Program Overview

This major is designed primarily for students transferring from a Minnesota State institution with a child development diploma or AA, AS, or AAS degree programs who are seeking baccalaureate degrees in early childhood studies. Many students will be seeking career enhancements in the child development field. Courses are also open to non-majors.

It is expected that all students receiving a BAS degree with a major in early childhood studies will develop knowledge and skills at the upper-division level related to:

  • child development and learning;
  • early childhood curriculum development and implementation;
  • family and community relationships;
  • assessment and evaluation of young children;
  • professional and ethical issues in early childhood; and
  • application of knowledge and skills within the context of an urban early childhood setting.

More information about this program

Declare Your Program

To be eligible for acceptance to the Early Childhood Studies major, students must submit a College of Health, Community and Professional Studies Undergraduate Program Declaration Form. Consult with an advisor before enrolling in courses toward the major.

Declare Your Program button

Requirements

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

All students are expected to have at least 120 credits to graduate with a degree in early childhood studies. In addition to the major requirements, students must complete the university's general education and liberal studies requirements.

How Admissions Works

We are looking forward to you joining us. Take the first step by filling out this application.
Course List

Prerequisites

Prerequisites

  • PSYC 100 General Psychology
    4 credits

    This course introduces students to scientific and applied psychology, and suggests its application to everyday life. The course familiarizes students with concepts, principles, research methods and theories of psychology.

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Requirements ( 120 total credits)

Required Courses

  • One of the following classes is required:
    • PSYC 308 Child Psychology
      4 credits

      This course provides an overview of the science of child psychology. Major theories and research related to a child's perceptual, motor, emotional, social and cognitive development are reviewed, and their practical applications are explored. Overlap: PSYC 308T Child Psychology Theory Seminar.

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    • PSYC 308T Child Psychology Theory Seminar
      4 credits

      This seminar, for parents, teachers, community volunteers and others who have worked extensively with children, explores theories that have contributed to the process of developing normal, healthy children. The information targets emotional rather than physical health. Lectures and discussion relate specific theories of Erik Erickson, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, B.F. Skinner and others to examples of children's behavior and parental responses. Prerequisite: Obtain and complete diagnostic test/or essay from the Teaching Center. Overlap: PSYC 308 Child Psychology and Psyc 102 Dynamics of Parent Child Relationships.

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  • PSYC 356 Early Childhood Development within a Social/Cultural and Historical Context
    4 credits

    This course explores the social, cultural, and historical contexts which impact child development. Students learn how children have been perceived during historical periods as well as the roles that children play in a variety of cultures. Emphasis is on racism, classism, sexism, ethnocentrism, ableism and heterosexism. Strategies for reducing the negative impact on children's lives and promoting healthy development of children within the social-political context are explored. The roles of parents, family and the community are considered as they relate to current policies affecting the needs of young children.

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  • PSYC 357 Observing and Assessing Young Children: Birth Through Age Five
    2 credits

    This course is an introduction to formal and informal assessment strategies and their application to work with young children. The emphasis is on observing, recording and using authentic performance-based assessment, communicating assessment results to colleagues and parents, and applying assessment data to curriculum planning.

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  • PSYC 359 Positive Behavior Guidance
    2 credits

    This course addresses the developmentally appropriate strategies to support learning of socially appropriate classroom behaviors for young children. Strategies examined for the course support social development, personal values and citizenship. The developmental and philosophical rationale for selection of behavior guidance strategies and practices are the foundational focus of the course. Students address the differences between discipline, classroom management and positive behavior guidance with particular focus on the cultural and contextual experiences of children in urban communities.

