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Early Childhood Education

Overview Degrees/Certificates Courses Faculty


A woman sitting with small children

The earliest years of life are critical to building a foundation for lifelong learning. Young children need settings in which they can learn and explore in a nurturing and educationally rich environment, with teachers who understand how to foster their social, emotional and cognitive development. If you want to become an early childhood educator and create quality educational programs for young children, then welcome to the American River College (ARC) Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program.

How to Prepare for a Career in Early Childhood Education

Course offerings in ARC's ECE program align closely with California Community Care Licensing regulations and the requirements for the Child Development Permit granted by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Courses also align with Child Development and Early Childhood Education majors offered by several California State Universities. The number of units/degrees required to work with young children vary by place of employment.

The Associate in Arts (AA) and Associate in Sciences for Transfer (AS-T) degrees at ARC combine a background in the science of child development and theories of learning, as well as hands-on experience working with children.

ARC ECE alumni are currently working throughout California in early childhood education settings including family child care, Head Start, state preschool programs, and public elementary schools. We are proud of our former students, many of whom return after completing their degrees to take classes for professional development or as preparation to become site supervisors and program directors.

What to Expect as a Student in the Early Childhood Education Program

The ECE department strives to bring innovative research-based, current information and knowledge to students. The department believes in the importance of promoting an anti-bias, engaging, intellectually challenging, and creative learning environment. Reflective practices and opportunities to practice critical thinking skills are woven into all coursework. Emphasis is placed on developing professional and ethical dispositions that foster positive relationships among children, families, and colleagues. Additionally, students are immersed in practices inclusive of all children; including children who are culturally and linguistically diverse and children with disabilities.

After you complete the required course work for a certificate, you will need to petition for the certificate.

Check Out Degree Planner

If you're interested in a transfer degree (AA-T or AS-T), then check out Degree Planner, a tool that helps you complete your degree efficiently by mapping out what courses to take and when to take them.

Degree Planner

Child Development Permits

Learn about applying for a Child Development Permit after you've completed your ECE program.

Permit Process

Child Development Center

ARC's Child Development Center provides education and care for young children and a laboratory for students preparing to become teachers in the field of early childhood education.

Child Development Center