Early Childhood Education, Undergraduate Certificate
Department of Teaching and Learning
College of Education
The undergraduate Certificate in Early Childhood Education is offered by the Department of Teaching and Learning.
To receive an undergraduate certificate (at least 15 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.
Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program). See the "Details" tab for additional information.
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.
|Minimum Units for Completion||37|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Required|
|Fieldwork Experience/Internship||Fieldwork Experience/Internship is required.
|Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching||Required|
The BSEd Elementary with Certificate that Leads to Endorsement degree program, leads to Arizona teacher certification in K-8 and endorsement (through the Arizona Department of Education) in birth through grade 3. It provides candidates with the necessary foundation to teach preschool and primary school-aged children (birth through 3rd grade). It also provides candidates with the necessary foundation to teach in K-8th grade classrooms. This nationally recognized program emphasizes sound pedagogical practices while stressing the skills, knowledge, and dispositions necessary to confidently enter the field of education. Candidates engage in a purposeful program of study grounded in theory and infused with practical experiences in schools. Candidates pursue foundational coursework in mathematics, educational foundations, political science, bilingual and multi-cultural education, educational psychology, special education, and curriculum and instruction. Throughout the program of study, students participate in rich practica experiences (180 hours of which are in the birth through age four environment) and the degree culminates with student teaching in kindergarten through grade three placements.
Throughout the program of study, candidates demonstrate outcomes aligned to standards affiliated with CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium. Nationally recognized by NAEYC, the program is designed to: promote child development and learning, build family and community relationships, use a variety of assessment strategies to support young children and families, use developmentally effective teaching and learning approaches, use content knowledge to build meaningful curriculum, and identify and conduct themselves as members of the early childhood profession.
Candidates who complete this program will be prepared to join the next wave of elementary and early childhood educators—people who will dramatically shape and influence the lives of children in educational venues, as well as non-profits, state and national agencies, and other venues where specialized coursework in early childhood is required or preferred for the position.
Student Learning Outcomes (I)
Outcomes align with Standards from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC).
Grounded in a strong child development knowledge base this degree program enables candidates to use their understanding of young children's characteristics and needs, and multiple interacting influences on children's development and learning. This knowledge prepares the candidates to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.
- Knowing and understanding young children's characteristics and needs, from birth through age 8.
- Knowing and understanding the multiple influences on early development and learning
- Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments for young children.
- Graduates of this program will be able to integrate their understanding of developmental processes and individual variance in their instructional practice by:
- Candidates will demonstrate a thorough understanding of patterns and variations in child development of young children birth through age 8.
- Candidates will design healthy, respective, supportive and challenging learning environments for young children based on their knowledge of child development.
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities. They know about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities. They use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to involve all families in their children’s development and learning.
- Knowing about and understanding diverse family and community characteristics
- Supporting and engaging families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships
- Involving families and communities in young children’s development and learning.
- Graduates of this program will be able to effectively engage families and communities in support of children’s growth and development by:
- Candidates will demonstrate a deep understanding how families and communities promote resilience and protective factors that ameliorate risk in young children.
- Candidates will actively engage with families and communities to promote positive child outcomes by demonstrating communication skills that promote reciprocity and respect.
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment are central to the practice of all early childhood professionals. They know about and understand the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment. They know about and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies in a responsible way, in partnership with families and other professionals, to influence the development of every child in a positive manner.
- Understanding the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment – including its use in development of appropriate goals, curriculum, and teaching strategies for young children.
- Knowing about and using observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches, including the use of technology in documentation, assessment and data collection.
- Understanding and practicing responsible assessment to promote positive outcomes for each child, including the use of assistive technology for children with disabilities.
- Knowing about assessment partnerships with families and with professional colleagues to build effective learning environments.
- Graduates of this program will be able to use assessment practices for multiple purposes focused on improving learning outcomes for students by:
- Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of the purpose, uses and processes of assessment in early childhood education.
- Candidates will demonstrate the skills required to conduct a range of assessments including: observation, screening, criterion- and norm-referenced assessments, monitoring child progress, and evaluating intervention strategies and learning environments.
- Candidates will appropriately integrate technology in assessment practices, including basic assistive technology.
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children’s ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur. They understand and use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families. Candidates know, understand, and use a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and positively influence each child’s development and learning.
- Understanding positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation of their work with young children
- Knowing and understanding effective strategies and tools for early education, including appropriate uses of technology
- Using a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching /learning approaches
- Reflecting on own practice to promote positive outcomes for each child.
- Graduates of this program will be able to select and implement appropriate instructional practices for young children by:
- Candidates will use evidence-based instructional practices that are developmentally appropriate.
- Candidates will create opportunities for young children to develop and sustain relationships with others in their natural environments.
- Candidates will demonstrate the ability to effectively use technology that promotes learning and functioning.
- Candidates will demonstrate the ability to reflect upon their practice and make modifications as appropriate.
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.
- Understanding content knowledge and resources in academic disciplines: language and literacy; the arts – music, creative movement, dance, drama, visual arts; mathematics; science, physical activity, physical education, health and safety; and social studies.
- Knowing and using the central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of content areas or academic disciplines
- Using own knowledge, appropriate early learning standards, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum for each child.
