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Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education

Prepare Young Children for a Lifetime of Discovery

When children are young, they live in a world of discovery, where learning is fun and everything they experience is an unfolding adventure. When they are well nurtured and trained, they retain this love of learning throughout life. The Early Childhood Education Program at St. Catharine College in Kentucky is devoted to graduating teachers who will give children good memories along with a strong foundation and a lifelong thirst for learning.

Early Childhood Education at St. Catharine is a two-year, field-based program that includes a 10-12 week internship with teaching responsibilities in a preschool classroom. From the very start, students engage with children ages three to four years who are enrolled in the Head Start Program on campus. Through their studies and projects, students build a portfolio of activities and materials that will become valuable resources to use throughout their careers working with children. Students also observe in other types of preschool classrooms including Montessori schools, public school preschools, Catholic preschools and privately-owned preschool facilities.  Participants learn to develop lesson plans that adhere to the Early Childhood Core Content standards provided by the State of Kentucky.  By graduation, students are ready to capably and confidently introduce children to the wonders of their world.

Certificate Program

In addition to the 2-year (65 credit hour) AAS program, there is a one-year certificate program that requires 30 college credit hours to complete.

Special Program Highlights and Features:

  • Classes are kept small to allow extensive student participation and interaction with instructors.
  • The program is field-based and gets students into the preschool classroom to observe and begin working with children from the first week.
  • Students build a portfolio of activities and learning materials that will be resources they will use throughout their careers.
  • Students work extensively with children in the campus Head Start program, but also observe and gain experience at a wide variety of different types of preschools including Montessori, privately-owned facilities, Catholic preschools and public preschools.
  • Instructors videotape students teaching children to allow self-critique and rapid personal improvement.
  • Planning lessons for science, math, music and other subjects is part of the curriculum, as is learning to bring stories alive for children through expressive reading techniques.
  • Students undertake a 10-12 week internship of teaching the morning session in a local preschool.

Interesting Courses You Might Take

Classroom Management: Positive Discipline in the Classroom – This course is designed to teach future educators how to implement discipline techniques that are respectful of both the student and the teacher. Children/students are empowered to use class meetings to solve problems, learn conflict resolution techniques, and establish class rules and responsibilities. The teacher strives to provide a sense of belonging and significance for each student. Family education in this approach to discipline is also advocated.

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education – An overview of child-care issues involving the group care of young children, ages birth through pre-school years. Teacher skills stress providing an inclusive learning environment, developing positive relationships with young children and their families and encouraging the development of the young child‘s physical, social, cognitive, emotional, creative and pro-social skills.

Children’s Literature P-5  – An introduction to a wide range of literature for children with emphasis on the selection and use of books for instruction and enjoyment in the early elementary classroom. This class will also encourage students to become storytellers as they incorporate hands-on learning to support the literacy experience. Knowledge of how good literature is worthwhile and teaching across the curriculum is stressed as well.

Meet the Instructors

The Early Childhood Education program includes instructors with a broad range of experience. The program chair has owned a licensed nursery, served as an educational director for Head Start, taught kindergarten and been a classroom teacher. Others within the program have served as classroom teachers and reading specialists. There is also an instructor who is a specialist in working with special needs children. Though their experience is varied, all share a love of the classroom and enjoy preparing college students to fan the fires of discovery in young children.

Career Outlook for Major

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities within early childhood education are expected to grow 25 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the average across all occupations.

What Students Say

"I attended CDA classes through Head Start with you in 1996.  I don't really think you'll remember me.  But, I just wanted you to know that you touched my life.  You planted a seed that grew into the love of teaching.  I taught preschool with Head Start for four years.  In 2000, I began teaching preschool at Fort Knox.  I am one of only 5, Army Family Covenant trained, "Strong Beginnings" program teachers...I am so proud to say I was one of your students and thank you for the seed you planted in me.  Not only have you made a difference in my life, but also in children for many, many years to come."   Laura Wommack

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