Apply Request info.

B.A. Early Childhood online

credits:  32 credits (minimum) | cost/credit:  $310 | completion: As few as  2 years 

Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Prepare for career opportunities in early childhood settings by completing your bachelor's degree online. Through Northwestern’s Bachelors of Arts in Early Childhood (BA EC) program, you will gain knowledge in child development, assessment, behavior and current policy and be prepared to create meaningful learning experiences for every young child.

The BA EC program will qualify you for early childhood education roles (including paraprofessional and lead teacher positions) in a variety of settings, including:

  • Head start programs
  • Child care centers
  • Child development Homes
  • Infant/toddler and preschool programs
  • Before- and after-school early childhood programs (birth through age 8)
  • State and education agencies (AEAs, IAAEYC)

Teaching children is rewarding work in itself, but educators with an early childhood degree are also highly employable. Research confirms that teachers with more education offer higher quality programs with more positive child outcomes. Northwestern's affordable bachelor's degree program will provide opportunities for employment, job changes and promotion.

Incoming students must have an associate's degree (AA or AS) or higher and may easily transfer previously earned credits toward the early childhood bachelor's degree. The online BA EC program does not lead to a teaching license. You may be eligible for partial to full tuition coverage by federal and state scholarship programs.

 

Apply today

Program Requirements

Students in the BA EC program will complete the early childhood core courses (32 credits) and meet requirements for Northwestern's undergraduate education core either through the transfer of equivalent course credits from another institution or by taking such courses online at Northwestern. Practicum experience and clinical practice are tailored to your schedule and may be partially completed in your own early childhood workplace.

Early Childhood Core Courses (32 credits):

ECE 305 - Child Observation and Assessment
In this course, participants will learn how to implement a system of ongoing child assessment that is systematic, comprehensive and feasible in order to make sure that children make the progress necessary to be ready for kindergarten. Participants will first understand the importance of and strategies for planning and preparing for an effective system of ongoing child assessment. Participants will learn about and practice using four methods of effective ongoing assessment to inform their teaching and improve children's learning. This course will also provide information and implementation opportunities for individualizing ongoing assessment strategies for children who are dual language learners and children with special needs. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
In this course, participants will learn how to implement a system of ongoing child assessment that is systematic, comprehensive and feasible in order to make sure that children make the progress necessary to be ready for kindergarten. Participants will first understand the importance of and strategies for planning and preparing for an effective system of ongoing child assessment. Participants will learn about and practice using four methods of effective ongoing assessment to inform their teaching and improve children's learning. This course will also provide information and implementation opportunities for individualizing ongoing assessment strategies for children who are dual language learners and children with special needs. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
ECE 310 - Resiliency and Wellness for Educators
The purpose of this course is to teach you how to be a resilient educator. Resilience is the ability to survive and thrive. It is not only about your ability to positively adapt in the face of adverse or challenging circumstances (that is, survive), but it is also about learning the positive skills, strategies, and routines that enable you to live a happy, fulfilling, and successful life (in other words, thrive). This course will help give you the permission to take care of yourself in order to optimize your effectiveness as an early childhood educator. This captures the notion of teaching from the inside out-a phrase that highlights the importance of promoting core resilience skills, strategies, and routines among early childhood educators. In turn, resilient educators are more capable of creating and maintaining nurturing, supportive, and effective learning environments while optimizing their own well-being and love of the profession. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
The purpose of this course is to teach you how to be a resilient educator. Resilience is the ability to survive and thrive. It is not only about your ability to positively adapt in the face of adverse or challenging circumstances (that is, survive), but it is also about learning the positive skills, strategies, and routines that enable you to live a happy, fulfilling, and successful life (in other words, thrive). This course will help give you the permission to take care of yourself in order to optimize your effectiveness as an early childhood educator. This captures the notion of teaching from the inside out-a phrase that highlights the importance of promoting core resilience skills, strategies, and routines among early childhood educators. In turn, resilient educators are more capable of creating and maintaining nurturing, supportive, and effective learning environments while optimizing their own well-being and love of the profession. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
ECE 320 - Positive Behavioral Support for Young Children
This course utilizes evidence-based strategies for promoting social and emotional development and preventing and addressing challenging behaviors in preschool-aged children. Through course readings, discussions, activities, and related experiences, participants will learn about a variety of these research-based practices. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
This course utilizes evidence-based strategies for promoting social and emotional development and preventing and addressing challenging behaviors in preschool-aged children. Through course readings, discussions, activities, and related experiences, participants will learn about a variety of these research-based practices. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
ECE 330 - Supporting Language and Literacy Development in Preschool
This course is designed with two key learning objectives in mind. First, this course will increase learners' knowledge about how children's language and literacy skills develop between ages 3 to 5 and the ways in which these skills lay a foundation for later reading success. Second, learners will be introduced to key practices that promote explicit and systematic instruction. Learners will also participate in field-based assignments where they apply this learning in their own settings. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
This course is designed with two key learning objectives in mind. First, this course will increase learners' knowledge about how children's language and literacy skills develop between ages 3 to 5 and the ways in which these skills lay a foundation for later reading success. Second, learners will be introduced to key practices that promote explicit and systematic instruction. Learners will also participate in field-based assignments where they apply this learning in their own settings. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
ECE 400 - Supporting Dual Language Learners
This course focuses on the language, reading, writing, and communication development of children who are dual language learners (DLLs), ages birth-to-five years. Connections are made between assessment and instruction that promote early language and literacy learning for children who are DLLs. Emphasis throughout the course is placed on fostering language and literacy learning by building on the family and community connections of young children who are DLLs. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
This course focuses on the language, reading, writing, and communication development of children who are dual language learners (DLLs), ages birth-to-five years. Connections are made between assessment and instruction that promote early language and literacy learning for children who are DLLs. Emphasis throughout the course is placed on fostering language and literacy learning by building on the family and community connections of young children who are DLLs. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
ECE 420 - Engaging Interactions and Environments
This course will increase learners' skill in creating effective classroom environments and interactions by providing rich opportunities to learn about and see examples from other classrooms. Learners will also complete field-based assignments where they apply this learning in their own settings and receive feedback focused on ensuring they can enact the practices they are learning about. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
This course will increase learners' skill in creating effective classroom environments and interactions by providing rich opportunities to learn about and see examples from other classrooms. Learners will also complete field-based assignments where they apply this learning in their own settings and receive feedback focused on ensuring they can enact the practices they are learning about. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
ECE 425WI - Children’s Health and Well-Being
This course explores topics related to health and well-being and focuses on teaching practices, classroom activities, partnerships with families, and program policies to ensure that all children are healthy and ready to learn. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits) (Writing intensive)
This course explores topics related to health and well-being and focuses on teaching practices, classroom activities, partnerships with families, and program policies to ensure that all children are healthy and ready to learn. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits) (Writing intensive)
ECE 430 - Learning with Digital Media in Early Childhood
Although infants and very young children do not learn from digital media such as television and media, there is evidence that preschool-aged children can. Young children can learn basic literacy skills, mathematics skills, and develop interest in science from engaging with digital media. Instructional practices can enhance learning from media. Specifically, young children's learning is enhanced when adults co-view or co-engage with young children in ways that foster sustained attention to aspects of media that are intended to promote learning. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)
Although infants and very young children do not learn from digital media such as television and media, there is evidence that preschool-aged children can. Young children can learn basic literacy skills, mathematics skills, and develop interest in science from engaging with digital media. Instructional practices can enhance learning from media. Specifically, young children's learning is enhanced when adults co-view or co-engage with young children in ways that foster sustained attention to aspects of media that are intended to promote learning. Prerequisite: Admission into the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood program. (4 credits)

