Education: Early Childhood Education, Liberal Arts (AA)

Degree: Associate of Arts
Major: Liberal Arts
Emphasis: Early Childhood Education
Program Code: 2263

About This Major . . .

This degree is designed for students who intend to continue their education and obtain a baccalaureate degree. The A.A. is the appropriate choice for students, who will take upper division coursework in the arts, humanities, or social and behavioral sciences. The degree program includes the Colorado Statewide General Education Core and meets the lower division general education requirements at most public institutions in Colorado.

The Early Childhood Education Program provides students with a foundation for working with children from birth to age eight in a variety of settings.  Our faculty offer one-on-one guidance for course selection, field placements, student teaching and employment.

With an increasing focus on quality early education, many organizations are requiring their employees to demonstrate a level of expertise provided by this AA degree.  Our students complete their degree with a culminating student teaching experience giving them an opportunity to teach in a working classroom in the community for a semester.

Graduates of the early childhood program go on to be employed in large and small child care centers, open up their own home care centers, work in public school settings, or use coursework as a foundation to continue into Early Childhood or elementary teacher license education.  In addition, our program aligns with state requirements for early childhood teacher certification and large center director qualification.

For more information on what you can do with this major, visit WCCC's Programs of Study page.

All CMU/WCCC associate graduates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in specialized knowledge/applied learning, quantitative fluency, communication fluency, critical thinking, personal and social responsibility, and information literacy. In addition to these campus‐wide student learning outcomes, graduates of this major will be able to:

  1. Apply the National Association for the Education of Young Children principles and practices in interactions with young children, families and other professionals. (Applied Learning)
  2. Utilize mathematical skills required to instruct young children. (Quantitative Fluency)
  3. Demonstrate effective written communication skills. (Communication Fluency)
  4. Demonstrate effective verbal communication skills. (Communication Fluency)
  5. Analyze interactions and teaching experiences from personal journals/administrative evaluations to improve teaching practices. (Critical Thinking/ Specialized Knowledge)

Each section below contains details about the requirements for this program. Select a header to expand the information/requirements for that particular section of the program's requirements. 

To print or save an overview of this program's information, including the program description, learning outcomes, requirements, suggested course sequencing (if applicable), and advising and graduation information, scroll to the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu and select "Print Options." This will give you the options to either "Send Page to Printer" or "Download PDF of This Page." The "Download PDF of This Page" option prepares a much more concise presentation of all program information. The PDF is also printable and may be preferable due to its brevity. 

Institutional Degree Requirements

The following institutional degree requirements apply to all CMU or WCCC Associate of Arts (AA) degrees. Specific programs may have different requirements that must be met in addition to institutional requirements.

  • 60 semester hours total.
  • Students must complete a minimum of 15 of the final 30 semester hours of credit at CMU/WCCC.
  • 2.00 cumulative GPA or higher in all CMU/WCCC coursework.
  • A grade of “C” or higher must be earned in all Essential Learning courses in order to be accepted for transfer under the Colorado Core Transfer Consortium General Education curriculum or gtPathways, Colorado’s guaranteed transfer program.
  • A course may only be used to fulfill one requirement for each degree/certificate.
  • No more than six semester hours of independent study courses can be used toward the degree.
  • Non-traditional credit, such as advanced placement, credit by examination, credit for prior learning, cooperative education and internships, cannot exceed 15 semester credit hours for an AA degree. A maximum of 6 of the 15 credits may be for cooperative education, internships, and practica.
  • Pre-collegiate courses (usually numbered below 100) cannot be used for graduation.
  • Capstone exit assessment/projects (e.g., Major Field Achievement Test) requirements are identified under Program-Specific Degree Requirements.
  • The Catalog Year determines which program sheet and degree requirements a student must fulfill in order to graduate. Visit with your advisor or academic department to determine which catalog year and program requirements you should follow.
  • See “Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees and Certificates” in the catalog for a complete list of graduation requirements.

Specific to this program:

  • Students must have current First Aid/CPR cards.
  • Student must create a portfolio following department requirements.

Essential Learning Requirements

(31 semester hours)

See the current catalog for a list of courses that fulfill the requirements below.  If a course is an Essential Learning option and a requirement for your major, you must use it to fulfill the major requirement and make a different selection for the Essential Learning requirement.

A grade of “C” or higher must be earned in all Essential Learning courses in order to be accepted for the transfer under the Core Transfer Agreements.

