Education at Aquinas College

Early Childhood Education Major

Core requirements (37 Credits):


  • EN207/EN507 Human Growth and Schooling (3)

    Offered fall and spring semesters. The content of this course includes (a) theories of human development and learning according to, for example, Skinner, Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg, Goleman, Vygotsky, and brain development theorists, (b) preliminary applications of these theories in human contexts, especially classrooms, (c) beginnings of strategies for classroom instruction based on these theories, and (d) parent involvement to promote student learning at home. Field component: Variable; minimum of two (2) class observations.

  • EN320/620 Infant and Toddler Education (3)

    Offered fall semester. Restrictions: Early Childhood majors/minors only. Not an education method elective. Infant and Toddler Education is an in-depth study of planning and providing developmentally appropriate programs for infants and toddlers. The following issues are addressed: child development research for children from birth to age three; interactions between children and caregivers in a group setting; evaluation of learning materials; planning for emotional, social, intellectual and physical growth; communication between staff and parents; the environment as teacher; and licensing requirements. Emphasis is placed on relationships and the role of the family. Current issues in infant and toddler development with emphasis on brain development and infant mental health are explored. Active observation and participation in infant and toddler programs are required. Prerequisites: EN 201/501 or Michigan Teaching Certificate, EN 207/507, EN 345/545. Field component: twenty (20) hours of developmental study of young children in an approved (accredited or four-star rating) infant/toddler setting.

  • EN321/EN521 Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Education (3)

    Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Education focuses on content and methods for planning and implementing developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant activities and environments designed to enhance children’s physical, social emotional, language, cognitive, and aesthetic development; awareness of various forms of discrimination and identification of bias in materials; and application of methods that foster respect and appreciation for cultural and linguistic diversity. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, an emergent negotiated curriculum process, promotion of meaningful family and community relationships and inclusion of children with special rights are addressed. Field Component: Observations in two (2) early childhood classroom. Prerequisites: EN 201/501, EN 207/507, EN345/545.

  • EN322 Emergent Literacy (3)

    Offered spring semesters. Restrictions: requirement for LD major, language arts, ESL and early childhood education endorsements. This course is not an education method elective. Foundations of language and literacy development beginning in infancy to grade 3, concluding with reading and writing activities with an emphasis on the “hundred languages of children”; special attention is given to symbolic representations, cultural differences and the learning environment. The importance of parental involvement, integrated and balanced curriculum in early childhood classroom is addressed. Prerequisites: EN201/501 or Michigan Teaching Certificate, EN207/507. Field component: twenty (20) hours in a literacy-rich environment.

  • EN324/EN524 Current Issues in Early Childhood Education (1)

    Restrictions: Must be taken concurrently with EN491/691. This course will focus on the identification and analysis of current issues in the early childhood field. The analysis will include critical examination of efforts to deal with these issues. Knowledge gained through this course will help prepare teachers to manage these issues as well as any which arise in the context of the teaching profession. Every year this course will cover five current issues in early childhood education in the following: 1) research and theory regarding early care and learning environments for all children 2) family and community characteristics, 3) key public policy and its impact on young children and their families; 4) the new world of early childhood education, and 5) New “Best practice” in meeting the special needs of young children. Prerequisite: All early childhood courses.

  • EN327 Assessment Technology in Early Childhood Education (3)

    Offered spring semesters. Required for early childhood education majors and minors. This course covers assessment theory and best practices and provides students the opportunity to practice conducting assessments and to develop action/lesson plans based on assessment data findings. Technology tools such as web-based, digital portfolios and Teaching Strategies Gold will be utilized to complete assignments. Intermediate spreadsheet and word processing skills are required. Prerequisite: EN201/EN501 or Michigan Teaching Certificate or EN345/EN545.

  • EN345/EN545 Foundations of Early Childhood Education (3)

    Offered fall semester. Foundations in Early Childhood Education provides an overview of historical, philosophical, psychological, educational, and contemporary influences on the field of early childhood education. Students explore a)historical antecedents and current research in early childhood education b)development of primary models of curriculum and pedagogy c)critical aspects of young children's development and the creation of learning opportunities in the classroom d)developmentally appropriate practice and its application across different developmental levels e)issues in developing and implementing high quality early childhood education including the importance of family, culture, and community f)needs of diverse learners g)the role of assessment in early learning; and h)approaches that support children's emotional and social well-being as essential components of the learning process. Field component: ten (10) hours observation. Prerequisites: EN 201/501 or Michigan Teaching Certificate, EN 207/507.

