An early childhood education degree introduces future teachers to learning theories, concepts and strategies for infant to primary school aged children. Some education advocacy groups have noted a marked decline in the academic performance of students in the United States in comparison with those in other countries. Subsequently, special programs have been initiated at all grade levels to help close the perceived learning gap, and a great deal of those initiatives are aimed at improving early childhood development and education. Here are some of the course topics that prospective teachers can expect to take when pursuing degrees in early childhood education.
Many early childhood education degree programs help teachers to guide the physical, emotional and intellectual growth of their students. Course topics in childhood development instruct students on how to identify the stages of development in these areas and how to encourage growth in children who have different learning styles. These future teachers learn how to plan activities and games for their students that support the advancement of social abilities, physical coordination and motor skills. This type of course also introduces future teachers to the industry and state standards for preschool and kindergarten education as they pertain to childhood growth and development.
Language and Literacy
The ability to communicate well is essential for the cultivation of successful personal and professional relationships throughout one’s life. The years associated with early childhood education are the ones that are the most important for language development. It is the period when some parents choose to introduce their children to multiple languages that they seem to absorb with relative ease. It is also the time when neglected children fail to develop the necessary abilities to express themselves effectively in any language. Future early childhood education teachers are taught how to assess the linguistic development stages of their students and create lesson plans to promote language acquisition and communication skills that prepare young learners for literacy during their primary school years.
Special Needs in Early Childhood Development
The best time to identify whether children require special needs in academic settings is in the early childhood development stage. These special needs could be related to physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities; they could also address the issues surrounding childhood behavioral disorders. Courses that focus on these exceptional children introduce instructors to the appropriate ways of addressing the special learning requirements of these children according to the industry and state standards. Special needs courses also train future instructors on how to identify gifted students and help them to develop their talents. Many of these courses reflect the concept that it takes a village to raise a child, and instructors learn about programs sponsored by state and local agencies in their communities that help special needs children to receive the same level of quality education as all other students.
Childhood Creative Development
A casual observer into a classroom led by an instructor who is promoting childhood creative development would likely think that the young students are simply playing and having fun. However, future early childhood education instructors are trained in their degree program course work to structure play time for young learners in ways that help to facilitate artistic expression in drama, drawing, dance and music.
Many people regard early childhood education teaching positions as some of the most important in the field of education. It is during the early stages of development that children learn languages, establish cognitive skills and cultivate creative abilities. Early childhood education degree programs make sure that teachers of these young learners make the most of that critical time in children’s lives.
To see what career options are available, check out our article on the Highest Paying Early Childhood Education Jobs.