The Providence-based Associates degree in Early Childhood Education prepares students to work with young children in a variety of educational fields, including public and private schools and centers, homes and other facilities. Graduates are prepared to plan and implement developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive programs in early childhood settings. The program provides a foundation for in-depth early childhood educator preparation both through strong general education and through studies in applied child development and early childhood curriculum and pedagogy. Strong emphasis is placed on developing relationships with the families of young children and working collaboratively with other professionals. Courses in theory and application are combined within practica. Students choose between the Infant and Toddler or Birth to Eight tracks. The Associates degree does not lead to eligibility for state teacher certification
Early Childhood Education
High-quality, responsive interactions and child-focused early learning experiences are key to strong brain development and successful cognitive, physical, social, and emotional child development. Integral to healthy development is the intersection of families and communities and the leadership and knowledge of educators and advocates. The certificates and degrees in Early Childhood Education (ECE) at University College (UC) empower and build competence, enabling participants to be exemplary teachers and administrators, impactful advocates, and informed policy makers. The UC-ECE curriculum concentrates on children birth to three years and is aligned with state and national standards, including the National Association of Young Children (NAEYC), Zero to Three, Rhode Island Early Learning Development Standards (RIELDS) and Rhode Island’s Workforce Knowledge and Competencies (WKC) Standards. Every course also builds on the passion, curiosity, and experience of adult learners and dual enrollment high school students. Every course is a laboratory for learning where collaborative investigations of well-explained and highly relevant theory is applied to project-based work and advanced understanding. Through continuous reflection on their own work, students become strong critical thinkers, as well as enriched and fulfilled practitioners, making profound differences in the lives of children and families.
Career Pathways for Early Childhood Education Students
Based on the level of their certificates or degree, UC-ECE students are enabled to work in a wide array of occupations. Careers can be found as community-based early learning educators; child care directors; assistant teachers at public schools; governmental and non-profit policy and program development assistants; child library specialists; child care program consultants; literacy coaches; parent educators; home visitors, playgroup facilitators; child outreach, screening, and research assistants; community health, social work and human service para-professionals; family service and residential care workers; home child care licensees/business owners; child care enrollment coordinators; children’s theatre specialists; professional nannies; workforce development assistants; and sales professionals.
The Early Childhood Education Program at UC is community focused and supports immediate employment in many careers. The UC-ECE program does not directly lead to Rhode Island Department of Education Early Childhood (grades Pk-2) state teacher certification.
General Requirements for the Associate Degree