If you have a passion for working with children, and looking for a short-term program, The WMCC Entry Level Childcare program is for you.  Students will complete four ECE courses and will be prepared for employment in NH licensed childcare facilities.

People take early childhood certificate courses for a variety of reasons. Most often it is career or work related to meet different job requirements as outlined in New Hampshire’s Child Care Program Licensing Rules. Sometimes these courses are also of interest to parents or students in related fields. While students may be non-matriculated and still take early childhood courses, only matriculated students are eligible for federal financial aid. To matriculate, please see Admissions Office or apply online. The Early Childhood Education Certificate program is available days and evenings in all of our Academic Centers. Many classes are online or hybrid/online. Faculty work individually with students to assist and advise students in finding a career lattice that suits them.

Program Requirements 

Admitted students will receive an information packet with specific details regarding program requirements.  Requirements must be fulfilled by the end of the first week of classes.

  1. Students will be working with children at the WMCC campus Child Development Center, beginning with first semester early childhood courses. 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 from the Bureau of Child Care Licensing must occur by the end of the first week of classes. This includes the following:
  • submission of a criminal background check;
  • a complete set of fingerprints;
  • completion of the licensing Child Care Personnel Health Form by a licensed health provider.
  • The cost of the Criminal background check and fingerprinting is the responsibility of the student. They must come back as clear or non-disqualifying and the health form must indicate that 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.

Program Considerations

WMCC has developed excellent practicum opportunities for our students to foster hands-on learning while simultaneously receiving credit. Nonetheless, the college’s first priority must be to ensure that children and families are safe, secure and receiving professional care and education. Students are required to abide by the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s’ Code of Ethical Conduct. The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct offers guidelines for responsible behavior and sets forth a common basis for resolving the principal ethical dilemmas encountered in early childhood care and education and in WMCC ECE classrooms.

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 field studies 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 Criminal background checks through the New Hampshire Department of Safety must be completed by potential employers prior to employment.  Fingerprinting and criminal background 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 practical.  Applicants are advised that such matters will be discussed during the admissions interview so that future goals will not be compromised.

Program available in Berlin, Littleton, and North Conway.

ECE112WChild Growth and Development303
Choose one of the following courses:
ECE118WInfant Toddler Curriculum303
ECE120WIntroduction to Early Intervention303
Choose two of the following courses:
ECE114WHealth, Safety and Nutrition303
ECE115WPositive Guidance Techniques303
ECE117WTeaching and Learning PreK I404
ECE214WTeaching and Learning PreK II404
 Totals12-14 12-14
 Total for Certificate  12-14

Program Outcomes

The Early Childhood Education programs are designed to meet the Standards for teacher
preparation according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Standards addressed in the Entry Level Certificate are

  • Standard 1: Promoting Child Development and Learning
  • Standard 2: Building Family and Community Relationships
  • Standard 3: Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families
  • Standard 4: Using Developmentally Effective Approaches to Connect with Children and Families
  • Standard 5: Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaningful Curriculum
  • Standard 6: Becoming a Professional.

Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will be prepared to:

  • Build observation skills.
  • Build communication skills.
  • Use cooperative learning tasks to solve problems.
  • Use community resources.
  • Develop professional job behaviors.

  • Robin Scott

    Robin Scott

    Social, Educational & Behavioral Science
    Professor of Education / Department Chair, Education, Social & Behavioral Science

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, bending, 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 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.

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.  Those who  provide family child care, or work at least part time in a child care setting in New Hampshire, may be eligible to receive tuition assistance for Early Childhood Education courses offered through White Mountains Community College.

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 and early intervention specialists and, there has never been a greater need for well-qualified early childhood professionals.

WMCC ECE faculty prides themselves in teaching and learning with the most effective and innovative methods.  Students will be involved with teaching mentors, peer teaching and working directly with children and families in every course.  Students will be observing, documenting and assessing their learning as well as the children they are practicing to teach.  Candidates are expected to show initiative and joy of learning through traditional and non-traditional methods. 

The early childhood certificate provides many avenues for growth, challenge, and fostering  a joy for teaching and learning. The curriculum is performance-based. Students have the opportunity to work alongside NH ECE Credentialed teachers in the on-campus nationally-accredited child development center.

Graduates are prepared for immediate entry as competent professionals into the field of early childhood education as teachers in NH licensed child care centers, Head Start programs, nursery schools and family child care programs. The Certificate meets the training and education requirements for the State of NH Early Childhood Teacher.  Certificates include all Health and Safety training requirements and students begin immediately creating a NH ECE Professional Development Registry. 

Students may shape their program of studies to include courses and concentrations in Special Education and/or Early Intervention. The 12 credit Child Care Entry-Level and the 26 credit Early Childhood Education certificates provide a career lattice for students working in the field and/or exploring career options. Student interested an Associate Degree in Teacher Education/ECE may begin shaping the Certificate by adding liberal arts requirements and continuing the following year.


of students qualify for financial aid