Coursework in early childhood education generally requires a variety of classes and practical experience. As with any other degree, the type of degree sought will dictate what classes one takes, and early childhood education classes move from the general to the specific as a student earns higher degrees.
Degrees at varying levels will require different early childhood education classes, and what classes are required or offered as electives vary depending on the degree-granting institution. While the requirements for teaching in a public school vary from state to state, all states have some form of licensure requirement that requires a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and experience in student teaching.
Early Childhood Education Classes: Associate’s Level
This two year degree generally requires that the student take general classes in child growth and development and methodology in teaching of the young child. Coursework may include early childhood education classes in child guidance; health, safety, and nutrition; creative activities; and educational technology. While classes vary by institution, the early childhood education classes one takes for an Associate’s degree in early childhood education are the most general of those required for early childhood education degrees.
Early Childhood Education Classes: Bachelor’s Level
Students in a Bachelor’s of early childhood education program take classes that typically cover classroom issues, psychology, and pedagogy. Requirements, of course, vary by institution, and requirements also depend upon what prerequisites a student may have completed. Instructional methods for pre-Kindergarten through grade 3 are usually the focus of this degree, and early childhood education classes may include introduction to teaching; technology and education; teaching classes in specialized areas such as reading, play, arts; and teaching English language learners.
As part of the coursework for a Bachelor’s degree students are typically expected to perform hands-on teaching in the form of a student teaching position.
Early Childhood Education Classes: Master’s Level
Early childhood education classes at the Master’s level develop an in-depth practical and theoretical knowledge of pedagogy appropriate for very young children. Students take classes in childhood development as well as psychology, pedagogy, and often in specialized areas. The thesis requirement varies by institution, but if the program requires a thesis, the student can expect to take classes that will help them prepare to write the thesis, such as research methodology, documentation, and writing classes.
Early childhood education classes at this level will vary depending upon whether the degree is designed for teachers who already have their certifications or for students who are not yet certified or licensed.
Early Childhood Education Classes: Doctorate
Students in doctoral programs will take even more specialized early childhood education classes. In addition to studying curriculum development and classroom methodology, students may also take classes that cover various facets of administration and psychology of the learner courses, to name a few. In preparation for writing a dissertation, early childhood education classes at this level may include statistics, research and methodology classes, writing classes, and classes devoted to special topics or specialized areas of interest that the student may want to include in his or her doctoral research.