General Education Core Courses (33-39  credits): 
Accepted as transfer credits or taken online at Northwestern

Online students may have already completed the majority of general education course requirements. A Northwestern enrollment counselor is ready to evaluate your transcripts to determine your remaining courses. Contact an enrollment counselor to see how your courses will transfer.

Our Early Childhood B.A. curriculum was developed in concert with the Professional Preparation Standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Northwestern College is fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).                                    

Financial Aid

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship

Educators pursuing a bachelor’s in early childhood may be eligible for a T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship. The scholarship program provides the early childhood workforce with educational opportunities. This comprehensive scholarship includes a significant portion of tuition and book costs, travel/Internet stipends, and paid time away from work. The majority of your bachelor’s degree could be funded through this program.   For information or to apply, visit the  T.E.A.C.H. website.

Child Care WAGE$ Program

Child Care WAGE$ ® IOWA (WAGE$) is a salary supplement program offered by Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC). As with T.E.A.C.H. IOWA, WAGE$ is a licensed program of the Child Care Services Association. WAGE$ offers salary supplements (also called stipends) to the early care and education workforce, based on an individual's level of formal education and commitment to a program. With a bachelor's degree in early childhood, you may qualify for a higher WAGE$ level ($2900 annually compared to $1800 with an associate's degree). For more information visit the  WAGE$ website. View the  map of qualifying Iowa counties to be eligible for this program. 

FAFSA

Students in online programs may be eligible for federal and/or state financial aid. To determine your eligibility and award amount:

  1. Complete your  FAFSA online using Northwestern's institutional code: 001883
  2. Upon acceptance into an online program, you will complete Northwestern's financial aid request form, and our financial aid specialist will help you with your financial plan. 
Top