speaking, and Listening
EDUC311 Introduction to Early Childhood
EDUC325 Motor Development/Expressive Arts/Social Science
EDUC329 Children/Adolescent Literature
EDUC333 Teaching Young Children with Disabilities
EDUC335 Infant Development
EDUC336 Introduction to the Reading Process
EDUC339 Assessment Strategies in Early Childhood
EDUC341 Reading in the Elementary School
EDUC343 Home, School, and Community Issues
EDUC420 Oral Language Development
EDUC425 Administration, Guidance, and Behavior
EDUC429 Assessment in Early Childhood Intervention
EDUC432 Technology in Special Education
EDUC435 Science and Math
EDUC450 Introduction to Language and Linguistics
EDUC490 Teaching English as a Second Language

Professional Teacher Courses

Admission to Teacher Education required prior to enrolling in the following classes.

EDUC322 Educational Psychology
EDUC323 Introduction to Exceptionalities
EDUC359 Reading Practicum
EDUC437 Elementary School Methods and Management
EDUC440 Student Teaching Seminar
EDUC446 Observation and Supervised Teaching in Early Childhood Education

All classes are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated.

General Education Requirements

Composition: Composition I and Composition II
Speech: Speech
Math: Statistics, or Higher Level Math
Health: Critical Issues in Health
Social Science: General Psychology
Humanities (3 credit hours)
The Arts (3 credit hours)
Other Cultures (3 credit hours)
Natural Science (4 credit hours)
Developmental Psychology Course (3 credit hours)
HUM 499 Responsibility for the Future

The remainder of the requirements to reach graduation will come from your Competency Courses. See an admissions counselor for specific transfer credit substitutions.

Course Descriptions

Education Coursework

CORE101 Developing Academic and Professional Strengths

How does higher education help create the type of person that businesses want to hire? Learners will explore the answer to this question, and in doing so, help lay the foundation for academic and professional success. Each learner will develop a core set of skills needed to be both an effective college student and a successful professional in the 21st-century workplace. Learners will develop and practice practical strategies with which to become more efficient and effective learners, while also developing higher-order learning skills to reflect on critical issues relevant to both academic and professional environments such as personal responsibility and ethics.

EDUC212 Education Entrance Seminar (required for new students)

The course is designed to assist each prospective teacher in gaining a valid and comprehensive knowledge of what is involved in a teaching career and the application process to the Teacher Education Program at Southwestern College. (1 credit hour)

EDUC215 Foundations of Education

The course explores the theories and applications of educational philosophies for students’ use in both the classroom and their professional lives. Additionally, educational institutions will be examined from historical, economic, sociological, and political perspectives.

EDUC216 Diversity Field Experience

This course provides an opportunity for prospective teachers to observe, tutor, or mentor students in a school where there is a diverse population. Students must complete at least 20 hours of work in a school with a diverse population. (1 credit hour) Prerequisite: EDUC215. (Must be completed prior to enrollment in EDUC440, EDUC447, EDUC448, or EDUC449)

Early Childhood Education Requirements

EDUC220 Educational Technology

Learners will investigate and evaluate the significant impact technology has on learning, motivation, and pedagogy. Learners will interpret and implement the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) and for students (NETS-S) and apply the NETS-T to construct valuable teaching experiences, as well as experiences to highlight student learning that reflect the NETS-S. Technology integration across the curriculum will be explored and students will develop and design lessons and use technology tools to support learning in an educational environment.

EDUC280 Writing, Speaking, and Listening

Students will familiarize themselves with the literacy components of writing, speaking, and listening. Students will refine their own writing skills, explore the writing process, understand the role of grammar in writing, and identify strategies to help pre-K through 12th grade learners develop their own skills. The skills needed to view and comprehend material, arrange it, and aid pre-K through 12th grade learners in the various ways information can be processed will also be addressed. Additionally, students will examine the benefits of cooperative learning in enhancing the speaking and listening skills of pre-K through 12th grade learners, as well as the characteristics of exemplary speakers and listeners in the classroom. Prerequisite: ENGL102.

EDUC311 Introduction to Early Childhood Education

This is an introductory course for those preparing for licensure to teach in the early childhood area. This course is designed to assist each prospective teacher in gaining a valid and comprehensive knowledge of what is involved in early childhood education. Emphasis is placed upon reflection, inquiry and personal involvement in planning an effective and successful career in early childhood, and developing an understanding of how children develop and learn successfully. Current trends, issues, developmental theories, and research findings related to the education of young children will be explored.

