ONLINE Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education


Vanguard’s Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education provides the necessary training to become an effective ECE professional and meets many professional requirements. Early educators with this degree find greater employment options and higher pay than their counterparts without or with lesser degrees. Currently, key Early Childhood Education accrediting agencies are requiring early educators to have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.


The online Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education is comprised of 40 classes (120 semester units).

Transferable Coursework

A minimum of 57 semester units are required to begin the program. Up to 80 semester units may transfer. The last 24 of 30 units must be completed at VU.

Course Descriptions

All courses for the Early Childhood Education major are listed below. General Education, ECE prerequisites, and any courses from other departments listed separately.

ECED 100 Cornerstone for ECE Degree(s) (3 units)

This course provides an introduction to university life and online learning, and to the academic and social skills needed for success. Students will be introduced to the library and information literacy/research skills. The course management system and skills for successful online learning along with the integration of faith and learning through a Biblical worldview will be covered. Becoming a professional in the field of early education will be discussed. This course is required for all ECE degree-seeking students.

ECED 300 Guiding the Young Child’s Behavior (3 Units)

This course examines appropriate child guidance principles and practice. Positive teacher/child interactions along with guidance techniques will be examined. A Biblical emphasis will be placed on teaching self-regulation and self-control concepts that result in responsibility and ownership of behavior. Setting clear expectations and affirming positive behavior will be examined along with appropriate respect for authority and effective conflict resolution strategies. Classroom management techniques will be discussed. Parental involvement and school/family partnerships will be incorporated to serve children in their supporting environments.

ECED 305 The Exceptional Child and the Inclusive Classroom (3 Units)

This course provides an overview of children with exceptional cognitive, physical, social, and/or emotional characteristics, including learning disabilities. Students will be introduced to special education laws and their implications for delivery systems, transition plans, and identification and placement procedures. Assessment and screening strategies will be discussed to meet the educational needs of all students. A Biblical perspective of serving all children will be a part of the course, including rationale and strategies for honoring young children and families.

ECED 310 Music and Movement for the Young Child (3 Units)

This course introduces concepts related to creativity in music and movement. Topics include a general survey of the basic elements of music and planning, designing, and implementing creative learning. Worship experiences and the connection to music and movement will be explored, as well as the integration of these experiences into the curriculum to enhance spiritual development and all the learning domains. Basic systems of the body will be covered in relationship to movement and physical growth. Spontaneous and planned experiences, media, methods and materials, theoretical foundations and music appreciation will be studied.

ECED 315 Math and Science for the Young Child (3 Units)

This course reviews developmental theory and research about science and math education in the early childhood years. Early childhood educators will investigate the interrelationship of math and science, and explore an organized, sequential approach to creating a developmentally appropriate math and science curriculum for preschool children. Concepts of God as the creator and master designer will be presented as children construct knowledge through a dynamic, interactive process that facilitates their development of working theories relating to math and science.

ECED 320 Language and Literacy for Young Children (3 Units)
This course focuses on language and literacy development for young children. Students examine theories of language development, including theories of second language acquisition and the needs of English language learners. They also explore strategies for engaging children in integrated listening, speaking, reading, and writing experiences. Integration of content area standards and development of hands-on learning experiences are emphasized. Evaluation of God-honoring children’s literature will be covered along with communicating with God through prayer. Additionally, developmentally effective assessments are discussed as a means of informing instruction.

ECED 325 Creative Art for the Young Child (3 Units)

This course introduces the concepts related to creativity in art for young children. Topics include: concepts of creativity; art media, methods, and materials for creative activities; planning and preparation of art experiences; appreciation of children’s art processes and products; developmental stages in art; and art appreciation. Art experiences in relationship to expressing concepts of God and spirituality will be integrated throughout the course. Emphasis is placed on the development of art curriculum activities, basic teaching skills, guidance techniques, equipment and materials.

ECED 330 Early Foundations for Moral and Character Development (3 units)

This course examines the role of educators in developing moral and ethical behavior in young children. Character traits will be defined and identified that are reflective of a Spirit-filled classroom. Students will explore different theories of moral development and identify knowledge, skills, and dispositions that can be integrated into the life of the classroom. Biblical principles of moral development will be studied along with strategies that integrate these concepts into the curriculum content. Students will examine early education centers for moral and character development curriculum content and a strategic plan will be developed to enhance moral development. Students will be challenged to be an effective role model and will identify their own personal strengths and growth areas. Developmentally-effective methods of instruction will be discussed, including the use of a variety of hands-on materials to reinforce concrete learning.

ECED 335 Promoting Children’s Well-Being (3 units)

This course examines the concept of well-being related to young children that includes health maintenance, positive relationships, nurturing environments, and safe practices. Prevention and anticipatory guidance will be discussed in relationship to crisis situations and child abuse. The students will examine factors such as socioeconomic status, culture, ethnicity and faith practices that influence a child’s well-being. Regulatory reporting requirements will be reviewed. Guidelines to support the family unit, minimizing the stress factors affecting young children, will be examined. Strategies for improving the well-being of children will be developed, utilizing the Church and public agencies for support and guidance.

ECED 340 Transitional Kindergarten Programs (3 units)

This course examines transitional kindergarten programs in the private and public sector. An in-depth look at the developmental needs of 4-1/2- to 6-year-olds will be included. Aspects of current brain research on the connection of curriculum to targeted learning outcomes will be reviewed. Specific strategies for measuring developmental milestones for learning will be included, preparing early educators to adequately assess developmentally-effective progression. Aspects of creating effective transitions from preschool to kindergarten programs, including perceptions, expectations, and practices that build strong partnerships with families and elementary schools, will be covered. Appropriate levels of instruction and developmentally-effective environments will be explored.

