Early Childhood Education Degree


Early Childhood Education Degree

Early Childhood Education Home Page
Early Childhood Education Program Outcomes
Early Childhood Education Degree Cost Estimate

The field of early childhood education is growing and changing rapidly, and we are responding to the educational and programmatic needs of New Hampshire's youngest citizens. With the increasing demand for family child care providers, lead teachers in preschools, educational assistants in classrooms, early intervention specialists and directors of child care centers, there has never been a greater need for well-qualified early childhood professionals. 

Our early childhood programs provide many avenues for growth, challenge and foster a joy for learning. The curriculum is performance-based. Students build a teaching and learning portfolio based on standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and NH ECE Professional Development System. Students have the opportunity to gain a wide range of experiences, such as student teaching in our on-campus, nationally-accredited childcare center or interning in our on-site Child Care Resource and Referral agency.

The Associate Degree with a major in Early Childhood Education is awarded upon successful completion of this program. Students may shape their program of studies to include courses and concentrations in Special Education and/or Early Intervention. The 12 credit Entry-Level and the 25 credit Child Care certificates provide a career lattice for students working in the field and/or exploring career options.

Early Childhood Education Scholarship Programs

NH Community Colleges partner with the NH Department of Health & Human Services to offer tuition assistance to child care providers who are currently in the field of Early Care and Education. If you provide family child care, or work at least part time in a child care setting in New Hampshire, you may be eligible to receive tuition assistance for Early Childhood Education courses offered through White Mountains Community College.

The Neil and Louise Tillotson Foundation funds a scholarship for students in Early Childhood Education Programs.Scholarship support is available for Coös County, New Hampshire (and surrounding communities in VT, NH, and Maine) residents seeking an Associate Degree, a Bachelor Degree, or a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education or Early Childhood Studies from the following institutions: White Mountains Community College, Plymouth State University, Granite State College, or Lyndon State College. Information and applications can be found at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundationhttp://www.nhcf.org/Page.aspx?pid=465. Deadlines are August 15th and December 15th.


Health Considerations

The college must ensure that families and children are not placed in jeopardy by students during learning experiences. Therefore, students in practica, service learning and clinical experiences must demonstrate sufficient emotional stability to withstand the stresses, uncertainties and changing circumstances that characterize patient/client/child care responsibilities. Furthermore, the student is expected to have the emotional stability required to exercise sound judgment, accept direction and guidance from a supervisor or faculty member, and establish rapport and maintain sensitive interpersonal relationships with employees and customers as well as with families and children and their families.

Candidates for positions and careers in early childhood education are encouraged to explore health requirements associated with employment in child care, preschool and related settings for young children. Prospective students with special needs requiring accommodations that may affect their practicum placement and/or potential employment prospects are advised to discuss specific career goals with the department head during the admissions process.

Character Expectations

The health and safety of young children is of paramount concern to the Department of Early Childhood Education. Applicants for positions in childcare, preschools and many other early childhood programs in New Hampshire should be aware that background checks through the New Hampshire Department of Safety must be completed by potential employers prior to employment. Fingerprinting and criminal records checks are required.

Applicants who have been in difficulty with the law, depending upon the nature of the problem, may not be employable or even eligible for practica. Applicants are advised that such matters will be discussed during the admissions interview so that future goals will not be compromised.

Technical Standards

Technical standards have been established to provide guidance as to skills and abilities required to function successfully in the program and, ultimately, in the Early Childhood Education profession. Applicants who feel they may not be able to meet one or more of the technical standards should contact department faculty to discuss individual cases. The Department of Early Childhood Education will seriously consider all academically-qualified candidates providing that the technical standards can be met with reasonable accommodations. Students in Early Childhood Education must have sufficient strength, stamina, and motor coordination to perform the following:

  • Standing for sustained periods of time, walking, running, ending, sitting on the floor and on child-size furniture to meet children's needs and accomplish tasks;
  • Frequent lifting, moving, and transferring children, especially infants and toddlers;
  • Sufficient visual and hearing acuity to ensure a safe environment; and ability to respond quickly in the event of emergency;
  • Sufficient visual and hearing acuity to ensure a safe environment; and ability to respond quickly in the event of emergency;
  • Sufficient verbal ability to express and exchange information and ideas as well as to interpret important instructions to children, colleagues, and parents; and sufficient writing skills to accurately record children's daily progress and milestones, as well as medications administered, accident and suspected child abuse reports, etc.;
  • Ability to work with frequent interruptions, to respond appropriately to unexpected situations; and to cope with extreme variations in workload and stress.

Students must submit a health record, including immunizations, provide proof of liability insurance (available to matriculated students through the college), and be CPR and First Aid certified.

Additional Requirements

  1. Applicants are advised that the New Hampshire Bureau of Child Care Licensing requires certain paperwork to be on file at centers for employees and others who regularly work in child care centers. Completion of paperwork must occur prior to the end of the first week of classes. This includes submission of a criminal background check, a complete set of fingerprints, and completion of health form by a licensed health provider.
  2. The cost of the background check and fingerprinting are the responsibility of the student. They must come back as clear or non-disqualifying. The health form must indicate the student is in good physical health and has no mental or emotional disturbances that would prohibit him/her from caring for children. Otherwise, the student will be dismissed from the program.
  3. Failure to complete the required paperwork in a timely manner may result in unexcused absence in the corresponding early childhood classes and could lead to course failure or suspension from the Early Childhood Education program.
First Year
Fall Semester Lec Lab Cr
BECE111 Foundations of Early Childhood Education 3 0 3
BECE114 Health, Safety and Nutrition 3 0 3
BECE118 Infant Toddler Curriculum 3 0 3
BENG120 College Composition 3 0 3/4
BPSY111 Psychology 3 0 3
  Semester Total  15/16 0 15/16
Spring Semester Lec Lab Cr
BECE112 Child Growth and Development 3 0 3
BECE113 Early Childhood Education Practicum I 2 6 4
BECE117 Curriculum and Environments I  3 0 3
BECE216 Understanding Children With Special Needs 3 0 3
BEDU101 Introduction to Exceptionalities 3 0 3
BENG214 Children's Language and Literature 3 0 3
  Semester Total  14 6 16
  First Year Total      31/32
Second Year
Fall Semester Lec Lab Cr
BECE120 Introduction to Early Intervention 3 0 3
BECE213 Sociology of Children and Families 3 0 3
BHUM212 Legal and Ethical Issues 3 0 3
  Liberal Arts Elective 3 0 3
  Mathematics 3 0 3
  Choose one of the following courses:      
BECE212 Early Childhood Education Practicum II 2 6 4
BEDU201 Legal Issues in Education 3 0 3
BHUS212 Supportive Communication Skills 3 0 3
  Semester Total  17/18 0/6 18/19
Spring Semester Lec Lab Cr
BECE115 Positive Guidance Techniques  3 0 3
BECE214 Curriculum and Environments II 3 0 3
  Liberal Arts Elective 3 0 3
  Science 3 0 3
  Choose one of the following courses:      
BECE121 Understanding Children with Autism & Pervasive Developmental Disorders 3 0 3
BECE211 Organization and Management of Early Childhood Programs 3 0 3
BEDU200 Supporting Students with Challenging Behaviors 4 0 4
BEDU202 Strategies for Teaching Diverse Populations 3 0 3
BEDU203 Teaching Strategies for Students with Disabilities      
BEDU204 Instructional Technology 3 0 3
  Semester Total  15/16 0 15/16
  Second Year Total      33-35
  Total for A.S. Degree     64-67

Early Childhood Education Certificate
Entry-Level Childcare Certificate

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