Online Courses in Early Childhood Education: Distance Learning Options

'Early childhood' refers to the time in human development that spans from birth to age eight. Early childhood education programs cover how to nurture and interact with children as well as how to support their development.

Online Early Childhood Education Courses

The following descriptions are for commonly offered early childhood education courses.

  • Foundations of Early Childhood Education: This introductory class discusses the historical, philosophical and cultural aspects of early childhood education, as well as how various teaching methods and philosophies impact young children. Students learn about their prospective roles as caregivers, counselors or educators working with this age group.
  • Child Development: Lessons in this course navigate how humans are expected to grow during the early stages of life. Topics include motor skills, ethical development, emotional development and methods of promoting healthy growth. Ways to incorporate learning into playing are also discussed.
  • Language Development in Early Childhood: Focus is placed on how children acquire language skills and what can be done to make children more articulate. Concepts of child development are used as underpinnings to emphasize the importance of children being able to communicate well.
  • Child Nutrition: This course covers topics on the nutritional needs of children, such as how to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Lessons also explain what consists of safe foods at various stages of childhood, especially when not all foods can be eaten by infants and toddlers.
  • Child Relations with Family and Society: This course explores methods used to ensure that children integrate well in the world around them and experience a healthy environment at home. Coursework touches upon how community resources can help children reach their potential. Students also learn how to work with families to inform them of how to help their child develop at home.
  • Early Childhood Curriculum: This course addresses the teaching strategies and methods to engage and stimulate young children. Students learn to help pupils acquire and retain a wide variety of skills and subjects. The course also gives students helpful advice on how to manage lesson plans, create a positive learning environment and manage the behavior of young students. This class is typically taken toward the middle or end of an early childhood education program.
  • Early Cognition and Education: This course focuses on the assessment of development and learning in early childhood. The emphasis may be on the preschool or the early elementary school age group. Students will learn how to create a successful learning environment for children of different ages and those with special needs. They will also learn how to evaluate cognitive development. Coursework also typically covers legislation that regulates assessment and testing at the early childhood level.
  • Infant and Toddler Care: Focuses specifically on providing care for children within the first three years of life. Students learn about important developmental milestones, and they explore strategies for working effectively with both individuals and groups of young children.
  • Children with Special Needs: The courses on children with special needs allows aspiring teachers to learn how to provide education for children with physical and mental disabilities. The legal aspects of special needs education are also covered.

Program Information

Individuals searching for online early childhood education classes can find options through community colleges as well as four-year institutions. Students may be able to take courses individually, but some schools could require admission to a formal program before allowing them to enroll in a class. Programs that are available in a distance learning format include certificates as well as Associate in Applied Science, Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science in Early Childhood Education degrees.

Program Admission Requirements

If students decide to pursue admission to an online degree program in this field, they may be required to meet certain academic and experience standards. While associate's programs typically do not require any previous work in the field, online bachelor's and master's degree programs could expect applicants to have earned previous college credits or degrees relevant to early childhood education. Experience working with children in an approved setting may also be a factor in admission decisions, particularly at the graduate level.

Individuals who are interested in providing care and education for young children can find relevant courses in online formats, through both undergraduate- and graduate-level programs.

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