Early Childhood Program
Mission: The Mission of the Early Childhood Program at Vanguard University is to provide a collaborative, reflective learning community where students are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions, in the context of a Biblical worldview, to serve as highly qualified early education professionals who support every young child’s learning and development to reach his/her God-given potential.
Early Childhood courses are taught online in an accelerated format. Courses are taught by highly qualified instructors with educational and professional backgrounds in early childhood education. Christian philosophy and values are integrated throughout all classes. All courses cover the development of young children from infancy on, including addressing the diverse needs of an individual child. The early education classes at Vanguard University meet the formal requirements of Title 22 and Title V for the State of California. Additionally, they meet the formal educational training requirements for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), Preschool Associate Credential (PAC), and Director’s certificate.
This course provides an introduction to university life, online learning, and the academic and social skills needed for success. Students are 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 are covered. Becoming a professional in the field of early childhood education is discussed.
This course covers the study of social, emotional, intellectual, physical, creative, and spiritual areas of development from conception through middle childhood with an emphasis on the preschool years. Theories of development are studied along with the various stages of growth. These concepts will be presented from a Biblical perspective.
This course covers the study of how family, school, and community affect a child's development. An emphasis will be placed on the family unit and the parents' roles in being the primary educator of their child. Community resources are investigated and advocacy for children is explored.
This class will provide an overview of the planning, preparation, and delivery of a developmentally appropriate curriculum for young children. The role of the teacher and the curriculum in supporting the development of the whole child will be analyzed. The class will cover the basic components and developmentally appropriate implementation of curriculum across content areas. Though not required, completion of ECED-101 Child Growth and Development is recommended.
This course presents an overview of the historical development and philosophies of early education. Students will examine the relationship among developmental theory, philosophy, and practice in early education. Students will explore a wide range of early childhood curriculum models. The ecological contexts and relationships affecting young children's development will be analyzed. This course includes a review of teaching strategies supporting all children's development. Though not required, completion of ECED-101 Child Growth and Development is recommended.
This course is an overview of the characteristic needs of infants and toddlers birth through age three. Appropriate learning environments and routine experiences will be discussed. Social, cognitive, physical, and sensory motor behavior patterns will be applied in theory and through observation in relation to the environment. A focus on the development of curriculum in meeting the individual needs of the children and the role of the teacher in facilitating growth through play experiences will be emphasized. (meets elective credit requirement) *Only available online.
Application of the basic principles for the establishment, operation, supervision and evaluation of a preschool/ daycare program will be examined. This includes an overview and history of ECE programs, philosophy development, licensing standards, and assessment of management techniques. Christian philosophy and development will be integrated. This meets the minimum licensing course requirement for operating a licensed daycare program. (meets elective credit requirement) *Only available online.
Application of advanced principles for the ongoing operation, supervision and evaluation of a preschool/ daycare program will be examined. This includes an in-depth look into managing staff and personnel issues, along with public relations and board development. Parent partnership and operational policies will be discussed. Christian philosophy and development will be integrated. This meets the minimum licensing requirement for operating a licensed daycare program. (meets elective credit requirement) *Only available online.
This course will examine current issues facing the early education professional in understanding diversity as it impacts the classroom. In many early childhood classrooms, there has been an increase in the number of children with racial, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity, as well as the numbers of children with disabilities or developmental delays. This diversity brings many challenges, as well as many opportunities for educators. Factors of working with and supporting diverse populations of young children and their families will be discussed including relevant teaching methods and materials.
This course is designed for the student to demonstrate practical application of developmentally appropriate early childhood teaching techniques and skills. 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. Fieldwork will be completed in the student's own classroom or by approval of the instructor. Students will complete 50 hours in an early childhood setting. Students will videotape their teaching in order to be evaluated by the instructor and fellow classmates. Though not required, ECED-101 and ECED-106 are recommended prior to taking this course.
This course presents healthy practices that promote safety, nutrition, and wellness for the young child. Strategies will be introduced that include families in developing health awareness. In addition, safety issues inclusive of disaster and emergency planning along with creating safe environments within an early education setting will be emphasized.
This course will offer opportunities for students to develop in-depth knowledge and skills as early childhood professionals with a focus on research, policy, and best practices in early childhood assessment and to link assessment to curriculum planning and program evaluation. Focus will be on students acquiring knowledge about informal and formal developmental screening assessment instruments for young children, how to select and how to use the appropriate one to determine initial information that will facilitate individual learning environments and strategies. Though not required, completion of ECED-101 and ECED-106 are recommended.
This course will cover the methods and principles of supervising adults who are teachers, assistants, or volunteers in early childhood classrooms. Emphasis is on the role of experienced classroom teachers who function as mentors to new teachers while simultaneously addressing the needs of children, parents and other staff. Though not required, ECED 101 and ECED 103 are recommended prior to taking this course. (meets elective credit requirement) *Only available online.
