Early Childhood Education Courses at Ashford University

Providing a quality education to future generations requires more than a love of children. It requires a love of learning and the skills that can transform lives. These courses are central to Ashford University’s Bachelor of Arts in Child Development, Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education Administration programs. Through your classes, you will be introduced to concepts that include child behavior and emotional development, nutrition, quality care, and curriculum, while developing the leadership skills that can make you invaluable in the field of early childhood education.


Early Childhood Education Class Descriptions and Credit Information

ECE 101 Introduction to Early Childhood Education

3 Credits

This course provides an overview of the field of early childhood education including history, philosophy, advocacy, public policy, issues, trends, and careers. 

ECE 201 Introduction to Early Childhood Behavior Management

3 Credits

This course will address age appropriate behavior expectations for classrooms and ideas for supporting student learning. Motivation theory, positive reinforcement and behavior support plans will be covered. Major theories of behavior will be considered as they relate to educational settings. 

ECE 203 Introduction to Curriculum & Instruction for the Early Childhood Classroom

3 Credits

Introduction to Curriculum & Instruction for the Early Childhood Classroom examines the relationship between curriculum, instruction, and assessment. This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to analyze developmentally appropriate practices for early childhood settings, as well as compare the effectiveness of early childhood curricular approaches. In addition, students will apply specific methods for early childhood instruction and assessment. For the final project, students will develop a curriculum unit plan. 

ECE 205 Introduction to Child Development

3 Credits

Introduction to Child Development provides an overview of child development from birth to age eight. This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore the various theories of child development. In addition, developmental milestones and developmental domains will be explored at each of the stages of child development. Factors that influence child development will be examined and ways to support development will be discussed. Students will examine strategies and environments that promote development. 

ECE 214 Nutrition & Health of Children & Families

3 Credits

This course provides a study of the health and nutrition needs of children and families.

ECE 311 Early Childhood Curriculum & Methods

3 Credits

This course focuses on curriculum development in early childhood and teaching strategies with a developmentally appropriate approach. Students will prepare curriculum and practice teaching strategies which illustrate the characteristics of play and creativity. The guidance of young children to include behavior management and creating positive learning environments will also be emphasized.

ECE 312 Administration of Early Childhood Education Programs

3 Credits

This course focuses on the development and implementation of early childhood programs for a variety of age groups and purposes. Specifically, curriculum development, materials, teaching strategies, evaluation, budgets, hiring procedures and state guidelines/regulations are addressed as are the skills and competencies to implement the above. 

ECE 313 Collaboration with Parents & Community

3 Credits

Factors that promote effective communication and collaboration with parents of babies and preschool-aged children, families and community resources are considered in this course. 

ECE 315 Language Development in Young Children

3 Credits

This course provides an introduction to the developmental stages of language acquisition in young children from birth to the age of 6. The focus of the course is on the facilitation of language acquisition in young children. 

ECE 332 Child Development

3 Credits

This course provides a basic introduction to the nature of human growth and development as it occurs from conception through early childhood. Students learn about motor, cognitive, social, emotional, moral, aesthetic, and language development in early childhood.

ECE 335 Children’s Literature

Students learn how to select and use children’s books and other media relating to physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development of babies and preschool-aged children.

ECE 341 Social & Emotional Growth of Infants & Toddlers

3 Credits

Social-emotional development including the management of emotions and the ability to establish positive relationships with others will be covered in this course. Students will learn the important elements in a childcare setting that support healthy social, emotional, and behavioral adjustment in infants and toddlers. 

ECE 343 Quality Care Environments for Infants & Toddlers

3 Credits

Students will learn both theory and application of why and how to set up, arrange and change early childhood learning environments to effectively meet the developmental needs of very young children. The role of the teacher, the importance of the environment, design principles, health and safety will be covered in this course. 

ECE 345 Infant & Toddler Learning & Development

3 Credits

Emphasis will be placed on effective activities and practices to promote language development, cognitive development and motor skill development in young children. Sensory, music and movement development will also be covered in this course. Appropriate behavior teaching and coaching for infants, toddlers, and 2-year-olds will be discussed.

ECE 347 Culture, Family & Childcare

3 Credits

This course will increase the students expertise and understanding of all the components that must work together to create an effective childcare setting in which all children can thrive. Elements to be covered in the planning of a childcare environment include discipline and behavior management as well as consideration of the child’s developmental level, the family and cultural context. 

ECE 351 Play & Learning for the Young Child

3 Credits

In this course students explore the significant role and impact of play on the development of children. Students will actively participate in discussions and activities related to major theorists, current research on play, the developmental stages of play, cultural influences, and current trends and topic related to play. 

