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Early Childhood Education

Help children develop their skills emotionally, physically, and mentally with an Associate of Arts degree or certificate from Arapahoe Community College.

ECE Teacher with kids

Do you have a passion for working with young children and their families? Early Childhood Education is a rich and rewarding career that demands well-prepared professionals. ACC and the Early Childhood Education Department faculty are committed to providing you with a wide variety of academic pathways, and a strong foundation that meets your career goals in early care and education as well as other related fields. Our programs are designed to help you master the proficiencies you need to become an effective Early Childhood Teacher or Director in Colorado. All of our certificate and degree programs include observations and hours in the classroom to provide you with a wide range of hands-on experiences with different ages and programs. Our courses will prepare you for wherever your educational journey takes you.

Kristin Habicht
Faculty / Program Chair
Early Childhood Education
kristin.habicht [at] arapahoe.edu
Kathleen Sutherland
Program Chair / Faculty
Education
kathleen.sutherland [at] arapahoe.edu

What You'll Learn

Getting your Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education will prepare you for an immediate career or the option to transfer to any Colorado 4-year university with ease. Once you graduate, you’ll be able to:

  • Write a position paper on an ECE topic that integrates knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives
  • Observe, document, and assess the development young children
  • Develop an action plan that will improve social and emotional outcomes for children
  • Create an Integrated Curricular Plan
  • Create a learning environment that will foster a child’s development through age appropriate and engaging activities
  • Build family and community relationships
  • Become a professional and advocate for our field

CIP 240101 (ECTD)

The purpose of a statewide articulation agreement is to identify the courses a student at a Colorado public community college must complete as part of an AA/AS degree to be guaranteed to be able to complete the designated baccalaureate degree program at any public four-year college and university (hereafter referred to as receiving institutions) that offers that program within the minimum number of credits designated by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

For more information about this transfer degree please refer to the Colorado Department of Higher Education website.

Program Requirements

General Education Requirements (33 credit hours)
Written Communication (6 credit hours)
Mathematics (4 credit hours)
Arts and Humanities (6 credit hours)

Students must choose two of the following courses:

AND

Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 credit hours)
Natural and Physical Sciences (8 credit hours)

2Note: Students must pass with a C- or higher BOTH SCI 155 & 156 to satisfy the GT Pathways science requirement.

Additional Required Courses (18 credit hours)

Please Note: If these credits are not required for the major at a receiving 4-year institution, they will be applied to the Bachelor's degree as elective credit towards graduation. Please check with the receiving institution to determine in which way these courses will be applied.

Electives (9 credit hours)

Select 9 credit hours of qualifying courses as determined by the 4-year receiving institution:

  1. Adams State: ECE 111, ECE 112, and ECE 240 or ECE 241
  2. CSU-Ft. Collins: MAT 135, PSY 235, and ECE 205
  3. Ft. Lewis: PSY 235, ECE 228, and ECE 241
  4. MSU-Denver: COM 115, PSY 102, and ECE 111
  5. UC-Denver: ECE 205, ECE 240, and ECE 226 or ECE 241
  6. UNC: ECE 111, ECE 240, and ECE 241
  7. CMU: ECE 111, ECE 205, ECE 240, ECE 241 and ECE 260
Note: Consult an Advisor at transfer institution or ACC to determine appropriate electives
Total: 60 credit hours

Transferability of courses to colleges or universities outside of Colorado is determined by the receiving institution.

CIP 190709 (ECCF)

Want to make a difference in a young child's life? Consider the field of Early Childhood Education. Research supports the importance of high quality, early childhood programs which impact children's development throughout their school years and on into adult life. One of the most important influences is the teacher.

Arapahoe Community College and the Early Childhood Education program faculty are committed te prepare professionals to work with young children, birth through age 8, in a variety of settings. The Early Childhood Director Certificate will prepare students for early childhood director positions in early childhood care and education settings. Upon completion of these classes, you will have met academic requirements as an Early Childhood Director. In addition to the academic requirements, the Colorado Department of Human Services requires at least twenty four months (3,640 hours) of verifiable work experience.

All Early Childhood and general education coursework must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.

Admission Requirements

CIP 190709 (ITGL)

Want to make a difference in a young child's life? Consider the field of Early Childhood Education. Research supports the importance of high quality, early childhood programs which impact children's development throughout their school years and on into adult life. One of the most important influences is the teacher.

Arapahoe Community College and the Early Childhood Education program faculty are committed to prepare professionals to work with young children, birth through age 8, in a variety of settings. The Early Childhood Infant/Toddler Supervisor Certificate will prepare students for early childhood teacher positions in early childhood care and education settings, with an emphasis on caring for infants and toddlers. Upon completion of these classes, you will have met academic requirements as an Early Childhood Teacher and an Infant Nursery Supervisor. In addition to the academic requirements, the Colorado Department of Human Services requires at least twelve months (1,820 hours) of verifiable work experience.

