Introduction to Early Childhood Education

This course presents information and theory regarding developmentally appropriate practice for teaching and caring for children from birth to eight years. It emphasizes the student developing an understanding of the importance of creating an effective learning environment, advancing physical and intellectual competence, supporting social and emotional development, establishing relationships with families, and maintaining a commitment to professionalism. Attention is given to skills needed in a variety of program settings, including Head Start, child care, pre‑kindergarten, nursery schools and first through third grades.

Course Overview

During this course, students will:

  • Compare historical and current models.
  • Conduct research on relevant current topics.
  • Examine the role of teachers in the early childhood setting.
  • Explore the role of play in children’s learning.
  • Identify positive guidance techniques for behavior modification.
  • Determine the value of anti-bias curriculum.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice.

Required Text

Gordon, A.M., and Browne, K.W. (2015) Beginnings and Beyond: Foundations in Early Childhood Education. 10th Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Publishers.

Required Supplies

Students must bring a notebook, folder and writing utensils to every class.

Classroom Expectations

  • Be in class.
  • Come to class prepared with materials, homework, and supplies.
  • Maintain an open mind.
  • Begin to develop a philosophy of education.

Attendance Policy

The expectation is that you will be in class every day. This will prevent you from missing crucial information, presentations, activities, and discussions, which are impossible to make up. You are allowed two excused absences without penalty. Subsequent absences will result in points being deducted from your final grade. Arriving late to class or leaving early will also result in points being deducted from your grade. When you do miss class, it is your responsibility to make up missed work. Any make-up work will be turned in within three days of the absence to avoid penalty.

Grading Procedures

Attendance and Participation (50 points)

  • Complete all assigned reading prior to class and be prepared to participate in classroom discussions.
  • Regular attendance and participation in all class activities is crucial for successful completion of this course. Class time includes whole and small group activities, independent work, presentations, and field trips. Students who are habitually late or leave early will have points deducted.
  • Cell phones are to be turned off and out of sight. If an extenuating situation exists, please notify the instructor before class.

Chapter Exams (300 points)

During the course, the instructor gives five chapter exams, each worth 60 points. See the course outline below for a breakdown of when to expect them. If you are legally absent on the day of an exam, you must make it up within three days of your return to school or your grade will be penalized. See the instructor to arrange a time outside of class to take the exam.

Midterm Research Project (50 points)

Students will research a relevant early childhood topic of their choice and present information to the class. Additional information will be given in class.

Final Exam (100 points)

There will be a final exam. Additional information will be given in class.

Grading Scale

Attendance and Positive Participation: 50 points
Five exams @ 60 points each: 300 points
Midterm research project: 50 points
Final exam: 100 points
Total: 500 points

Grade Conversion




A 94-100 468-500
A- 90-93 448-467
B+ 87-89 433-447
B 83-86 413-432
B- 80-82 398-412
C+ 77-79 383-397
C 70-76 348-382
D 65-69 305-347
F 0-59 0-297

Course Outline

The following is a rough outline of material to be covered. Guest presenters have not been included.

  • Chapter 1 – History of Early Childhood Education
  • Chapter 15 – Issues and Trends in Early Childhood Education
  • Exam 1
  • Chapter 2 – Types of Programs
  • Chapter 3: Defining the Young Child
  • Exam 2
  • Chapter 5 – Teaching: A Professional Commitment
  • Chapter 7 – Guiding Children’s Behavior
  • Exam 3
  • Midterm Research Project
  • Chapter 6 – Observation and Assessment
  • Exam 4
  • Chapter 8 – Families and Teachers: Partners in Education
  • Chapter 9 – Creating Environments
  • Exam 5
  • Review
  • Final Exam