Early childhood education degrees typically prepare graduates to serve the educational needs of pre-Kindergarten aged children. Some programs teach the theory and practice of teaching children through about grade 3: what is taught largely depends on the program one chooses to attend. Whatever the case, early childhood degree programs include activities designed to engage, develop, and prepare children for elementary school or to teach early elementary school students.
People who teach early childhood education must receive formal education and training, as well as licensure, in the field of early childhood education. Generally, this education consists of coursework and fieldwork in the form of student teaching, and is offered at colleges and universities. These teaching methods can also be delivered remotely, via online instruction, through both synchronous and asynchronous methods, in an early childhood education online program.
How Early Childhood Education Online Works
The logistics of online classes will vary among institutions, but online schools follow the same general format of delivering instruction remotely via a classroom platform. Depending upon whether the program is asynchronous or not, students may not have to be online at any particular time, but can work at their convenience, meeting deadlines as appropriate. Lectures are delivered on the online platform, and the student uploads all quizzes, exams, and other assignments for the instructor’s review. This type of program offers a great deal of flexibility for the learner. The location of the program is not an issue, and there is no travel time or cost associated with being an online student, so this type of program absolutely has its advantages.
While this flexibility is an advantage for many students, some students are better served by being in a traditional classroom where they have live interaction with instructors and peers. Students who are not highly organized or self-motivated may have trouble adjusting to being in the online environment, and may feel disconnected from the classroom.
How to Choose an Early Childhood Education Online Program
Approach the process of finding an early childhood education online program just as you would an in-seat program. Research the institution, find out about its accreditation, how long the program lasts, what it costs, what tuition assistance is available, and what kinds of jobs its alumni ultimately hold. Does the program offer career counseling? Do potential employers find the program credible and its graduates desirable job candidates?
Find out what kind of student support is offered, what the computer requirements are, and whether the program offers courses that interest you. Some core courses will vary only slightly from institution to institution, but there may be some sub-specialty classes offered only in in-seat environments. Often, alumni are the best resource when it comes to getting the “real” information about a program.
The Internet is a great resource when it comes to researching early childhood online programs, so that is an excellent place to start for those who are interested in pursuing this option for obtaining a degree in early childhood education online.
Important Considerations for Early Childhood Education Online Programs
Early childhood education teachers are required to be licensed in order to teach in public school, and many private school, classrooms. Requirements for licensure vary from state to state, so it is important that the early childhood education online program one chooses is one that will meet the requirements of the state where the student wants to teach. The student should do his or her homework to determine what the different states’ requirements are and whether the early childhood education online program meets them.
Experience in teaching, sometimes in the form of a student teaching assignment, may be required of those who want to be licensed to teach early childhood education. Students interested in an early childhood education online degree program should make sure their program provides access to practical field experience.