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  • EDU 321 Urban Infant-Toddler Curriculum and Practicum
    4 credits

    Developmentally appropriate curriculum, materials, and environmental design for infants and toddlers are the focus of this course. Students will review infant and toddler development and connect development to the practices used to design programs for infants and toddlers in urban early childhood settings. The importance of integrating the values, language, and cultural practices of the child's family into the daily curriculum will be a topic. The course will focus on strategies for communication with urban families and the current issues around infant and toddler care. Students will consider the appropriate practices for a program serving infants and toddlers in a diverse urban community. This course requires a practicum designed to provide urban field experiences for students to practice meeting the individual developmental needs of infants and toddlers. Using the basic strategies and techniques of child study, the student will learn to critically observe and assess the general developmental levels and learning needs of two urban children (one infant and one toddler) and report their findings. The student will spend at least five hours observing and minimally interacting with each of the two children in a diverse urban setting, using knowledge gained from textbook readings and class discussion.

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  • PSYC 415 Principles of Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood
    4 credits

    This course examines principles of teaching that can be derived from psychological theories and research, including behavioral, cognitive and social cognitive theories. Students plan and implement appropriate instructional practices based on knowledge of individual children, home culture, the urban community, curriculum goals and content.

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  • PSYC 416 Comparative Study of Early Childhood Program Models
    4 credits

    This course focuses on a comparative study of traditional, current and culturally-based program models designed for children from birth through eight years of age. Students are introduced to early childhood program models including Reggio Emilia, Head Start, Montessori, cognitively-oriented preschools (High Scope), behavioral approaches to learning (Portage, Distar),even start, early childhood family education, and school readiness.

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  • PSYC 417 Language and Communication Development in Early Childhood Education
    4 credits

    This course provides students with foundational knowledge of the development of the communication skills in young children from birth through age eight. Topics include: hearing and speaking, speech and language development, vision and visual motor skills, and emergent literacy and small motor skills development. The process of learning more than one language is addressed as well as strategies for working with children for whom English is not the first language. The application of knowledge in the areas of assessment, individualization and referral are addressed and practiced.

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  • PSYC 030 Early Childhood Studies Internship Meetings
    0 credits

    See online class schedule for additional information.

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  • PSYC 350I Psychology Internship
    0 credits

    PSCY Internship

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  • PSYC 420 Early Childhood Studies Capstone: Professionalism and Ethical Issues
    4 credits

    This capstone course is an exploration of the dilemmas facing early childhood professionals today through analysis of historical studies, recent reports and autobiographical reflections. Consideration is given to social policy issues, advocacy, leadership, ethics and organizational change. Students should register for this course in their final university semester.

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Guided Electives ( 3 credits minimum)

  • EDU 331 Physical Development, Health, Nutrition, Effects of Drugs in Birth-Grade 6
    3 credits

    The spectrum of physical and motor development of children from conception to age 8 will be covered in this course. Students will also be introduced to foundations of good nutrition and health maintenance for young children. There will be opportunities to develop nutritional plans for yearly childhood programs that respect cultural and religious diversity. Students will consider health policies for schools and child care centers as well as assess and plan large and small motor activities for groups and individual children. The effects of drugs will be addressed, from the prenatal period through the use of medication to treat behavior and emotional conditions in early childhood.

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  • EDU 361 The Arts in Early Childhood and Elementary Education
    3 credits

    This course will provide the prospective teacher with opportunities to plan and implement developmentally and culturally appropriate activities in the arts for young urban children. The students in this course will be introduced to the basic theories of teaching the visual arts, creative movement, music and creative dramatics within a developmental program for young children. Integration of the arts into the regular daily curriculum of urban early childhood settings will be a major focus of this course. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

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  • EDU 325 Emergent Literacy in Urban Early Childhood Education
    2 credits

    This course will cover the normal development of skills and understandings necessary for a young child to learn to read and write. The individual nature of readiness and the differences in children's approaches to learning to read and write will be a focus of the course. The instructional strategies and materials that constitute a developmentally and culturally appropriate reading and language arts program for young urban children will be presented and used in practice sessions. The important role of multicultural literature in an emergent literacy curriculum for diverse urban children from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and families will be emphasized. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

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  • PSYC 102 Dynamics of Parent/Child Relationships
    3 credits

    This course is designed to increase knowledge of child growth and development and child-rearing principles and techniques. The focus is on parents' roles as facilitators for their children in areas such as achieving a purposeful life, becoming self-reliant and developing communication skills. It includes understanding and meeting the needs of single parents and their children.