English 1
ENGL 111English Composition I-GTCO13
ENGL 112English Composition II-GTCO23
Mathematics 2
MATH 110Mathematical Investigations-GTMA1 (or higher)3
Select one History course3
Select one Humanities course3
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Select one Social and Behavioral Sciences course3
Fine Arts
Select one Fine Arts course3
Natural Sciences 3
Select one Natural Sciences course3
Select one Natural Sciences course with a lab4
Total Semester Credit Hours31

Must receive a grade of “B” or better and must be completed by the time the student has 60 semester hours.


Must receive a grade of "C" or better and must be complete by the time the student has 60 semester hours.


One course must include a lab.

Other Lower Division Requirements

Wellness Requirement
KINE 100Health and Wellness1
Select one Activity course1
Total Semester Credit Hours2

Program Specific Degree Requirements

(27 semester hours, must maintain a  2.50 cumulative GPA or higher in all coursework in the major content area.)

  • Students must have current First Aid/CPR cards.
  • Student must create a portfolio following department requirements.
Core Courses
EDEC 238Early Childhood Development 0-8 Years 13
or PSYC 233 Human Growth and Development-GTSS3
EDEC 101Introduction to Early Childhood3
EDEC 113Infant and Toddler Theory and Practice3
EDEC 122Ethics in Early Childhood Education1
EDEC 240Curriculum and Development: Early Childhood3
EDEC 250Exceptionalities in Early Education3
EDEC 299Student Teaching in Early Education3
Total Semester Credit Hours19

For students who do not wish to pursue Director Qualification, PSYC 233 can be taken to fulfill the core requirement.

Restricted Electives
Select eight semester hours of the following:8
Introduction to Early Childhood Professions Lab Experiences
Guidance Strategies
Introduction to Infant/Toddler Lab Techniques
Observation and Assessment in Early Childhood Education
Observation and Assessment in Early Childhood Techniques
Nutrition, Health, Safety
Curriculum and Development: Infant/Toddler
Theories and Techniques of Social and Emotional Growth
Early Childhood Administration: Human Relations
Working with Parents, Families, and Community Systems
Administration in Early Education
Early Literacy for the Young Child
Children's Literature
Total Semester Credit Hours8
Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterSemester Credit Hours
ENGL 111 English Composition I-GTCO1 3
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Essential Learning - Fine Arts 3
KINA Activity 1
Essential Learning - History 3
EDEC 101 Introduction to Early Childhood 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
ENGL 112 English Composition II-GTCO2 3
EDEC 122 Ethics in Early Childhood Education 1
EDEC 240 Curriculum and Development: Early Childhood 3
KINE 100 Health and Wellness 1
Early Childhood Education Restricted Elective 3
EDEC 238
Early Childhood Development 0-8 Years
or Human Growth and Development-GTSS3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Second Year
Fall Semester
EDEC 113 Infant and Toddler Theory and Practice 3
MATH 110 Mathematical Investigations-GTMA1 3
Essential Learning - Natural Science with Lab 4
Essential Learning - Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Early Childhood Education Restricted Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
EDEC 299 Student Teaching in Early Education 3
EDEC 250 Exceptionalities in Early Education 3
Essential Learning - Natural Science 3
Essential Learning - Humanities 3
Early Childhood Education Restricted Elective 2
 Semester Credit Hours14
 Total Semester Credit Hours60

Students that intend to continue with Colorado Mesa University should take ESSL 290 and ESSL 200 during the final semester of their Associate of Arts work.

Advising Process and DegreeWorks

Documentation on the pages related to this program is intended for informational purposes to help determine what courses and associated requirements are needed to earn a degree. The suggested course sequencing outlines how students could finish degree requirements. Some courses are critical to complete in specific semesters, while others may be moved around. Meeting with an academic advisor is essential in planning courses and altering the suggested course sequencing. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand and fulfill the requirements for her/his intended degree(s).

DegreeWorks is an online degree audit tool available in MAVzone. It is the official record used by the Registrar’s Office to evaluate progress towards a degree and determine eligibility for graduation. Students are responsible for reviewing their DegreeWorks audit on a regular basis and should discuss questions or concerns with their advisor or academic department head. Discrepancies in requirements should be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Process

Students must complete the following in the first two months of the semester prior to completing their degree requirements:

  • Review their DegreeWorks audit and create a plan that outlines how unmet requirements will be met in the final semester.
  • Meet with their advisor and modify their plan as needed. The advisor must approve the final plan.
  • Submit the “Intent to Graduate” form to the Registrar’s Office to officially declare the intended graduation date and commencement ceremony plans.
  • Register for all needed courses and complete all requirements for each degree sought.

Submission deadlines and commencement details can be found at

If a student’s petition for graduation is denied, it will be her/his responsibility to consult the Registrar’s Office regarding next steps.