ECE 353 Cognitive Development of Infants & Young Children

3 Credits

Students examine the theoretical frameworks related to cognitive development in children providing them with a foundational understanding of the theories of brain development. Using that foundation, students evaluate the relationship between cognitive development and the developmental domains in children and the influences on brain development. Additionally, students analyze how environment and genetics impact brain development and cognitive functioning and evaluate the educational and societal implications for children in the context of cognitive development and functioning. Throughout the course, students also synthesize their learning from the course to develop strategies and techniques in their work with children in a variety of educational settings to promote optimal cognitive development. 

ECE 354 Assessment & Intervention During Early Childhood

3 Credits

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

ECE 355 Understanding Behavior & Family Dynamics

3 Credits

This course explores developmental theory and the relationship to the socialization and education of young children in child rearing, caring, and education. Special emphasis will be placed upon exploring how the child is viewed in the context of his or her family and the community at large. 

ECE 405 Children & Families in a Diverse Society

3 Credits

This course will provide a clear and practical introduction to multicultural and anti-bias issues, and aid students in developing culturally relevant methods in working with children and families in early childhood settings. 

ECE 430 Early Childhood Education Capstone

3 Credits

This is the capstone course for the Early Childhood Education and the Early Childhood Education Administration Major, to be taken at the completion of the major courses. This course provides students with the opportunity to integrate and apply their learning from the course of study for Early Childhood Education in a comprehensive manner. Students will reflect on the courses taken and develop an understanding on the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards, developmentally appropriate practices based upon child development research, center-based curriculum and professionalism. This course will culminate with a comprehensive final project that integrates the student learning throughout the program as well as a final exam that covers the program learning outcomes. 

ECE 497 Child Development Capstone

3 Credits

The capstone course is designed to be taken at the completion of all courses in this area of study. This capstone course will bring together information regarding advocacy and legislation for children and families and ways that this shapes children’s experiences and opportunities. Students will have the opportunity to integrate and apply their learning from the course of study in the Child Development major in a comprehensive manner. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the General Education Capstone course.

ECE 600 Leadership, Innovation, and Social Justice in Early Childhood Education

3 Credits
Students in this course will be introduced to the professional knowledge, skills, dispositions, and standards expected of early childhood education professionals and innovative leaders in the field. Further, this course will introduce several programmatic themes—social justice, 21st century teaching and learning, and leadership—to inspire students to be active early childhood advocates for children. Students will also gain insights and understanding related to the academic, personal, and professional expectations of graduate students to support their success in the MAECEL program and in their profession.

ECE 600 Leadership, Innovation, and Social Justice in Early Childhood Education

3 Credits

Students in this course will be introduced to the professional knowledge, skills, dispositions, and standards expected of early childhood education professionals and innovative leaders in the field. Further, this course will introduce several programmatic themes—social justice, 21st century teaching and learning, and leadership—to inspire students to be active early childhood advocates for children. Students will also gain insights and understanding related to the academic, personal, and professional expectations of graduate students to support their success in the MAECEL program and in their profession.

ECE 601 Introduction to Early Childhood Education

3 Credits

This course provides an overview of the field of early childhood education including history, philosophy, advocacy, public policy, issues, trends, and careers. 

ECE 605 Children & Families in a Diverse Society

3 Credits

This course will provide a clear and practical introduction to multicultural and anti-bias issues and will aid students in developing culturally relevant methods in working with children and families in early childhood settings. 

ECE 611 Early Childhood Curriculum & Methods

This course focuses on curriculum development in early childhood and teaching strategies with a developmentally appropriate approach. Students will prepare curriculum and practice teaching strategies which illustrate the characteristics of play and creativity. The guidance of young children to include behavior management and creating positive learning environments will also be emphasized. 

ECE 612 Administration of Early Childhood Education

3 Credits

This course focuses on the development and implementation of early childhood programs for a variety of age groups and purposes. Specifically, curriculum development, materials, teaching strategies, evaluation, budgets, hiring procedures and state guidelines/regulations are addressed as are the skills and competencies to implement the above. 

ECE 623 Collaboration with Parents & Community

3 Credits

Factors that promote effective communication and collaboration with parents of babies and preschool-aged children, families and community resources are considered in this course. 

ECE 624 Advanced Topics in Child Development, Learning, and Developmentally Appropriate Practices

3 Credits
This course examines current issues, trends, theories, and research related to child development and developmentally appropriate practices in the early childhood classroom. Students generate ethical solutions to relevant issues in the field of early childhood education and social justice. Further, students will examine how various leadership models foster professional knowledge and skills within their chosen field of study. Using this information, students design a classroom environment that incorporates evidence-based and developmentally appropriate strategies that promote optimal learning and development in young children.

ECE 624 Advanced Topics in Child Development, Learning, and Developmentally Appropriate Practices

3 Credits

This course examines current issues, trends, theories, and research related to child development and developmentally appropriate practices in the early childhood classroom. Students generate ethical solutions to relevant issues in the field of early childhood education and social justice. Further, students will examine how various leadership models foster professional knowledge and skills within their chosen field of study. Using this information, students design a classroom environment that incorporates evidence-based and developmentally appropriate strategies that promote optimal learning and development in young children. Prerequisite: ECE 600 or EDU 650

ECE 625 Family & Community Engagement

3 Credits

This course focuses on factors that promote effective engagement with families of infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children, and the impact of this relationship on young children’s development, learning and behavior. Integration of concepts with best practice in early care and education, as well as family context and community resources are considered in this course. 

ECE 630 Language, Physical & Social Development in Young Children

3 Credits

This course provides an introduction to the developmental stages of language acquisition, physical and social development in young children from birth to 6. The focus of the course is on the specific developmental milestones in young children. 

ECE 631 Building Family and Community Partnerships

3 Credits
This course provides opportunities for students to examine partnerships among early childhood professionals, families, and the communities in which they work. Throughout the course, students evaluate how their daily instructional practices promote positive outcomes for young children. Students explore the various partnerships necessary in early childhood education and discover how these partnerships can support curriculum, learners’ development, and the learning environment. Course requirements provide several opportunities for students to examine and discuss the effectiveness of ethical communication and collaboration strategies. Approaching course topics as reflective practitioners, students are able to determine how these specific partnerships fit into their future roles.

ECE 631 Building Family and Community Partnerships

3 Credits

This course provides opportunities for students to examine partnerships among early childhood professionals, families, and the communities in which they work. Throughout the course, students evaluate how their daily instructional practices promote positive outcomes for young children. Students explore the various partnerships necessary in early childhood education and discover how these partnerships can support curriculum, learners’ development, and the learning environment. Course requirements provide several opportunities for students to examine and discuss the effectiveness of ethical communication and collaboration strategies. Approaching course topics as reflective practitioners, students are able to determine how these specific partnerships fit into their future roles. Prerequisite: ECE 600 or EDU 650

ECE 642 Quality Curriculum in Early Childhood Education

3 Credits
In this course, students examine the relationship between theory, research, and practice in creating quality curriculum for the early childhood classroom. In addition, students evaluate a wide array of approaches, instructional strategies, and tools utilized to positively influence each child’s learning and development. Students also analyze their roles as leaders in evaluating curriculum materials and models that align with state and national standards. Utilizing this information, students design challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive development and learning outcomes for all young children and across all domains of development.

ECE 642 Quality Curriculum in Early Childhood Education

3 Credits

In this course, students examine the relationship between theory, research, and practice in creating quality curriculum for the early childhood classroom. In addition, students evaluate a wide array of approaches, instructional strategies, and tools utilized to positively influence each child’s learning and development. Students also analyze their roles as leaders in evaluating curriculum materials and models that align with state and national standards. Utilizing this information, students design challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive development and learning outcomes for all young children and across all domains of development. Prerequisite: ECE 600 or EDU 650

ECE 653 Cognitive Development of Infants & Young Children

3 Credits

This course deals with theories regarding cognitive development in children from birth to eight years of age including knowledge resulting from brain research. The relationship between the rate of cognitive development and overall development will be explored throughout the course. Students will apply this knowledge to design programs to meet the needs of children with varying needs and abilities. 

ECE 654 Assessment & Intervention in Early Childhood

3 Credits

This course explores the issues around early assessment and intervention with young children. Specific developmental concerns will be identified and intervention programs will be examined. 

ECE 657 Assessment to Support Young Children and Families

3 Credits
In this course, students examine the purpose and ethical use of assessment and evaluation strategies, tools, and procedures in early childhood education. In addition, students analyze assessment methods related to developmental concerns and intervention strategies in early childhood settings. Students also evaluate leadership roles and responsibilities in building effective learning environments and programs through assessment partnerships and action research initiatives with families and colleagues. Throughout the course, students learn how to utilize effective assessment strategies to positively influence child development.