EDUC325 Motor Development/Expressive Arts/Social Studies

This course will examine the curricula, instructional strategies, and classroom organization for motor development, expressive arts, and social studies relevant to children aged birth through 8. Emphasis will be placed on the interrelatedness of different content areas and their successful implementation in the classroom environment. (Concurrent with EDUC 335)

EDUC329 Children/Adolescent Literature

Survey of literature K-12 as well as exploration of literature and relevant contemporary issues regarding literary works and pedagogy pre-K through 12th grade. (2 credit hours)

EDUC333 Teaching Young Children with Disabilities

This course is designed to prepare prospective early childhood teachers the understanding and appreciation of young children with exceptionalities. It will provide an overview of early childhood special education including service delivery models, atypical infant/toddler development, the effects of early intervention, and characteristics and etiologies of disabilities in young children. Appropriate delivery systems, assessment, curriculum, and intervention strategies will be considered. (4 credit hours)

EDUC335 Infant Development

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to growth and development issues related to infants and toddlers and to provide experiences with the organization and management of high quality environments for infants. Appropriate play activities will be introduced.(Concurrent with EDUC 325)

EDUC336 Introduction to the Reading Process

Introduces prospective early childhood and elementary teachers to children’s speech and language development, the recognition and development of readiness skills, the overall scope of emergent literacy issues and an understanding of basic literacy development, appropriate methodologies for building the communication skills of students and curriculum and instructional resources that would integrate these skills in all curricular areas.

EDUC339 Assessment Strategies in Early Childhood

This course is designed to prepare teachers to conduct reliable and valid assessments of children’s growth and development in the early childhood arena. Students are introduced to and have an opportunity to practice developing formal and informal assessment devices. Practice in developing and evaluating both open and closed assessment format is also provided. Special attention is given to performance-based assessments, particularly in the context of instruction that is developmentally appropriate. (Concurrent with EDUC 343)

EDUC341 Reading in the Elementary School

A course that emphasizes the various methods of teaching and assessing reading, diagnosing reading problems, and developing programs to strengthen comprehension and vocabulary. Students also practice adapting teaching strategies and content for special needs or learning styles. In conjunction with regular course work, students gain experience through practical application with a required 20-hour practicum in the public schools. Prerequisite: EDUC 336

EDUC343 Home, School, and Community Issues

The purpose of this class is to promote the understanding that quality services for young children and their families are best ensured by establishing collaborative relationships between the home, school, program, and community. A portion of the course focuses on techniques for establishing collaborative relationships with parents and involving family members in the growth and development of the young child. Health, nutrition, and safety issues also will be explored. Prerequisite: EDUC 311, (Concurrent with EDUC 339)

EDUC420 Oral Language Development

This course introduces prospective educators to children’s speech and language development, recognition and development of readiness skills, and appropriate methodologies for developing the communication skills of young children.

EDUC425 Administration, Guidance, and Behavior

This course will provide an overview of the responsibilities of administrators, directors, and teachers in school and program management. Legal and financial issues will also be covered, as well as ethical aspects of early childhood programs. Additionally, learners will be introduced to successful classroom management strategies.

EDUC429 Assessment in Early Childhood Intervention

This course will focus upon the administration and interpretation of test instruments including screening tests, formal and informal tests, norm and criterion-referenced tests, and diagnostic and achievement tests. Individual assessment of developmental skills, academic achievement, adaptive behavior, and processes will be included.

EDUC432 Technology in Special Education

The goal of this course is to provide an overview of technology; specifically, assistive technology available and what it can do for learners with special needs. In addition, learners will be able to implement a framework for identifying student needs and determining desired outcomes when choosing technological solutions.

EDUC435 Science and Math

This course will prepare prospective teachers to teach science and mathematics in the early childhood (birth through eight) setting. Theories and methodologies will be explored. Special attention will be given to developmentally appropriate activities, with significant emphasis placed on integrating subject matter. Technology issues will also be covered.

EDUC450 Introduction to Language and Linguistics

Introduction to Language, Linguistics, and Culture in the Context of Second Language Acquisition. This is an introductory course in language and linguistics, which explores the nature, structure and diversity of language,emphasizing the phonological, syntactic and semantic patterns of English. Prospective teachers will explore the principles of linguistic systems and major theorists and schools of linguistic thought in anticipation of working with communities of nonnative English-speakers. Theories and research of secondary language acquisition will also be explored, along with the relationship of communication, culture, and identity as it relates to language learning. This course is designed as one of two courses to enable the learner to successfully prepare for the ESOL praxis.

EDUC490 Teaching English as a Second Language

Teaching English as a Second Language and Assessing Language Competency. This course provides the foundation for second language instruction by examining a broad range of methodologies to provide academic experiences forEnglish Language Learners. (SIOP model included.) Application of these “best practice” concepts will be used to plan,implement, and evaluate instruction for ESOL students. An opportunity to volunteer with ESOL students for 8 hours during the course will be included.

**Program completion includes 22 additional hours of Professional Teacher Courses

Admission Requirements

Entering learners must have earned at least 6 college credits, a GPA of 2.5, and have three years of work experience. Contact a program representative to evaluate your options.