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  • PSYC 305 Behavior Disorders in Children
    4 credits

    This course focuses on common behavior and emotional problems of children and youth, with less emphasis on adolescence. Topics include dependency, anxiety, control issues, motivation, aggression and social behavior. The course balances theory and practice related to behavioral disorders with the focus on practical solutions.

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  • PSYC 306 Child Abuse
    4 credits

    This course covers major areas of child maltreatment. Topics include definitions of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect; methods of prevention, intervention and treatment; and community resources.

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  • PSYC 353 Selected Topics in Early Childhood
    0 credits

    The topics covered in the different sections of this course vary from semester to semester. The focus of each section is on young children birth to age five. The purpose of the course is to familiarize students with specific subjects in the field of early childhood. Possible topics include: curriculum approaches such as Montessori or Reggio Emilia, infant-toddler mental health, assessment tools, parent education, or issues in early childhood special education. Students should consult the Class Schedule for the topics featured each semester. Note: This course may be taken four times for credit as long as the topic is different.

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  • PSYC 393 Special Education Overview
    4 credits

    This class focuses on the potential for change and growth for exceptional individuals rather than the limitation imposed by handicapping conditions. It also examines the development of special education for individuals categorized as learning disabled, emotionally, physically or intellectually handicapped, disadvantaged or gifted.

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  • PSYC 425 Administration of Early Childhood Programs
    4 credits

    This course covers the nature of early childhood program administration, decision making and communication, leadership images, human relations, time management, employee motivation and evaluation, planning and organizing, and budgeting. Special attention is paid to the geographic location, ethnic composition and ages of the population being served, legal requirements for centers in Minnesota and other states, philosophies of child care and their impact on curriculum, and staff qualifications.

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Theory Seminar

Metropolitan State is pleased to collaborate with the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children (MnAEYC) by offering theory seminars for a total of 16 university credits leading to the MnAEYC's Director's Credential. The Director's Credential program is a voluntary opportunity for the career advancement and professional development of early childhood center directors and other administrators. Four competence-based theory seminars are offered for individuals who have had experience as an early childhood center director or administrator.

  • PSYC 308T Child Psychology Theory Seminar
    4 credits

    This seminar, for parents, teachers, community volunteers and others who have worked extensively with children, explores theories that have contributed to the process of developing normal, healthy children. The information targets emotional rather than physical health. Lectures and discussion relate specific theories of Erik Erickson, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, B.F. Skinner and others to examples of children's behavior and parental responses. Prerequisite: Obtain and complete diagnostic test/or essay from the Teaching Center. Overlap: PSYC 308 Child Psychology and Psyc 102 Dynamics of Parent Child Relationships.

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  • PSYC 350T Early Childhood Programs: Management Principles and Applications
    4 credits

    This seminar has been developed for individuals who have experience managing early childhood programs. The seminar identifies and evaluates critical success factors leading to effective managerial performance in the roles of planner, decision maker, organizer, leader and motivator. Lecture, discussion and readings examine current management theory and practices and apply them to early childhood programs.

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  • PSYC 351T Early Childhood Programs: Regulatory/Financial/Facility Management
    4 credits

    This theory seminar is designed for administrators of early childhood programs. Students review major historical events and discuss current trends in the development of regulations and standards for early childhood programs including licensing regulations, accreditation standards, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Child Abuse and Neglect Mandated reporter regulations, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, and Child Custody regulations. Students examine the elements of a business plan and budget including accounting, fund-raising and computer application. Students also evaluate the design and maintenance of the physical facility of an early childhood program.

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  • PSYC 352T Early Childhood Programs: Advocacy and Communications
    4 credits

    This theory seminar is designed for teachers, administrators and advocates of early childhood programs. Students explore personal, public policy and private-sector advocacy. The structure of the state and federal government and the role and regulatory processes of the legislative branch are reviewed. Students discuss political activities and nonlegislative opportunities for making public policy at the state and local levels including organizing a grassroots network. Students identify organizational resources and explore various means of communication including tips for communicating with legislators and using the media effectively.

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