Curriculum

Bachelors Degree - Early Care and Education

Pre-Practicum I Courses

These courses must be successfully completed before enrolling in Practicum I. 

This course focuses on development from birth to age three. It covers major theories and research about development including growth patterns, influences of disabilities and risk factors, environmental factors and their effects on attachment styles, language acquisition, brain development, cognitive development, social-emotional development, and perceptual and sensory motor skills.
This course focuses on development from ages four through eight. It covers major theories and research about development including growth patterns, influences of disabilities and risk factors, environmental factors and their effects on attachment styles, language acquisition, brain development, cognitive development, social-emotional development, and perceptual and sensory motor skills.
This course explores the role of a professional as a teacher, administrator, or advocate in early childhood programming. Students learn about professionalism and ethics, identifying child abuse, and applying universal precautions. Additional topics are qualities of the early childhood educator, program models, working with children, and working with professional colleagues. During this course, students will meet with the Practicum Coordinator and begin preparations for the practicum experiences.

Practicum I

Pre-Practicum I courses must be completed before enrolling in Practicum I.  Students enroll in practica through their home university.  A waiver for Practicum 1 is available for students with qualifying experiences.  Contact Dr. Linda Sheeran to learn more.

Practicum I is an opportunity for university students to have a guided learning experience in a professional agency that provides services to children and families. Experiences and projects at the practicum site provide practicum students with opportunity to use and implement theories and practices learned in other ECEMS classes. Topics of this practicum include professionalism, development of the classroom environment, use of observation and assessment strategies, communication with respect for children, confidentiality for children and families, and guidance strategies for social and emotional development. NOTE: This course can only be taken after the successful completion of pre-Practicum I courses. Students enroll in Practicum I through their home university. This course has 120 contact hours, or approximately 8-10 hours of work per week. OPTION: Practicum I Waiver A Practicum I waiver is available for consideration for paid lead teachers, instructional assistants, and paraprofessionals who have had one or more years of experience in an early childhood setting in the last three years. A student completes the Great Plains IDEA ECEMS Petition to Waive Practicum I and returns it to the GP IDEA Practicum Coordinator at least eight weeks prior to the semester in which Practicum I is to be completed. The decision regarding each request is based on the supporting documentation and is made by a committee of faculty members and must have the approval of the home university academic advisor. If the Practicum I waiver is approved, the student will need to substitute 3 credit hours or transfer in an additional 3 hours of course work.

Pre-Practicum II Courses

Pre-Practicum I courses and Practicum I must be completed prior to enrollment in Pre-Practicum II courses. Pre-Practicum II courses must be completed before Practicum II. 

In this course, university students (1) learn and use assessment and documentation to inform curriculum, (2) plan and evaluate developmentally appropriate activities, and (3) learn about effective ways to share curriculum information with families. This course addresses all areas of developmental domains and content areas. The course includes issues related to diversity in family composition, culture, and individual abilities.
In this course, university students (1) learn and use assessment and documentation to inform curriculum, (2) plan and evaluate developmentally appropriate activities, and (3) learn about effective ways to share curriculum information with families. This course addresses all areas of developmental domains and content areas. The course includes issues related to diversity in family composition, culture, and individual abilities.
In this course, university students learn to select, evaluate, and use appropriate assessment tools for children birth to age 8. Students use assessment data to inform decisions about teaching environments and practice and intervention. Topics also include ethical use of assessments, validity of assessments, multicultural sensitivity, and assessments for children with special needs.
This course focuses on disability conditions, assessment and identification, interventions in inclusive environments, and collaborations among family members and service providers.
This course provides university students with a working knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice in child guidance. This is accomplished through review of current guidance methods and programs to familiarize students with successful guidance techniques. By the end of this course, students develop their own approach to guidance based upon practices best suited to their own unique skills and strengths.

Practicum II

Pre-Practicum II courses must be successfully completed prior to enrollment in Practicum II. Students enroll in practica through their home university. 

Practicum II is an opportunity for practicum students to have a guided learning experience in a professional agency that provides services to children and families. Experiences and projects at the practicum site provide practicum students with opportunity to use and implement theories and practices learned in other ECEMS classes. Topics of this practicum include assessment of the early childhood classroom, assessment of child development, and use of assessment data to plan classroom curriculum. NOTE: This course can only be taken after the successful completion of Practicum I and pre-Practicum II courses. Students enroll in Practicum II through their home university. This course has 120 contact hours, or approximately 8-10 hours of work per week.

Professional Development Courses

These required courses may be completed anytime during the program.  Practicum I and Pre-Practicum II courses must be completed before enrolling in Administration & Supervision in Early Childhood Settings.

This course covers issues surrounding the administration of early childhood programs including identification of community needs, analysis of business opportunities, the evaluation and appropriate use of space and quality programming, consideration of policy and legal responsibilities, and professionalism in the field. In addition, students in this course explore best practices in staff selection, training, coaching, and supervision.
This course examines important elements for planning, promoting and maintaining healthy and safe learning/care environments. It incorporates topics of understanding childhood illnesses, healthy lifestyles, first aid, and care providers maintaining their own health. Course content also includes maintaining safe relationships with others and identifying and reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children. Additional content is exploration of nutrients for life and feeding, food preparation and food safety, food allergies and intolerances, and appropriate feeding practices.
The course focus is on how electronic technology impacts development of young children in educational, home, and community environments and how technology can be used to enhance teaching and learning. Students learn to be critical thinkers and informed consumers of technology related to young children.
This course is an opportunity for university students to explore cultural diversity in daily life and beliefs in families with young children. The focus is on U.S. families with attention to the multiple cultures from which they come.
In this course, university students study and apply an ecological model to the understanding of variation in parental roles, perspectives, relationships, approaches, and challenges. Students develop knowledge and skills to connect successfully with and maintain relationships with a diverse group of families through multiple venues.

Practicum III: Capstone Experience

This course must be completed after the successful completion of all other ECEMS courses.  Students enroll in practica through their home university.  Check with your academic advisor for more information.

This teaching practicum is a 15-week experience in which the university student demonstrates practical application of developmentally appropriate early childhood teaching techniques. Throughout the course, the university student gains feedback for development as a teacher. Practicum students are involved in observation and evaluation of classroom experiences, environmental design, classroom management, and parent communication. This course has 300 contact hours. OPTION: Practicum III can be split into two semesters of 150 hours per semester. The spit must be made in the same center or school, with the same cooperating teacher, at the same level and with the same group of children. If this cannot be put in place by ECEMS and the center or school, a student will not be allowed to split the hours over two semesters. To split hours, a student will need to contact the GP IDEA Practicum Coordinator at least eight weeks prior to the semester a student plans to begin Practicum III.
Program Summary
Cost per credit hour:

2020-2021: $420
2021-2022: $420

Average time to complete: 33 months

51 Hours

University Contact
These campus coordinators can help you navigate Great Plains IDEA. Click on the university name to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works at that campus. Katie Mott
Meagan Rau
Karla Sisco
Aimee Maher
Tristin Campbell
Janice Clawson
Kaelie Kellner
University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

– – Jacy Phillips, Early Care & Education for a Mobile Society Graduate
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