Program Mission Statement
Practitioners completing the BS: Early Childhood Education program will be prepared to assume leadership roles as early childhood teachers, parent educators, early childhood program administrators, and early childhood trainers in a variety of settings. General Education courses, early childhood core courses, and early childhood specialty courses combine to provide the student with a background in liberal studies together with extensive early childhood coursework and experiences. The related area allows students to develop an area of specialization within early childhood.
This degree is designed to be accessible to both traditional students and place-bound practitioners who are currently working in the early childhood field. Many General Education courses are offered online by Montana Western as well as other campuses within the Montana University System.
Early childhood core courses are included in Montana Western’s AAS: Early Childhood Education degree program and are currently offered in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Dillon, Great Falls, Helena, Lewistown and Missoula. ECE professional core courses are also offered online.
Program graduates will:
- Know and understand young children’s characteristics and needs.
- Know and understand the multiple influences on development and learning.
- Use developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments.
- Know about and understand family and community characteristics.
- Support and empower families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships.
- Involve families and communities in their children’s development and learning.
- Understand the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment.
- Know about and use observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches.
- Understand and practice responsible assessment.
- Know about assessment partnerships with families and other professionals.
- Know, understand, and use positive relationships and supportive interactions.
- Know and understand the importance, central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of content areas or academic disciplines.
- Use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum to promote positive outcomes.
- Identify and involve themselves with the early childhood field.
- Know about and uphold ethical standards and other professional guidelines.
- Engage in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice.
- Integrate knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education.
- Design and implement meaningful, research-based, content rich experiences and environments in early childhood settings in language and literacy, mathematics, physical development and health, social competence, science, and the creative arts.
- Utilize effective, developmental teaching methods that emphasize long-term, in-depth experiences based upon children’s needs and interests.
- Implement family, staff , program, and individual and group child assessment strategies.
- Use knowledge of adult learning theory and teacher development to supervise and mentor adults and to develop effective adult workshops.
- Develop a related area in a specific area of emphasis based upon future career interests and goals.
- Apply environmental, curricular, and management strategies that will promote school success for students with special needs.
- Examine and apply research and theories on children, families, and communities including socioeconomic conditions, family structures, relationships, stressors, supports, home language, cultural values, and ethnicity.
The graduate outcomes for the BS: Early Childhood Education are assessed through employer surveys, alumni surveys, review of portfolio artifacts or course critical assessment, observations of students in practicum sites, program self-study, and reports from external reviews. The assessment plan for the BS: Early Childhood Education is available through the Education Department.