- Graduates of this program will be make curricular decisions that are informed by professional and state learning standards and conform to current content knowledge across disciplines by:
- Candidates will demonstrate a thorough content knowledge and resources across the curriculum in language and literacy; the arts – music, creative movement, dance, drama, visual arts; mathematics; science, physical activity, physical education, health and safety; and social studies.
- Candidates will be able to develop lessons and units that reflect central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of academic discipline, and are able to integrate these content areas appropriately.
- Candidates will demonstrate knowledge of early learning standards, professional standards and content areas to design, implement and evaluate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum for each child.
- Identifying and involving oneself with the early childhood field
- Knowing about and upholding ethical standards and other early childhood professional guidelines
- Engaging in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice; using technology effectively with young children, with peers, and as a professional resource.
- Integrating knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education
- Engaging in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession.
- Graduates of this program will be able to conduct themselves in a professional manner that is collaborative and reflective and will pursue excellence in the profession by:
- Candidates will adhere to professional standards set forth by the National Association of Education of Young Children and the Council for Exceptional Children/Division of Early Childhood.
- Candidates will engage in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice, and integrate technology appropriately.
- Graduates will collaborate with community partners and advocate for young children and their families.
- Development, Learning, and Motivation--Candidates know, understand, and use the major concepts, principles, theories, and research related to development of children and young adolescents to construct learning opportunities that support individual students’ development, acquisition of knowledge, and motivation.
- Curriculum Standards
- Reading, Writing, and Oral Language—Candidates demonstrate a high level of competence in use of English language arts and they know, understand, and use concepts from reading, language and child development, to teach reading, writing, speaking, viewing, listening, and thinking skills and to help students successfully apply their developing skills to many different situations, materials, and ideas;
- Science—Candidates know, understand, and use fundamental concepts of physical, life, and earth/space sciences. Candidates can design and implement age-appropriate inquiry lessons to teach science, to build student understanding for personal and social applications, and to convey the nature of science;
- Mathematics—Candidates know, understand, and use the major concepts and procedures that define number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability. In doing so they consistently engage problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representation;
- Social studies—Candidates know, understand, and use the major concepts and modes of inquiry from the social studies—the integrated study of history, geography, the social sciences, and other related areas— to promote elementary students’ abilities to make informed decisions as citizens of a culturally diverse democratic society and interdependent world;
- The arts—Candidates know, understand, and use—as appropriate to their own understanding and skills—the content, functions, and achievements of the performing arts (dance, music, theater) and the visual arts as primary media for communication, inquiry, and engagement among elementary students;
- Health education—Candidates know, understand, and use the major concepts in the subject matter of health education to create opportunities for student development and practice of skills that contribute to good health;
- Physical education—Candidates know, understand, and use—as appropriate to their own understanding and skills—human movement and physical activity as central elements to foster active, healthy life styles and enhanced quality of life for elementary students.
- Instruction Standards
- Integrating and applying knowledge for instruction—Candidates plan and implement instruction based on knowledge of students, learning theory, connections across the curriculum, curricular goals, and community;
- Adaptation to diverse students—Candidates understand how elementary students differ in their development and approaches to learning, and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse students;
- Development of critical thinking and problem solving—Candidates understand and use a variety of teaching strategies that encourage elementary students’ development of critical thinking and problem solving;
- Active engagement in learning—Candidates use their knowledge and understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior among students at the K-6 level to foster active engagement in learning, self-motivation, and positive social interaction and to create supportive learning environments;
- Communication to foster collaboration—Candidates use their knowledge and understanding of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the elementary classroom.
- Assessment for instruction—Candidates know, understand, and use formal and informal assessment strategies to plan, evaluate and strengthen instruction that will promote continuous intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of each elementary student.
- Professionalism Standards
- Professional growth, reflection, and evaluation—Candidates are aware of and reflect on their practice in light of research on teaching, professional ethics, and resources available for professional learning; they continually evaluate the effects of their professional decisions and actions on students, families and other professionals in the learning community and actively seek out opportunities to grow professionally.
- Collaboration with families, colleagues, and community agencies— Candidates know the importance of establishing and maintaining a positive collaborative relationship with families, school colleagues, and agencies in the larger community to promote the intellectual, social, emotional, physical growth and well-being of children.
Field Experiences and Clincial Practice Standard
Field experiences and clinical practice are planned and sequenced so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions necessary to promote the development and learning of young children across the entire developmental period of early childhood – in at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3 through 5, 5 through 8 years) and in the variety of settings that offer early education (early school grades, child care centers and homes, Head Start programs).
- Opportunities to observe and practice in at least two of the three early childhood age groups (birth – age 3, 3-5, 5-8)
Opportunities to observe and practice in at least two of the three main types of early education settings (early school grades, child care centers and homes, Head Start programs).
Take the following 37 units:
If you are majoring in elementary education, you can count this certificate as a concentration toward your degree requirements.
The Early Childhood Education Certificate coursework can also be taken by in-service teachers with degrees in elementary education who wish to become certified in birth through grade 3 to gain that endorsement through the Arizona Department of Education.
This certificate may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate. Federal financial aid cannot be used if the certificate is completed as a stand-alone certificate.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.