Early Childhood Education Associate in Arts
Designed for both working professionals and full-time students, the Associate in Arts (AA) in Early Childhood Education (ECE) gives students the skills and knowledge necessary for delivering high-quality early care and education for children from birth to age 5 in center-based and home-based settings.
Through small classes, practical field experiences and partnerships with community early childhood programs, the AA ECE program helps students advance their careers, facilitate high-quality care, gain additional real-world experience and join a supportive network of early care and education providers throughout the region.
- Flexible learning: choose fully online courses, hybrid courses with some in-person meeting times during the evenings or weekends, or traditional in-person courses during the day
- At your pace: study part time or complete the program in just four semesters
- Hands-on experience: participate in field experiences at your workplace, on UD’s Children’s Campus or at a setting that works for you
- Dedicated support: gain feedback from peers and UD instructors who will observe your practice and provide feedback through video
- Meaningful connections: foster close relationships with faculty, support staff, classmates and community partners
- Affordable degree: apply for UD financial aid and special tuition support from the state of Delaware exclusively available for AA students
In this program, students complete a minimum of 61 credits. Courses with in-person meetings will take place at UD’s Wilmington campus, located at 1200 N. French Street, Wilmington, DE, 19801. Several courses require field experiences that may be completed at the student’s workplace, on UD’s Children’s Campus, and/or at schools and centers approved by the Office of Clinical Studies within UD’s Center for Excellence and Equity in Teacher Education. Students can complete the degree part-time at their own pace, or students can complete the degree within 4 semesters if attending full-time.
The below courses follow the National Association for the Education of Young Children standards for higher education and draw on resources created by EarlyEDU, a federally funded program designed to meet the needs of the ECE workforce.
General Education Courses and Electives (23 credits)
- First Year Experience: HDFS 100 Introduction to Early Childhood Education (2 credits)
- Creative Arts and Humanities (3 credits)
- ENGL 110 (3 credits)
- History and Cultural Change (3 credits)
- History and Cultural Change or EDUC 258 (3 credits)
- MATH 251 or MATH elective (3 credits)
- Science Elective (3 credits)
- Social and Behavioral Science (3 credits)
Major Requirements (38 credits)
- EDUC 230: Introduction to Exceptional Children (3 credits)
- HDFS 202: Diversity and Families (3 credits)
- HDFS 204 : Engaging Interactions and Environments in Early Childhood (3 credits)
- HDFS 210: Supporting Language and Literacy in Early Childhood (3 credits)
- HDFS 214: Child Guidance: Supporting Positive Behavior in Early Childhood Education (3 credits)
- HDFS 223: Foundations of Child Development (3 credits)
- HDFS 240: Health, Safety and Wellness for Early Childhood Education (2 credits)
- HDFS 242: Resilience and Wellness for Educators (2 credits)
- HDFS 250: Becoming a Teacher Leader in Early Childhood Education (3 credits)
- HDFS 252: Early Childhood Education: Observation and Assessment (3 credits)
- HDFS 280: Supporting Learning in Science and Math in Early Childhood (3 credits)
- HDFS 290: Early Childhood Family Engagement and Diversity (3 credits)
- HDFS 411: Infants/Toddlers Curriculum (3 credits)
- HDFS 431: Field Placement (1 credit)
Total credits: 61
Students interested in the AA program can pursue state and/or UD financial support.
- Delaware residents can apply for funding through the state of Delaware’s SEED (Student Excellence Equals Degree) Scholarship program. SEED Scholarships are funded by the state and cover tuition for eligible full-time students enrolled in UD’s AA programs. For more information about applying for SEED funding, visit UD’s funding webpage for AA students.
- Delaware’s Early Childhood Innovation Center (ECIC) also offers a statewide scholarship and incentive program to support members of the early childhood workforce to attend college. This program provides scholarship support for tuition, technology support through the provision of laptops, as well as financial bonuses for program retention and completion. For more information about this program, visit the ECIC’s funding webpage for AA students.
- If you teach in a Delaware high-needs school and/or a high-needs subject area, you can apply for Delaware’s High Needs Educator Student Loan Payment Program. If eligible, you can receive $1000-$2000 in repayments annually for up to 5 years.
UD also offers need-based financial support for AA students through federal grants and loans. This financial aid can be used to cover tuition or other costs, like textbooks and supplies. For more information on applying for UD financial aid, visit UD’s funding webpage for AA students.
After completing the AA degree, students can transition into UD’s Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Education or Human Services: Early Childhood Development, also housed within the College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. The AA degree courses can be applied to these bachelor’s degrees.
How to Apply
Students apply for the Associate in Arts (AA) degree in Early Childhood Education by completing the following two steps.
- Complete the online application for admission to the University of Delaware
- Indicate their major as the AA degree with an interest in Early Childhood Education (ECE)