This course will explore how children develop between the ages of three and six and what programs are developmentally appropriate for this age group by examining principles and the best practices of early childhood education curriculum that promotes effective transition from preschool to kindergarten programs. Students will discuss different curricula and how to effectively integrate multiple content areas into one program. Current research on developmental milestones, preparing the classroom, and guiding children's social behavior will be reviewed and discussed. Students will examine how school goals have changed over time, and the importance of getting parents involved in the early childhood classroom. Students will their own integrated curriculum plan and understand how to assess young children using multiple measures.
This course will further students' own understanding and personal journey of spiritual formation and how that relates to the spiritual transformation of young children. The process of how the inner life is formed in young children towards an intimate relationship with God will be discussed. Particular emphasis will be placed on relationship, experience, and practice of the spiritual disciplines that create the context for spiritual formation to occur. A systematic approach will be given that lays the foundation for regular practices in the classroom. The relationship between the church, home, and the early education program will be explored as the foundational environments where spiritual transformation is developed. *Only available online.
This course is designed for the student to learn the uniqueness of infant and toddler curriculum and to demonstrate a practical application of developmentally appropriate infant & toddler teaching techniques and skills. Emphasis will be on designing, implementing, and evaluating classroom experiences for children 0 to 2 years old. Observation and evaluation of classroom experiences, environmental design, classroom management, and parent communication will also be emphasized to promote optimal development for young children. Biblical perspectives will be integrated throughout the course. Fieldwork will be completed in the student's own classroom or by approval of the instructor. Students will videotape their teaching in order to be evaluated by the instructor and fellow classmates. Though not required, ECED 101 Child, Growth, and Development and ECED 109 Infant/Toddler: Development are recommended prior to taking this course.
This course provides an overview of early childhood education for children ages 0 to 8 in developmental theories and history of early childhood education, developmentally appropriate practices based on Constructivism-based curricula, working with families in diverse communities, and becoming an early childhood education professional. (This course is cross listed with EDUC-250 in the residential undergraduate program.)
This course provides the opportunity to integrate theories of child development, a Biblical worldview of young children, and principles of effective practice as a culmination of learning at the bachelor's degree-level. Students engage in field experience through the implementation of a project that exhibits an integration of faith and learning. This project demonstrates an application of the students' knowledge of Biblically-based early childhood education into their practice. An analysis and evaluation of the students' educational experiences across the curriculum is reviewed and the comprehensive portfolio of the students' work samples and reflections demonstrate competence and the achievement of program learning outcomes. Next steps in professional development are discussed, and a plan for further growth as a professional in the early childhood education field is developed.
This course examines appropriate child guidance principles and practice. Positive teacher/child interactions along with guidance techniques, teaching self-regulation and self-control concepts, setting clear expectations and affirming positive behavior, classroom management techniques, and conflict resolution strategies are examined. Parental involvement and school/family partnerships are incorporated to serve children in their supporting environments.
This course examines and celebrates infant and toddler development from pre-birth through age 36 months. The course focuses on the importance of families' and caregivers' relationships and responsiveness in interactions with young children emphasizing the whole-child approach to development. Developmentally appropriate guidance using a relationship-based model is introduced.
Prerequisite: MUST COMPLETE: ECED-100
This course provides an overview of children ages 0-12 with exceptional cognitive, physical, social, and/or emotional characteristics, including learning disabilities. Students are introduced to special education laws and their implications for delivery systems, transition plans, and identification and placement procedures. Assessment and screening strategies are discussed to meet the educational needs of all students. A Biblical perspective of serving all children is part of the course, including rationale and strategies for honoring young children and families.
This course is designed to equip early childhood educators who teach special needs students to demonstrate best practices in his or her classroom. This course covers teaching common core Language Arts, Math and Science, and creating instructions and assessment. The concepts of embedding instruction and inclusion in the classroom are explored. (Requirement for Special Education emphasis.)
This course reviews developmental theory and research about science and math education in the early childhood years. Students investigate the interrelationship of math and science, and explore an organized, sequential approach to creating a developmentally appropriate math and science curriculum for young children.
This course focuses on language and literacy development for young children ages 0-8. Students examine theories of language development, including theories of second language acquisition and the needs of English language learners. Strategies for engaging children in integrated listening, speaking, reading, and writing experiences are also explored. Integration of content area standards and development of hands-on learning experiences are emphasized. Evaluation of God-honoring children's literature is covered along with communicating with God through prayer. Additionally, developmentally effective assessments are discussed as a means of informing instruction.
This course introduces concepts related to creativity and its application across the curriculum, with emphasis on creativity in the arts including visual art, drama, music, movement and creative play. Topics include the theoretical and Biblical basis for creativity; concepts of creativity and aesthetics; planning and implementing creative activities that are developmentally appropriate for young children; art media, methods and materials for creative activities; planning and preparation of art experiences; developmental stages in art; and fostering creativity across the curriculum.
This course examines the role of educators in developing moral and ethical behavior in young children. Character traits that are reflective of a Spirit-filled classroom are defined and identified. Students 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 are studied along with strategies that integrate these concepts into the curriculum content. Students examine early childhood education centers for moral and character development curriculum content, and a strategic plan is developed to enhance moral development. Students are challenged to be an effective role model and to identify their own personal strengths and growth areas. Developmentally-effective methods of instruction are discussed, including the use of a variety of hands-on materials to reinforce concrete learning.
This course provides information about the advanced skills needed to manage and lead in early childhood education settings. Students develop skills in personal and professional self-awareness, fiscal management, facilities management, family support and educational programming. Special emphasis is placed on management theory and decision making. Through this course, students develop an understanding of their own leadership and management style.
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 is included. Aspects of current brain research on the connection of curriculum to targeted learning outcomes is reviewed. Specific strategies for measuring developmental milestones for learning are included, preparing early childhood 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, are covered. Appropriate levels of instruction and developmentally appropriate environments are explored.
This course introduces the use of technology in the early childhood education setting to enhance teaching, learning, and program support. Topics 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 are 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.
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 are discussed. Topics included in this course focus on the well-being of individuals and society supported by strong family units. Various parenting styles are examined for understanding family dynamics. Students learn how to minister effectively through the integration of faith practices, prayer, God's word, and Biblical insight that supports a strong home life for young children. Instilling Biblically-based values in the home and the supportive role of early childhood education programs in supporting children and their families are examined, including family education and advocacy.
This course develops students' understanding of language development specific to the early years and the principles that govern this process. Language learning development is presented as an important part of thinking and communicating being God's design for each child. Students learn the distinct differences between language, competence, and performance as it relates to multicultural communities. The roles of adults, peers, and siblings in fostering language development are discussed. Students 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 are reviewed along with the necessary resources to help serve children at risk.
This course explores the uniqueness of infant and toddler curriculum, and demonstrates a practical application of developmentally appropriate infant and toddler teaching techniques and skills. Emphasis is placed on designing, implementing, and evaluating classroom experiences for children ages 0 - 36 months. Observation and evaluation of classroom experiences, environmental design, classroom management, and parent communication are emphasized to promote optimal development for young children. Biblical perspectives are integrated throughout the course. Fieldwork is completed in the student's own classroom, or by approval of the instructor. Students videotape their teaching in order to be evaluated by the instructor and fellow classmates.
This course focuses on curriculum planning and design for programs that serve young children ages 0-8. Issues and trends in curriculum development are examined, along with the components of a philosophy of teaching and learning based on a school's foundational statements. The students 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, are discussed and developed. The process of evaluating the planned instructional program is covered as it relates to improving the curriculum and effectively achieving student learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are integrated into this course as a foundation for curriculum development.
This course focuses on child and family advocacy, leadership, public policy, research, and advocacy initiatives in the field of early childhood education. Students analyze critical issues in early childhood education from a Biblical-worldview and develop strategies for articulating positions and becoming change agents. Students develop and implement strategies for change. A professional code of ethics that integrates Biblical standards and principles is discussed.
This course examines the introduction of Behavioral Analysis into daily life, and how the events in daily life affect autistic students' behavior. Students learn how to apply behavioral principles to their classes, deal with challenging behaviors, and build positive relationship with their students' families and other students. (Requirement for Special Education emphasis)
This course covers how to collect and use educational data to assess diverse learning needs in multiple developmental aspects, educational planning and progress monitoring, instructional models, curricular access, mapping, and development. Various types and uses of assessments to identify needs of exceptional learners are introduced. (Requirement for Special Education emphasis)
This course is a supervised student teaching experience of working with young children ages 0-8 in a classroom setting. The focus is on the application of developmentally appropriate early childhood education theories, techniques, and skills. Emphasis is put on designing, implementing, and evaluating classroom experiences for young children. Observation and evaluation of classroom experiences, environmental design, classroom management, and parent communication are emphasized to promote optimal development for young children. Biblical perspectives are integrated throughout the course.
This course is a supervised student teaching experience working with young children ages 0-8 in a classroom setting. The focus is on the application of developmentally appropriate early childhood education theories, techniques, and skills. The student-teachers explore ways to build relationships with diverse families, connect families with community resources, and use content knowledge of the aesthetic, cognitive, social/emotional, and physical developmental domains to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful curriculum. Biblical perspectives are integrated throughout the course.
This course provides students the opportunity to integrate theories of child development, a Biblical worldview of young children, and principles of effective practice as a culmination of learning at the bachelor's degree level. Students engage in field experience through the implementation of a project that exhibits an integration of faith and learning. The project demonstrates an application of students' knowledge of Biblically-based early childhood education to their practice. An analysis and evaluation of the students' educational experiences across the curriculum is reviewed. Students create a comprehensive portfolio comprised of their work samples and reflections, which demonstrates their competence and achievement of Program Learning Outcomes. The next steps in professional development are discussed and a plan for further growth as a professional in the early education field is developed.