All Early Childhood and general education coursework must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.

Admission Requirements

CIP 190709 (ECT3)

Early Childhood Teacher CDHS (Colorado Department of Human Services) Minimal Qualifications Certificate Want to make a difference in a young child's life? Consider the field of Early Childhood Education. Research supports the importance of high quality, early childhood programs which impact children's development throughout their school years and on into adult life. One of the most importance influences is the teacher.

Arapahoe Community College and the Early Childhood Education program faculty are committed to prepare professionals to work with young children, birth through age 8 in a variety of settings. The Early Childhood Teacher CDHS Minimal Qualifications Certificate will prepare students for early childhood teacher positions in early childhood care and education settings. Upon completion of these classes, you will have met academic requirements as an Early Childhood Teacher. In addition to the academic requirements, the Colorado Department of Human Services requires at least 24 months (3,640 hours) of verifiable work experience.

All Early Childhood and general education coursework must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.

Admission Requirements

Program Requirements

Major Courses (6 credit hours)
  • ECE - Elective Course of Choice 3 Credits
Total: 6 credit hours

CIP 190709 (ECT2)

Want to make a difference in a young child's life? Consider the field of Early Childhood Education. Research supports the importance of high quality, early childhood programs which impact children's development throughout their school years and on into adult life. One of the most important influences is the teacher.

Arapahoe Community College and the Early Childhood Education program faculty are committed to prepare professionals to work with young children, birth through age 8, in a variety of settings. The Early Childhood Teacher Certificate will prepare students for early childhood teacher positions in early childhood care and education settings. Upon completion of these classes, you will have met academic requirements as an Early Childhood Teacher. In addition to the academic requirements, the Colorado Department of Human Services requires at least nine months (1,395 hours) of verifiable work experience. All Early Childhood and general education coursework must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.

Admission Requirements

Early Childhood Education students are required to complete a national criminal background check through Castle Branch. This requirement is for both lecture-based classes where students are required to visit Early Childhood Programs and for practicum-based courses where students spend significant amounts of time in Early Childhood classrooms. This background check is a requirement of the Colorado Community College System and is implemented and monitored by ACC’s Human Resources Department. Background checks from employment sites will not be accepted.

You are responsible for completing the criminal background check with Castle Branch. You will set up a personal account with this company and will have access to your information. The check will take 3-5 days to complete. You must show your instructors a screenshot of your account which indicates the check has been “completed.” 

Background checks are valid from the date of clearance as long as you are continuously enrolled at ACC in a CCCS approved program with no more than a two semester lapse in enrollment. The Department Chair or Dean has the discretion to request additional background checks at any time, and you will be responsible for the associated costs. 

Should any required record indicate that you are unable to work with children, you will not be eligible to complete the courses requiring interactions with children. See our Disqualifying Events list. You may file an appeal with the Colorado Department of Human Services should the findings indicate ineligibility to work with children. If your background check prevents you from working with children or to be hired by an educational facility, the department chair will work with you to determine an alternative education plan and career path.

Qualifications for an ECE Teacher

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood, determines the coursework and experience needed to be an early childhood teachers. Please view their Early Childhood Teacher Chart.

Qualifications for an ECE Director

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood, determines the coursework and experience needed to be an early childhood teachers. Please go to their website to view the Director and the credential equivalency charts. 

Colorado Rules and Regulations for ECE Programs

You can find the most updated version at The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood website.

Vision

To be the center of excellence for EC professionals by providing dynamic and sustaining opportunities for them to grow in their knowledge, understanding, and implementation of best practices thus empowering them to think critically and be advocates for young children and their families.

Mission

To be the resource for innovative learning by exceeding the standards for the education of early childhood professionals.

At ACC we provide Early Childhood Professionals with a variety of opportunities to grow and develop in our field. We do this by being an open enrollment community college; by offering a variety of credit-bearing and professional development courses; scheduling classes at 3 campus locations and throughout our service area; providing students will support services; assessing student outcomes with NAEYC’s Standards; offering high quality instruction, partnering with area early childhood councils and other ECE agencies; and responding to the needs of our community. 

Job Potential

Did you know 85% of a child's brain development takes place in the first 5 years? Early childhood educators play a critical role in preparing children’s healthy development. Currently there is a shortage of well-prepared early childhood professionals in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With your degree or certificate, you could go on to work with children and their families in:

naeyc accredited

The Associate of Arts Early Childhood Teacher Education at Arapahoe Community College Institution is accredited by the Commission on Early Childhood Higher Education Programs of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1313 L Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. (800) 424-2460 ext. 8007. The accreditation term runs from March 2019 to March 2024.