Early Childhood Education

Develop the skills needed to pursue a career in early childhood education with our dual-track program. The first eight years of life are extremely important in the emotional, cognitive, social and physical development of a child. That’s why early childhood educators need to be well trained, experienced and able to deliver the best quality of care when providing for young people.

Through field experiences in the early childhood setting and a wide variety of coursework options, you’ll become confident and competent in your ability to be an early childhood educator. With courses in child growth and development, curriculum planning, childhood guidance, and child health, safety and nutrition, you’ll learn a valuable skill-set you can take anywhere. Prepare to broaden your background knowledge in general education and develop an awareness of current issues within the education field.

Whether you want to become a teaching assistant, childcare provider, nanny or an early childhood program director, or transfer to a university, you’ll establish the foundational skills and knowledge needed to thrive right here at Iowa Lakes. Practical experience along with the advanced coursework during the second year ensures that you know what to expect when entering the workforce and, even better, that you’ll be ready for it.

Our program follows the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Professional Preparation Standards.

Faculty Contact

Melissa Regelstad
Professor, Early Childhood Education
712-852-5289 Ext: 5289 | mregelstad@iowalakes.educreate new email

Program Details

PROGRAM LENGTH: 4 terms

DEGREE: Associate in Applied Science (68 credits)

CAMPUS: Emmetsburg

Two Field Experiences

Did You Know?

Starting Salary: $19,134

Average Salary: $25,321

Projected Employment Growth: 1.2%

Online availability 50%, Special Certifications Available

What you'll learn

In the Early Childhood Education Program at Iowa Lakes, you will learn how to:1

  1. Identify appropriate milestones of child development
  2. Create developmentally appropriate learning environments
  3. Demonstrate supportive, respectful, reciprocal relationships using knowledge of family systems, culture, and community
  4. Design responsible assessment to promote positive outcomes to support young children and their families
  5. Apply effective strategies and learning approaches for early education
  6. Design plans to implement developmentally appropriate learning opportunities that promote development within all learning domains
  7. Apply an ethical understanding of the early childhood profession
  8. Advocate on behalf of young children and their families

1The What You’ll Learn section of our website provides a description of Learning Outcomes for students who successfully complete all requirements for obtaining an Early Childhood Education Associate in Applied Science degree from Iowa Lakes Community College.

Curriculum

Term 1

Credits: 1

Guides students’ development of a professional early childhood education portfolio showcasing their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in alignment with the NAEYC Standards for Professional Preparation of Students at the Associate Degree Level.


Credits: 3

Reviews typical and atypical development of children from con­ception to adolescence in all developmental domains. Presents interactions between child, family and society within a variety of community and cultural contexts. Examines theories associated with our understanding of children.


Credits: 3

Gives students a historical and philosophical foundation of the field of early childhood education. Includes an overview of assess­ment and trends that influence best practices. Explores careers in the field. Addresses influences of families and diversity.


Credits: 3

Focuses on developmentally appropriate, evidence-based approaches and positive guidance strategies for supporting the development of each child. Emphasizes supportive interactions and developmentally appropriate environments. Uses assessment to analyze and guide behaviors. Studies impact of family, and each child’s culture, language and ability on child guidance.


Credits: 1

Emphasizes problem solving skills and team building through a variety of group activities.

Prerequisites: Child Care program


Credits: 3

Focuses on current concepts in the fields of health, safety and nutrition and their relationship to the growth and development of the young child ages birth to eight. Blends current theory with practical applications and assessments. Includes the influences of families and diversity on health, safety, and nutrition in early child­hood settings.


Credits: 3

Emphasis on expository and argumentative writings including a review of usage and mechanics.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory score on the ACT, Accuplacer, ASSET,COMPASS as determined by Iowa Lakes policy


Term 2

Credits: 1

Emphasizes human relations skills including communication, leadership, personal appearance, etiquette and job seeking skills.

Prerequisites: ECE 110 – Early Childhood Professionals I


Credits: 3

Focuses on the development, implementation and assessment of appropriate environments and curricula for young children ages three through eight. Students prepare to utilize developmentally appropriate practices in a context of family and culturally sensi­tive care. Emphasis is on understanding children’s developmental stages and developing appropriate learning opportunities, interactions and environments in the following areas: dramatic play, art, music, fine and gross motor play.


Credits: 3

Focuses on the development, implementation and assessment of appropriate environments and curricula for young children ages three through eight. Students prepare to utilize developmentally appropriate practices in a context of family and culturally sensi­tive care. Emphasis is on understanding children’s developmental stages and developing appropriate learning opportunities, interac­tions and environments in the following areas: emergent literacy, math, science, technology and social studies.


Credits: 3

Focuses on care, education, and assessment of children from birth to thirty-six months. Prepares students to utilize develop­mentally appropriate practices including responsive caregiving, routines as curriculum, importance of relationships with diverse families, and a focus on the whole child in inclusive settings.


Credits: 3

Supervised experience in selected early childhood settings serving children ages birth through eight. Includes integration of theory, research, and reflective practice. Provides an understanding of developmentally appropriate practices and the developmental stages of diverse populations of young children and families. Emphasizes professional relationships and behavior, appropriate adult / child interactions, basic curriculum planning, and program routines.

Prerequisites: ECE 170 – Child Growth and Development

Corequisites: ECE 158 – Early Childhood Curriculum I and ECE 159 – Early Childhood Curriculum II


Credits: 3

The fundamentals course develops the basic skills involved in a variety of communication situations, including oral presentations and interpersonal speaking.  Emphasis is placed on organization, audience analysis, vocal and physical delivery, listening, nonverbal communication, critical thinking, and methods of dealing with communication apprehension through class discussion and activities.


Credits: 2

This course is designed to provide non-Spanish speaking profes­sionals with functional skills in Spanish. Spanish phrases, com­mands and questions practical to education are covered. No prior knowledge of Spanish necessary.


Term 3

Credits: 3

Examines and evaluates early childhood curriculum and methods leading to the development and implementation of appropriate curricula for young children.


Credits: 3

Covers the basic principles involved in setting up, equipping and administering a child care center .Emphasis is on business procedures, insurance, funding, state and federal regulations, staff and community relations, record keeping, policy writing, program evaluation and child care advocacy.


Credits: 1

This course emphasizes problem solving skills and teambuilding through a variety of group activities.

Prerequisites: ECE 111 – Early Childhood Professionals II


Credits: 3

Continuation of ENG 105 with emphasis on research and docu­mentation as well as literary analysis.

Prerequisites: ENG 105 – Composition I


Credits: 3

Teaches the criteria for choosing the best children’s literature and applies that criteria to evaluating materials to be used in the classroom.


Term 4

Credits: 1

Guides students’ completion and presentation of a professional early childhood education portfolio showcasing their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in alignment with the NAEYC Standards for Professional Preparation of Students at the Associate Degree Level.

Prerequisites: ECE 112 – Portfolio Development I


Credits: 3

An in-depth study of current political, economic, social and cultural events and their impact on children and child care.


Credits: 3

This a supervised experience of at least 80 contact hours in a selected early childhood settings serving children ages birth through eight.

Prerequisites: ECE 210 – Early Childhood Prof III and ECE 262 – Early Childhood Field Experience


Credits: 3

This is a general survey course which includes sets; number systems; elementary algebra; exponents; equations and inequalities; fractions; ratios; proportion and variation; probability and statistics; elementary graphing; consumer mathematics; and an introduction to geometry.

Prerequisites: Appropriate placement score