ECE 657 Assessment to Support Young Children and Families

3 Credits

In this course, students examine the purpose and ethical use of assessment and evaluation strategies, tools, and procedures in early childhood education. In addition, students analyze assessment methods related to developmental concerns and intervention strategies in early childhood settings. Students also evaluate leadership roles and responsibilities in building effective learning environments and programs through assessment partnerships and action research initiatives with families and colleagues. Throughout the course, students learn how to utilize effective assessment strategies to positively influence child development.

ECE 660 Action Research and Inquiry in Education

3 Credits
Students enrolled in this course are introduced to action research and are provided with an explanation of the goals, rationale, and value of action research in the early childhood environment. Students will demonstrate effective use of research sources using digital tools and evaluative methods. They will apply methodologies and use ethics to evaluate various educational theories and research and acquire skills that support best practices. During this course, students will identify a problem, construct an action research proposal, collect and analyze data, and identify implications for future action research while considering their professional and leadership capabilities.

ECE 660 Action Research and Inquiry in Education

3 Credits

Students enrolled in this course are introduced to action research and are provided with an explanation of the goals, rationale, and value of action research in the early childhood environment. Students will demonstrate effective use of research sources using digital tools and evaluative methods. They will apply methodologies and use ethics to evaluate various educational theories and research and acquire skills that support best practices. During this course, students will identify a problem, construct an action research proposal, collect and analyze data, and identify implications for future action research while considering their professional and leadership capabilities. Prerequisite: ECE 600, ECE 631, and ECE 657

ECE 671 Management and Administration of Early Childhood Programs

3 Credits
This course provides students with an overview of the knowledge and skills necessary to develop and administrate an early childhood facility. Students will create a personal definition of leadership and evaluate high-quality early childhood programs that meet the needs of diverse children, families, and communities. In addition, students will develop a strategic plan that meets high-quality and developmentally appropriate aspects of early childhood programs. Students will also examine how early childhood administrators evaluate faculty and staff.

ECE 671 Management and Administration of Early Childhood Programs

3 Credits

This course provides students with an overview of the knowledge and skills necessary to develop and administrate an early childhood facility. Students will create a personal definition of leadership and evaluate high-quality early childhood programs that meet the needs of diverse children, families, and communities. In addition, students will develop a strategic plan that meets high-quality and developmentally appropriate aspects of early childhood programs. Students will also examine how early childhood administrators evaluate faculty and staff. Prerequisite: ECE 600 or EDU 650

ECE 672 Personnel Management & Staff Development for Early Childhood Administrators

3 Credits
In this course, students evaluate professional early childhood learning resources that target learning outcomes, program needs, and support family and community partnerships. Students also develop a strategic plan to foster professional learning and development for early childhood staff and teachers that includes professional learning models. In addition, students create a system that supports the development of effective personnel management practices and promotes high-quality programs. Throughout the course, students analyze ethical and professionally sound decision-making and leadership practices used in early childhood education.

ECE 672 Personnel Management & Staff Development for Early Childhood Administrators

3 Credits

In this course, students evaluate professional early childhood learning resources that target learning outcomes, program needs, and support family and community partnerships. Students also develop a strategic plan to foster professional learning and development for early childhood staff and teachers that includes professional learning models. In addition, students create a system that supports the development of effective personnel management practices and promotes high-quality programs. Throughout the course, students analyze ethical and professionally sound decision-making and leadership practices used in early childhood education.

ECE 673 Advocacy, Policy, and Social Justice in Early Childhood Education

3 Credits
In this course, students will learn about public policy and law as it relates to early childhood education. Students will leverage leadership skills, advocacy skills, and professional knowledge to promote educational transformation, social justice, and positive change in early childhood education.

ECE 673 Advocacy, Policy, and Social Justice in Early Childhood Education

3 Credits

In this course, students will learn about public policy and law as it relates to early childhood education. Students will leverage leadership skills, advocacy skills, and professional knowledge to promote educational transformation, social justice, and positive change in early childhood education. Prerequisite: ECE 671

ECE 695 Professional and Ethical Leadership in Early Childhood Education Capstone

3 Credits

The capstone course is the culminating experience for the Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education Leadership program. In this course, students integrate concepts they have learned through a capstone project designed to propose solutions to complex ethical dilemmas in the field of early childhood. In addition, students critique and showcase their attainment of program learning outcomes through a professional e-portfolio designed for program and professional purposes. Prerequisite: All Core course requirements

ECE 695 Professional and Ethical Leadership in Early Childhood Education – Capstone Course

3 Credits
The capstone course is the culminating experience for the Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education Leadership program. In this course, students integrate concepts they have learned through a capstone project designed to propose solutions to complex ethical dilemmas in the field of early childhood. In addition, students critique and showcase their attainment of program learning outcomes through a professional e-portfolio designed for program and professional purposes.