  • EN421/EN621 Early Childhood Administration (3)

    Offered spring semester. Restrictions: Early Childhood majors/minors only. Not an education method elective. This course focuses on leadership, organizational issues and principles of early childhood program management with emphasis on collaborative systems of management. Planning developmentally appropriate environments, parent involvement, selecting and using authentic program assessment, documentation, advocacy, staff development, record keeping and finance management are also explored. Current issues, problems, staff and family relationship as it relate to running a quality program are addressed as well. Field component: ten(10) hours in a NAEYC Accredited setting Prerequisite: EN201/501 or Michigan Teaching Certificate, EN207/507, All ECE courses before EN 491/691.

  • EN431/EN531 Exploring of the Reggio Emilia Approach (3)

    Exploring of the Reggio Emilia Approach (3) Offered fall semesters. Restrictions: required for early childhood minors. This course is an introduction and overview of the Reggio Emilia Approach that highlights fundamental principles regarding curriculum, child development, adult and child interactions, the environment as an educational value, and the theories and philosophy that are the foundation of this way of working. Discussion of these elements and how they may be used as a guide in exploring and adapting the Reggio Approach within the context of this culture are also tied to state curriculum objectives for educators and other guidelines such as NAEYC for children. Prerequisite: EN201/EN501 or Michigan Teaching Certificate and EN207/EN507. Field component: ten (10) hours.

  • EN445/EN645 Early Intervention (3)

    Offered spring semester. This course offers the candidate an opportunity to know about and to understand early childhood students who are at risk for development delays or with established conditions. An exploration of etiology and developmental characteristics of young children with exceptional needs frames the study. Candidates will gain a foundation upon which they can build the skills to understand, analyze and reflect upon best practices and use/apply sound professional strategies to assist young children. Emphasis shall be placed on the ability to instruct and adapt instruction for children at risk for optimal development. This course will also focus on the tools of assessment and methods of referral for young children with disabilities, with an emphasis on the goals and benefits of assessment. IFSP, IEP, early intervention and legal issues surrounding these topics will be featured. Prerequisite: EN320/620 or EN464/564. Field component: twenty (20) hours in an approved site.

  • EN461/EN579 Inclusion I (3)

    Offered fall and spring semesters. Inclusive education begins with the philosophy behind education and the emergence of an inclusive educational approach to students with disabilities in the general education classroom. Appropriate instructional objectives will be examined that fit children and adolescents in an inclusive educational setting. Adaptations to the general education curriculum will be assessed and matched with the academic, social/emotional, physical and behavioral needs of the child or adolescent. The maintenance of conditions and strategies for suitable instruction will be linked to the learning goals of the individual student. The ability of the general education teacher to function as a member of the IEP team will be stressed in light of other important relationships such as those with parents, paraeducators and other teachers. Prerequisite: EN201/501 or Michigan Teaching Certificate, may take during the same semester as EN201/501. Field component: minimum of two (2) hours.

  • EN466/EN566 Classroom Management (3)

    Offered fall and spring semesters. This course is designed to provide teacher candidates with the tools, strategies, and theories to successfully manage K-12 classrooms. Participants will learn to create collaborative classroom communities that intertwine with effective teaching and academic success through course activities that are linked to observations in K-12 classrooms. Participants learn how to create both student- oriented conflict management systems based on concepts of social justice, and positive support plans for students with specific behavioral needs. Participants then connect concepts of effective, engaging lesson and curriculum planning to create a holistic successful classroom management philosophy. Prerequisite: EN201/501. Field Component: fifteen (15) hours. Prerequisite: EN201/EN501 or Michigan Teaching Certificate. Field Component: 15 hours

  • EN491/EN691 Early Childhood Education Practicum (3)

    Offered fall and spring semesters. Required of all Early Childhood major/minor candidates. Not an education method elective. The Early Childhood Practicum is a (160 hours) supervised and evaluated teaching experience in a pre-primary setting. Principles of learning and interaction are practiced in a developmentally appropriate early childhood program. The practicum experience is designed to give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skill in working with young children at increasing levels of interaction. Students are responsible for a full range of teaching and caregiving duties including observing, documenting, assessing and planning for projects inspired by the interests and developmental level of the children, and in collaboration with other adults in the field setting. Prerequisite: EN201/501 or Michigan Teaching Certificate, all early childhood requirements and School of Education approval. This course should be taken just before Student Teaching. Field component: 160 hours