Early Childhood Education

  • Overview
  • Mission
  • Transfer
  • Student Teaching
  • Outcomes

Provides a strong background in early childhood education and liberal arts. The curriculum integrates coursework with hands-on exposure to an innovative and progressive curriculum for young children and direct experience in a variety of early childhood settings. With a dedicated Early Childhood Education Lab classroom and transfer pathway to a bachelor’s degree, GCC is the place to start or advance your career in early childhood education and care!

  • Please note that transfer to many four-year colleges and universities may require the completion of four sequential semesters of World Languages. Transfer specialists recommend using electives to start language requirements at the community college prior to transfer.

    Curriculum documents

    To plan degree completion, see the course descriptions in the academic catalog which specify the planned semester(s) in which required classes are to be scheduled.

  • This is just one way you might complete the Early Childhood Education program in 4 semesters over 2 years of full-time study, or 8 semesters over 4 years of part-time study. (Sample course sequences assume that all pre-requisites have been satisfied and the student is prepared for college-level work.) For a detailed list of required courses, optional electives and program information, download the Early Childhood Education program description from our official academic catalog.

    Course descriptions are also available in the catalog. Find courses

    Sample 2 Year Sequence of Courses
    Fall 1Spring 1Fall 2Spring 2

    ENG Comp. I
    Natural or Physical Science course (3 credits)
    EDU 101
    EDU 103
    EDU 123

    ENG Comp. II
    Natural or Physical Science course (4 credits)
    PSY 101
    EDU 112
    EDU 144

    Humanities or Fine Arts course (3 credits)
    Behavior and Social Science course (3 credits)
    EDU 201
    EDU 215
    ENG 241

    EDU 141
    EDU 216
    MAT 116
    Behavior and Social Science course (3 credits)
    Humanities or Fine Arts course (3 credits)

    Sample 4 Year Sequence of Courses
    Fall 1Spring 1Fall 2Spring 2

    ENG Comp. I
    EDU 101

    ENG Comp. II
    EDU 144

    Humanities or Fine Arts course (3 credits)
    EDU 103
    EDU 123

    ENG 241
    PSY 101

    Fall 3Spring 3Fall 4Spring 4

    Natural or Physical Science course (3 credits)
    Humanities or Fine Arts course (3 credits)
    Behavior and Social Science course (3 credits)

    EDU 141
    Natural or Physical Science course (4 credits)
    EDU 112

    EDU 215
    EDU 201

    EDU 216
    MAT 116
    Behavior and Social Science course (3 credits)

Student learning outcomes

Students completing a course of study in this program will be able to:
  • Appreciate diverse cultural and individual perspectives
    Demonstrate understanding in writing, discussion, and practice of diverse family and community characteristics
  • Solve problems collaboratively
    Use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families.
    Reflect in both writing and discussion upon own practice to promote positive outcomes for each child. 
  • Reason and act ethically
    Uphold ethical standards and other early childhood professional guidelines.
  • Demonstrate civic knowledge and engagement
    Partner with children’s families and communities.
    Create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families.
    Involve all families in their children’s development and learning.
  • Communicate in various modes and media
    Engage in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice both in writing, discussion and practice; using technology effectively with peers and as a professional resource.
  • Use quantitative concepts and processes
    Use observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches, including the use of technology in documentation, assessment and data collection.
  • Locate, evaluate, and use various sources of information
    Identify and involve oneself with the early childhood field
  • Think creatively and critically
    Integrate knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education in writing, discussion, and practice.
  • Apply, integrate, and synthesize learning
    Engage in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession.

Adapted from NAEYC Standards 2, 3, 4, 6 & 7.

Spring 2014 – currently under review

What’s next

Teach and care for children in community-based early childhood settings, working with families and children ages birth, infant-toddler, or pre-school (birth through age 5). This degree prepares students to become eligible for Lead Teacher Certification and prepares students for teaching positions in programs such as: Head Start; Girl’s Club; YMCA; independent state and nationally accredited centers; licensed family day care, etc. To work towards a top-level teaching or leadership position in the field of community-based early education and care, students should plan to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Care. A bachelor’s degree prepares for advancement, leadership, and optimal employment opportunities within the field. Note: This type of bachelor’s degree does not prepare students for public school licensure. It is not necessary to take the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) nor complete a secondary major for this pathway. Several 4-year schools offer bachelor’s programs in early education and care that support a pathway for employment in community-based settings. UMass Amherst University Without Walls (UWW) offers a bachelor’s in Early Care and Education provided fully online.

The Education Department believes in the centrality of and the right to optimum care and education of all young children. The Early Childhood degree serves as a catalyst for change and betterment at each stage of professional development for those who seek to care for and educate infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The department strives to offer current and research-informed preservice as well as ongoing professional development opportunities via face-to-face courses in both the day and evening as well as online.

The Early Childhood Education degree program was designed for seamless transfer to Elms College’s B.S. in Early Care and Education, which you can earn right here at GCC! Learn more about transfer at the Education Department website.

Outcome Measure #1 – Number of Program Completions

Number and percentage of program completers for the three most recent academic years

Academic YearProgram completers% of program completers who were attending full-time (at the time of completion)% of program completers who were attending part-time at the time of completion)
2018-2019425%75%
2017-2018771%29%
2016-2017944%56%

Outcome Measure #2 – Program Completion Rate

Percentage of full-time candidates completing the program within 150% and 200% of the published timeframe (two years)

Academic year in which a fall cohort of full-time candidates enrolled in the program% of those candidates who completed the program in 150% of the published timeframe% of those candidates who completed the program in 200% (twice) of the published timeframe  
2015-201618%18%
2014-201514%29%
2013-20149%27%

Outcome Measure #3 – Retention Rate

Fall-to-fall retention rate in the program for each of the three most recently completed academic years

Academic Year% of total enrollment by part-time candidatesRetention rate among part-time candidates% of total enrollment by full-time candidatesRetention rate among full-time candidates
FA 2017 cohort69%27%31%60%
FA 2016 cohort69%11%31%75%
FA 2015 cohort61%29%39%45%