Early Childhood Development Courses at Ashford University

The first eight years of life are a dynamic time when children experience rapid growth physically, intellectually, and socially. These early experiences will establish the foundation for all future learning and development. Your Early Childhood Development courses will help you to understand typical and atypical childhood development. You will also develop the skills to adapt learning environments to match the diverse abilities of a wide range of children.


Early Childhood Development Class Descriptions and Credit Information

ECD 101 Foundations of Early Learning and Development

3 Credits
This course provides an overview of child development and early learning for children birth to age 8. Students will examine many different influences on child development including historical, biological, environmental, and cultural factors. In addition, theories and learning models foundational to this field will be discussed. Students will apply knowledge of theories and stages of child development to support developmentally appropriate practices. Finally, students will examine strategies and settings that promote development.

ECD 201 Atypical Development

3 Credits

In this course students will study atypical development. Students will differentiate between genetic and environmental factors that impact development. Students will also examine contemporary issues and trends related to children with exceptionalities. In addition students will analyze strategies for professionals and families that best support children with high incidence disabilities. Finally, students will summarize evidence based best practices for meeting the needs of diverse learners in inclusive settings. Prerequisite: ECD 101

ECD 301 Foundations of Early Intervention

3 Credits

This course provides an introduction to early intervention for children and their families (birth to age 3). Students will explain the historical, legal and educational basis for early intervention. Subsequently, students will describe professional standards and ethics and their relationship to early intervention. Students will analyze the roles of early educators in the delivery of instructional services for young children. In addition, students will explain early intervention strategies and services and create a plan for collaborating with families and other professionals.  Prerequisite: ECD 201

ECD 302 Safe and Healthy Learning Environments

3 Credits

In this course students will learn about creating safe and healthy learning environments. Students will explain the influence that contemporary issues have on establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment. Students will examine the roles of professionals in creating and maintaining healthy learning environments. In addition, students will apply required codes and regulations to create a safe and healthy environment for young learners. Finally, students will describe resources that support a commitment to professionalism.   Prerequisite: ECD 201

ECD 305 Positive Learning Environments

3 Credits

In this course, students will learn about creating developmentally appropriate and positive learning environments for a diverse childhood population. The students will identify effective instructional planning for diverse learners. Students will recommend strategies for classroom management and establishing learning environments. Finally students will create a high quality learning environment that meets the needs of all learners. Prerequisite: ECD 301 or 302

ECD 310 Exceptional Learning & Inclusion

3 Credits

This course provides an examination of historical approaches for inclusion and their influence on current trends for learning environments for children with exceptionalities. Students will apply evidence based instructional methods and strategies to support children with diverse needs. In addition, students will analyze the collaborative models in inclusive settings that support and serve children and their families. Finally students will create a professional and ethical-based philosophy of inclusion for children with exceptionalities.

ECD 315 Curriculum Planning and Design for Early Learners

3 Credits

This course provides an examination of the essential elements of curriculum planning and design for diverse settings and learners. Students will analyze developmentally appropriate planning, teaching and assessment strategies used with a diverse childhood population. In addition, students will assess the role of educators in fostering each child’s development and joy of learning. Finally, students will create individualized objectives and design integrated standards-based lessons for a diverse childhood population. Prerequisite: ECD 310

ECD 320 Cognition and Language Development

3 Credits

This course provides students with a foundation of the theoretical frameworks related to cognitive and language development in children from birth to age three. Using this foundation, students will analyze current research and its influence on language acquisition and cognitive development. Additionally, students will explore the relationship between cognitive and language development. Finally, students will prepare an analysis of referral and intervention strategies for students with exceptionalities related to language and cognitive development.  Prerequisite: ECD 310

ECD 330 Ethics and Legal Responsibility in Early Learning Settings

3 Credits

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to special education in early learning settings. Students will examine legislation that impacts current special education practices in early learning settings. In addition, students will analyze the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Part C) and identify the components of Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP). Students will also focus on the process of Individualized Education Plans and how to differentiate placement consideration mandates for diverse learners. Prerequisite: ECD 315 or 320

ECD 335 Children & Families in a Diverse Society

3 Credits

In this course, students will apply concepts of multicultural education and anti-bias in the context of early learning settings. Students will explain relevant methods in providing culturally responsive learning opportunities as well as analyze misconceptions and stereotypes in early learning and inclusive settings. Finally, students will evaluate the impact of diverse family structures on the development and socialization of children from birth to age 8.  Prerequisite: ECD 330

ECD 340 Language and Literacy Development

3 Credits

This course focuses on language and literacy development in children. In this course, students will examine foundational theories, milestones and research related to the development of language and literacy in young children. Students will promote effective strategies for involving families and explain a variety of assessment tools for language and literacy development. In addition, students will develop a theoretical-based philosophy of language and literacy development and examine the influence of linguistic and cultural diversity on the development of language and literacy. Finally, students will design developmentally appropriate standards-based lessons that foster language and literacy development.  Prerequisite: ECD 335

ECD 345 Family Systems and Community Resources

3 Credits

This course provides students with an analysis of theories and approaches for working with children, families, and the community. Students will examine how culture and family structure influences a child’s learning and development. Additionally, students will synthesize how children’s needs are met and supported through the family and community environment as socializing agents. Finally, students will evaluate family and community programs, agencies and resources that support the diverse needs of children.  Prerequisite: ECD 335

ECD 405 Assessment and Intervention

3 Credits

The content in this course will allow students to analyze the purpose of assessment in supporting children across all developmental domains. Using this foundation, students will examine the practical application of assessment tools and utilize assessment strategies to enhance the growth and development of children. Finally, students will synthesize their learning by developing an assessment portfolio that contains intervention strategies for meeting the developmental needs of children.  Prerequisite: ECD 340 or 345

ECD 410 Behavioral Methods and Strategies

3 Credits

In this course students will analyze the major theories of behavior. Students will evaluate effective strategies for both practitioners and families to use to promote optimal behavior in a diverse childhood population. In addition, students will create an environment that is inclusive of different behavioral needs. Finally, students will design an individual behavioral support plan for specific disruptive behaviors.  Prerequisite: ECD 405

ECD 415 Foundations of Play and Learning

3 Credits

This course focuses on play as the primary learning modality for young children. In this course, students will explain the function of play as a teaching and learning tool as well as analyze the role of play as a means of assessment. Students will evaluate the cultural and individual student factors that impact play in diverse settings. Finally, students will design appropriate play based activities and formulate a framework of play and learning for working with young children. Prerequisite: ECD 405

ECD 497 Early Childhood Development Capstone

3 Credits
The Capstone will tie together the themes and concepts students have learned throughout their degree program. Using this knowledge, students will synthesize theories, processes and approaches from diverse perspectives across domains. Students will analyze theories which address the interrelationship of child, family, community, and culture on the growth, behavior, and development of children. Students will further demonstrate their knowledge of early learning, development, and inclusion by synthesizing evidence based strategies that demonstrate an awareness of exceptionalities and cultural diversity. The students will assess the impact of contemporary issues, trends, and their multiple influences on current practice. Finally, students will propose professional and ethical practices for models of inclusion that emphasize access, participation, and partnerships with children and families.