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Early Childhood Education


UH West O‘ahu offers a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. This program focuses on Early Childhood Education (birth through age eight) from a theoretical orientation and places the field within broader social, historical, political and cultural contexts. Coursework in other areas of the social sciences provides a foundation for students to critically examine early education and childcare.

Early Childhood Education students will examine how parents and other family members work collaboratively with teachers to build a learning and home environment that stimulates curiosity through informal educational opportunities. The principles of quality education, multiculturalism, critical thinking, and reflective teaching are infused in all major coursework. The courses are designed to build a strong sense of social justice while also educating all students from diverse backgrounds and inspiring teachers as agents of change. Courses are taught in-class and through distance learning instruction, and in partnership with associate’s degree programs in Early Childhood Education at Hawai‘i Community College, Honolulu Community College, Kaua‘i Community College and Maui Community College.


Early Childhood Education is an exciting and dynamic field where teaching standards are being raised and career opportunities are constantly developing. Graduates may teach in public and private early childhood programs including Head Start, Family Interaction programs, public and private preschools, and home childcare. Hawai‘i lead preschool teachers and directors earn a higher annual salary than the national average at approximately $28,000 and $43,000 respectively. As the demand for highly qualified, preschool educators with bachelor’s degrees continues to grow, yearly salaries are on the rise.

Early Childhood Education majors are well prepared to enter graduate programs in Early Childhood Education and Educational Foundations as well as pursue certificates in Elementary Education K-6 teaching.


ECED 320 Issues, Trends and Leadership in Early Childhood Education
This course includes the study and discussion of topics related to contemporary issues and trends that influence early childhood programs and policies. Students will build leadership skills, explore professional and ethical standards, and become informed advocates for young children and their families.

ECED 401 Curricular Models in Early Childhood Education
This course explores a variety of curricular models in early childhood education. Curricular models and early childhood programs develop in historical contexts and reflect a variety of theoretical orientations. Students will critique program models such as: The Project Approach; High Scope; Reggio Emilia; Behavior Analysis; Bank Street; Montessori; Waldorf Education; Head Start; and Culturally Relevant, Multicultural/Anti-Bias models.

ECED 402 Emergent Literacy in the Home, School and Community
This course examines the theoretical foundations of emergent literacy and learning activities designed to enhance literacy development of children. Students will analyze the relationships among emergent reading and writing, and the development of speaking and listening skills. Students will investigate how emergent literacy evolves for all children and how culturally sensitive home-school relationships can enhance literacy awareness.

ECED 420 Administration and Supervision of Early Childhood Programs
This course addresses principles of leadership and effective program management. Students will analyze topics such as: personnel selection and training; budget and finance; regulations; accreditation; professional ethics; program assessment; staff performance evaluation; and community relationships for early childhood administrators.

ECED 440 Instruction and Assessment in Early Childhood Education
This course examines the relationships between instruction, student assessment and the decision-making process for creating effective curriculum for preschoolers. Students will demonstrate the use of student observation, developmental assessment tools, authentic assessment, integration of culturally relevant content into curricular planning, and self-reflection of early childhood knowledge and pedagogy.


Early Childhood Education graduates have completed internships at the Manoa Children’s Center, Kamehameha Schools Preschools and other early childhood programs. As part of the internship or senior capstone project, students design, implement and assess an action research project to improve a chosen teaching goal, and develop and apply higher-level analysis and research skills, while connecting theory and practice.


Dr. Susan Matoba Adler, Professor
(808) 689-2337