ECED 345 Advancing Early Childhood Programs through Technology (3 units)

This course introduces the use of technology in the early education setting to enhance teaching, learning, and program support. Topics will include the use of technology in the classroom, the supportive use in administrative management, communication with families, teacher training, and marketing. Ethical issues surrounding the use of technology will be discussed along with the appropriate use of technology in the classroom. Upon completion, students should be able to apply technology-enhanced instruction, use a variety of technology resources, and demonstrate appropriate technology skills in educational environments.

ECED 350 Ministering to Parents and Families (3 units)

This course emphasizes the significance of parents and families as the basic unit of society according to God’s design. Significant issues surrounding the health of the family unit will be discussed. Topics included in this course will focus on the well-being of individuals and society supported by strong family units. Various parenting styles will be examined for understanding the family dynamics. Students will learn how to minister effectively through the integration of faith practices, prayer, God’s word, and Biblical insight that will support a strong home life for young children. The importance of instilling Biblically-based values in the home and the supportive role of early education programs in supporting children and their families will be examined, including family education and advocacy.

ECED 355 Effective Christian-Based Learning Environments (3 units) Elective option

This course will cover the principles that transform space into places that engage all domains of development for young children. Current knowledge and best practices will be discussed that relate to the environment of a Christ-centered early childhood classroom. Various learning materials for center-based instruction will be presented that support the program’s outcomes across the developmental domains. Planning and preparation of the learning environment will be a part of this course, as well as teacher-child interactions that facilitate learning. Students will study space design and apply that knowledge in setting up spaces that foster optimum development.

ECED 360 Kingdom Education for Young Children (3 units) Elective option

This course will study Biblical passages that deal with educating children from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Specific examples will be given of the type of instruction adults should pass onto the next generation and the unique perspective that Jesus had of the value of young children. Examples of children in the Bible that held important positions or displayed advanced maturity will be discussed. The course will include accounts from the field of supernatural experiences children have or maturity they show beyond their age. Students will explore the aspect of childlikeness that Jesus gave attention to in relationship to the kingdom of God. Supportive research will be included that discusses a child’s position and participation in the kingdom through Biblical passages and supporting literature. Activities such as prayer, worship, evangelism, and prophetic ministry will be examined in relationship to a child’s personal relationship with God and potential ministry to others.

ECED 400 Early Communication Skills and Literacy in Multilingual Communities (3 units)

This course develops students’ understanding of language development specific to the early years and the principles that govern this process. Language learning development will be studied as an important part of thinking and communicating as God’s design for each child. Students will learn the distinct differences between language, competence, and performance as it relates to multicultural communities. The role of adults, peers, and siblings in fostering language development will be discussed. Students will explore specific strategies for working with multilingual families in meeting the functional needs of the child in the classroom setting to maximize language development. Delays in the language process will be reviewed along with the necessary resources to help serve children at risk.

ECED 405 Advanced Curriculum Design and Development in Early Childhood Education (3 units)

This course focuses on curriculum planning and design from a Biblical perspective for programs that serve young children. Issues and trends in curriculum development will be examined, along with the components of a philosophy of teaching and learning based on a school’s foundational statements. The students will explore the sequenced components of a curriculum guide that support each learning domain, including student- based outcomes, goals, and benchmarks. Monthly and weekly guides along with lesson planning with be discussed and developed. The process of evaluating the planned instructional program will be covered as it relates to improving the curriculum and effectively achieving student learning outcomes. Learning outcomes will be integrated into this course as a foundation for curriculum development.

ECED 410 Leadership and Advocacy in Early Childhood Education (3 units)

This course will focus on child and family advocacy, leadership, public policy, research, and advocacy initiatives in the field of early education. Students will analyze critical issues in early education from a Biblical-worldview and develop strategies for articulating positions and becoming change agents. Students will develop and implement a service-learning project to apply strategies for change. A professional code of ethics, integrating Biblical standards and principles, will be discussed.

ECED 460 Advanced Practicum (6 units)

This course is a supervised experience in working with young children in a classroom setting. The focus will be on the application of developmentally effective early childhood teaching theories, techniques, and skills. The emphasis will be on designing, implementing, and evaluating classroom experiences for young children. Observation and evaluation of classroom experiences, environmental design, classroom management, and parent communication will be emphasized to promote optimal development for young children. Biblical perspectives will be integrated throughout the course. The student will be evaluated by the mentor teacher in the classroom, as well as by the instructor and peers via video of the student in the classroom. This course will require 150 hours in an early childhood practicum site. The practicum site and mentor teacher must be approved by the instructor at least 5 weeks prior to the course start date. This course is 10 weeks in length.

ECED 499 Capstone for ECE BA Degree (4 units)

This course will be the culmination of the students’ coursework in early education for the baccalaureate degree. This course includes analysis and evaluation of current research in early education and the integration of faith and learning in the field. Students will demonstrate their competence and achievement of the program learning outcomes through the completion of the portfolio begun in the Cornerstone class, including personal reflections. Students will examine and evaluate their service learning experience from the Leadership and Advocacy class and analyze the issues related to teacher education, advocacy, policy, and working with families to further the spiritual and educational needs of young children. The next steps in professional development will be discussed and a plan for further growth as a professional in the early education field will be developed.

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