This program is designed to prepare students to educate and care for young children in a variety of settings. We support those currently employed in early care and education in enhancing their skills and achieving their educational goals while staying debt free. This is accomplished by close collaboration with the T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) scholarship program. While the credentials are provided by other organizations, our college course work meets requirements outlined by the awarding entities for the National Child Development Associate (CDA), the Florida Child Care Professional Credential (FCCPC), and the Florida Director Credential. Those who wish to earn an A.S. may include the coursework for these credentials as part of their degree. Students in this program participate in comprehensive courses that are centered on the development of children from birth through age eight years. The study of research and theory is blended with many opportunities for hands-on experiences, as well as practical experience in the field. Completion of the A.S. qualifies students to serve as the Lead Teacher in a Florida Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten class as well.
The AS in Early Childhood Education equips students to become reflective and transformative educators. An emphasis on relationships between children, families, and communities in our diverse world is central to the framework of our courses and experiences. The opportunity to build a foundation of practical experience with young children in a variety of educational settings allows our students to be well prepared to enter the work force. Our students get to practice what they learn, and learn from the teachers in the field. Our faculty all have extensive experience and education in Early Childhood Education to teach in a way that complements students' field experience. Students are supported in completing their courses on a full-time or part-time basis. All courses are available online, which allows great flexibility. Some courses are offered in a traditional, face-to-face, format, or a blend of the two formats. The practicum courses are available to local students throughout Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee counties so that on-sight observation and guidance can occur. We have five star quality early care and education centers located on our Collier and Lee county campuses. This offers convenience and high quality experiences for our students. Service learning and professional advocacy are also important elements of development for the educators we graduate.
Students must fulfill the entrance requirements for Florida SouthWestern State College.