The Early Childhood program strives to prepare students to become high quality professionals who will make a difference in their communities by displaying and understanding the importance of professionalism, lifelong learning, building community, developmentally appropriate practice, and culturally responsive awareness. The program is based on the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC ) standards which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Promoting child development and learning
- Building family and community relationships
- Observing, documenting and assessing, to support young children and families
- Teaching and learning
- Becoming a professional
The program is designed to prepare students for one of two optional career paths:
Early Childhood Education Department Conceptual Framework
- Through courses in Early Childhood Development, Program Planning, and a variety of supervised practicum experiences with children aged 0-5, students will be prepared to enter the field of childcare as assistant teachers or assistant group supervisors. After two years experience in the field, graduates with an associate degree may advance professionally to hold positions as lead teachers or group supervisors. Graduates of the program work in infant/toddler programs, preschool settings, and other childcare venues.
- Students who wish to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and/or Special Education are provided with the opportunity to acquire foundation skills in Education, as well as to fulfill their core course requirements before transferring to a four-year Education program.
- Starts Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. All professional coursework begins in the Fall semester. Students may enroll in other semesters to complete core and preparatory coursework.
- Offered full-time day and accelerated, and part-time day/evening.
Supervised field experiences are an integral part of the Early Childhood Education curriculum. The on-campus childcare facility, Kindercare at Harcum, for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers provides the opportunity for close coordination between academic and practical learning. In the first three semesters, students make regular site visits as part of their ongoing coursework. In the final semester, students take on more direct responsibilities and, through extensive supervised practical work at the site, develop entry-level skills in early childhood education.
The State Department of Education certifies the graduate (A.A. degree) as an Assistant Teacher. Graduates may begin to work in the childcare industry immediately or may continue their education in a four-year program. Some graduates combine the two options; they enroll in a four-year program while supporting themselves financially through a position in the childcare industry.
- Completed Harcum College Application
- Official high school transcript showing a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and/or a minimum SAT score of 750
- Official college transcript(s), if applicable
- Letter of recommendation
- Personal essay on the topic of "Why I want to go into Early Childhood Education"
- TOEFL scores are required for students for whom English is a second language
Before beginning professional coursework, accepted students must show proof of the following: