Early Childhood Development and Services

Early Childhood Development (ECD) is an introductory course that offers a detailed overview of both areas and developmental stages of early childhood, and how early childhood education professionals offer optimal assistance during the vital years of learning and growth. An examination of the theories, history, research, policies and teaching models that grew with the advance of early childhood education, in addition to an introduction to the achievements of numerous leaders in the field offers students a thorough foundation in the practice and science of early childhood education. Moreover, the course offers students keen insight into the importance of these years to the child’s life, the manifested areas of emotional, physical and cognitive development from birth through to age 5, and the developmentally appropriate practices that have proven to be the most effective. Students will learn how community, county and state programs and non-profit social service organizations benefit from a combination of contributions and federal and regional funding mandated via national legislation; students will also appreciate the role that ECE professionals play in working with organizations, families and licensing administrators. Students are able to identify the challenges, advances, trends and results in ECE, explore a wide spectrum of professional possibilities, and learn the responsibilities and requirements of these positions. The complex interaction of federal and state policymaking on program availability and funding is covered in depth, as are legislation and codes of ethics that affect the quality of kindergarten and preschool programs. Diversity is an important topic, and the inclusion of children and families of economic, cultural, ethnic, ability and linguistic diverse backgrounds are covered in depth. The programs, rights and services available for children with disabilities and their families will be reviewed. As these areas of study demonstrate, there is a growing need for engaged, highly qualified professionals in the preschool classrooms, school readiness programs and child care centers. Teachers and other professionals in this field need to be educated not only in ECD, but also be adept at nurturing positive relationships between child and teacher, parent and colleagues, with enthusiasm for, awareness of and sensitivity to issues of diversity and practices that are developmentally appropriate, which require ongoing training and skill. Through creative projects in every unit, which lead to the completion of the capstone project, students become the professionals they are studying to be, designing preschool curricular hypothetically, counseling parents and working with babies with disabilities during mental health home intervention visits, researching education pathways and credentials for careers, investigating state program licensure and funding requirements, and participating in advocacy for major issues in the field. The course prepares students in making more informed decisions regarding their career pathway and education possibilities, providing them with a solid grasp of the field, as well as its importance in the well-being and success of not just a few of the young children and their families, but of the society and generations of the future.


  • Compare and contrast early childhood development careers in terms of academic preparation, continuing education, scope, skill set, certification, roles and responsibilities.
  • Identify the cultural, social and historical foundations of early childhood development, and related services.
  • Describe organizations and agencies supporting the early childhood education and development profession.
  • Recognize milestones in young children, of typical development.
  • Identify problem-solving and communication skills required to develop best practices in this field for the young children and their families.
  • Examine legal and ethical implications of working with the young children and their families.

There are no prerequisites to this introductory course in early childhood development (ECD) and early childhood education (ECE). Students that enroll in the course are assumed to have an interest in ECE and ECD and are possibly considering a career as an ECE professional. The course provides a wealth of knowledge on multiple aspects of this field, including credentialing, education, endorsement and licensing area requirements for a variety of positions.

(click on the module heading to reveal a lesson by lesson breakdown)


  • Course Overview
  • Who Am I? – Identifying Careers Through Credentials and Responsibilities
  • Project: Who Am I – Identifying Career Roles and Responsibilities
  • Opening a Licensed Child Care Facility in My State
  • Project: Open for Business
  • Center-Based vs. Family Home Care
  • Quiz 1: Careers in Early Childhood Development
  • History of the Early Childhood Education Profession
  • Project: History of the Early Childhood Education
  • Profession Timeline Project
  • Organizations that Support Early Childhood Programs
  • How Does Your State Compare?
  • Project: Family Engagement in Practice
  • Quiz 2: History of Early Childhood Education and Development
  • Project: Special Project
  • Unit 1 Test
  • Course Project Part 1: Opening a Licensed Child Care Facility in Your State
  • Glossary and Credits

  • Diversity in Early Childhood Education
  • Project: Two Children
  • Understanding Inclusion Law and Practice
  • Strategies for Engaging All Children, Including Diverse Environments and Abilities
  • Project: Putting Planning Into Practice
  • Quiz 1: Recognizing Diversity in Children and Their Families
  • Understanding Family Engagement
  • Strategies For Engaging All Families of Young Children
  • Project: Teaching
  • Services to Families with Disabled Children Project: Active Outdoor Play: Playground Shadowing
  • Quiz 2: Family Engagement
  • Project: Special Project
  • Unit 2 Test
  • Course Project Part 2: You're an Infant Mental Health (IMH) Home Visitor – One Visit Report
  • Glossary and Credits

  • Development: Motor and Cognition
  • Project: Developmental Milestones Timeline – Part 1
  • Development: Language and Social Emotional
  • Development Project: Developmental Milestones Timeline – Part 2
  • Health, Screening and Assessment
  • Quiz 1: Development Zero to Three
  • Typical Development of Preschoolers
  • Project: Three Children, Ages 3-5 at My Preschool and What I Did to Help Their Development
  • Play and Physical Activity in Preschool Developmentally Appropriate Practices Project: Book Nooks Playbook
  • Quiz 2: Preschool Development Project: Special Project
  • Unit 3 Test
  • Course Project Part 3: Developmentally Appropriate Practices in My Preschool Group
  • Glossary and Credits

  • Emergent Literacy
  • Project: Emergent Literacy Ideas for New Parents – You're the Professional
  • Early Literacy Experiences
  • Project: Creating a Print-rich Environment at Home and in a Preschool Classroom
  • Writing Development
  • Quiz 1: Promoting Literacy in Early Childhood
  • Developing Positive Relationships
  • Project: Emotional Literacy: Your Story
  • Working with Challenging Behaviors
  • Project: Ethics in Action Interview
  • Extending Positive Relationships to the Home Quiz 2: Developing Positive Relationships Project: Special Project
  • Unit 4 Test
  • Course Project Part 4: Challenging Behaviors Home Makeover
  • Glossary and Credits

  • Child Maltreatment
  • Reporting Maltreatment
  • Project: Mandated Reporter Fact Sheet/Checklist
  • Promoting Resilience and Positive Outcomes
  • Project: Case Study in Promoting Resilience
  • Quiz 1: Child Maltreatment: Law, Prevention, and Early Intervention
  • Code of Ethics
  • Advocacy
  • Project: You're the Advocate!
  • Current Issues and Trends in Early Childhood Project: Pre-K Programs: Why You Should Care Presentation
  • Quiz 2: Ethics and Advocacy in Early Education and Development
  • Project: Special Project
  • Unit 5 Test
  • Course Project Part 5: Trendwatch!
  • Glossary and Credits

  • Course Project Part 6: A Day In The Life
  • Review
  • Exam


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