The Center for Early Childhood Education prepares teachers and leaders with evidence-based knowledge, skills and attitudes to support young children in their growth and development. Our Early Childhood Education (ECE) program is designed to inspire and prepare students to create and sustain art-based, inclusive programs that are responsive to the uniqueness (cultural, linguistic and ability diversity) of each child, family and community. The program is accredited by the National Association of the Education for Young Children (NAEYC). It is offered at two locations: the Main Campus in Bethlehem, and the Monroe Campus in Tannersville. The Associate Degree program is also available online.
Our program framework is based on Art as a Way of Learning®, which places the arts at the heart of teaching and learning. Arts integrated experiences are provided to both students and children to construct and express knowledge, and develop skills in critical and creative thinking. Resident artists collaborate with faculty and classroom teachers in bringing arts based experiences to their learning. Artists also work in partnership with faculty to teach students how to use materials, tools, and the languages of the arts, as they plan experiences for children in labs. At the children’s centers, materials, tools, and the languages of the arts are explored through children’s interests. The artists provide supporting guidance for faculty and classroom teachers and help build confidence in students’ attitudes toward the arts.
The Early Childhood Education consists of three key components: the academic program, the children’s centers and leadership and professional development. In addition to providing the Associate Degree Program, we also offer ECE Certificate, Specialized Diploma in CDA, School Age, and Leadership.
The child care centers are located at each of the campus locations. These centers serve as lab schools for our early childhood associate degree students.
Leadership and Professional Development is also a component of the center's mission. Programs of technical and professional support are offered in all areas of ECE leadership, strategic planning, center accreditation, and more. These programs consist of courses and workshops for teachers and administrators who want to improve their skills and extend their knowledge, thus strengthening the programs within which they work. The staff at Northampton Community College provides mentoring and technical assistance to child care programs engaged in quality improvement and/or accreditation initiatives.
The faculty and staff at the Center for Early Childhood are committed to building relationships with students, families, and communities. They are also committed to excellence and use innovative evidence based practices, in order to give students a solid foundation, to become skilled and informed early learning educators.