Early Childhood & Family Studies - What You'll Learn

As a student in Seattle Central’s Early Childhood and Family Studies program, you’ll prepare for a rewarding career working with children and their families as you study subjects like human development, education practices, cultural diversity and communication skills. The knowledge and abilities you’ll gain will help you to provide a variety of services and support for others in your community, and to prepare young children for lifelong success. The courses that you take will build on one another in a sequential manner to deepen your learning along the way.

Whether you are just beginning your career or want to gain the credentials to advance in the profession, Seattle Central can help with programs in:

  1. The Initial Certificate (12 credits): Enroll in this certificate as the starting point of your career or to continue your professional development. The certificate focuses on competencies comparable to those of the Child Development Associate (CDA). This provides the foundation for the Early Childhood Education (ECE) State Certificate and associate degree. Courses include a 5-credit Introduction to Early Childhood Education; a 5-credit Health, Safety and Nutrition course and a 2-credit practicum to apply learning.
  2. The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Short Certificate (8 credits): This certificate builds on the Initial Certificate (for a total of 20 credits). At this point, you can choose one of five specializations: ECE general, infant-toddler care, school-age care, family child care and ECE administration. For each specialization, students must take a 5- credit Child Development course, plus a course aligned with the specific specialization.
  3. The Early Childhood Education (ECE) State Certificate (27 credits): This final “stackable" certificate requires college-level math and English as a foundation for the next step: an associate degree in ECE. In addition to these general education requirements, the courses that students must take include Language and Literacy Development; Observation and Assessment; Child, Family and Community; Guiding Behavior; Environments for Young Children; and Curriculum Development. With all three certificates, the total number of credits earned by the student is 47.

Students who complete the Early Childhood and Family Studies program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate effective written/verbal communications.
  2. Develop strategies to solve problems and select an appropriate course of action; demonstrate critical thinking skills.
  3. Translate theory into practice.
  4. Incorporate knowledge of developmental states as a continuum in the design of appropriate programs and services.
  5. Incorporate diverse teaching methods and strategies which are appropriate to addressing the needs of children and families.
  6. Work effectively with diverse age groups.
  7. Work effectively with families to nurture diverse lifestyles and cultural backgrounds, including language.
  8. Develop and institute the tools to design culturally relevant programs and services.
  9. Develop and institute anti-bias practices throughout every level of an organization.
  10. Plan for and respond to issues of inclusion.
  11. Adhere to professional, physical, mental health, safety, licensing and accreditation standards related to the environment.

Learn more about course planning for the Early Childhood and Family Studies program.