Early Childhood Education

Student and child looking through magnifying glass

Program Mission

The Early Childhood Education program mission is to:

  • Provide training and education programs for the development of competent and nurturing caregivers and teachers for all Hawaiʻi 's young children and their families.
  • Provide quality education and care services for the children of students, faculty and staff in the Community Colleges. These services will represent the best of current practices and will serve as a practicum for programs related to early childhood education as well as providing demonstration of quality education and care for the larger community.

Program Description

The Early Childhood Education program prepares students for work in a variety of positions working with young children and with their families. The certificates and degree offered are designed to allow students to meet requirements for various levels of entry into the early childhood field and articulate with UH Mānoa and UH West Oʻahu's programs.

Associate in Science Degree Program: The Associate in Science (AS) degree program in combination with 6 months work experience prepares students for immediate employment as teachers in private early childhood programs for infants and toddlers or preschoolers. With 12 months of full time experience, graduates with the AS degree meet the requirements of the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Human Services (DHS) to be directors of early childhood programs. The course of study leading to the AS degree is developmentally based and emphasizes observation and opportunities to participate in programs with children through class assignments and field experiences, both on campus and in the community. The program provides candidates with varied opportunities to develop their skills for working with children and families and with a general understanding of the field of early education and care. Students who successfully complete this degree may transfer to the Early Childhood Concentration in the Social Sciences Program at the University of Hawaiʻi -West Oʻahu. The AS degree in Early Childhood Education meets all requirements of that program for lower division course work.

To complete the degree, students must demonstrate proficiency at the English 100 and Math 100 levels. To successfully complete the program, students must earn a grade of "C" or higher in all courses with an ECED alpha.

Certificate of Competence in Child Development Associate (CDA) Preparation: The Certificate of Competence in Child Development Associate (CDA) Preparation is obtained by completing three courses which meet the formal training requirement of the national CDA credential. Students must earn a grade of "C" or higher in all courses with an ECED alpha.

Certificate of Competence in Early Childhood Education:The Certificate of Competence in Early Childhood Education requires a 16-credit sequence designed to give the candidate the most basic skills needed to work with children from infancy through eight years of age. This certificate also meets the ECE/CD coursework requirements of DHS for teachers and lead caregivers who hold an AAS, AS, AA or Bachelor's degree in a field other than early childhood. Students must earn a grade of "C" or higher in all courses with an ECED alpha.

Certificate of Achievement in Preschool: The Certificate of Achievement-Preschool is obtained by completing 32 credits of core courses in Early Childhood Education. It meets the requirements for coursework in Early Childhood Education/Child Development (ECE/CD) for teachers in Early Childhood Programs accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children who hold an AAS, AS, or AA not in ECE/CD. Students must earn a "C" or higher in all courseswith an ECED alpha.

Criminal history record checks are a workplace requirement in early education and care settings. This check must be completed satisfactorily within two weeks of enrollment into ECED 191, Field Based Practicum in Early Childhood. The cost of the record check, currently $24.00, is the responsibility of the student.

Program Prerequisites

Certificate of Competence/Certificate of Achievement:

  • Program Prerequisites: Placement in ENG 100
  • Other Requirements: To obtain a CC-CDA, CC-ECE, or CA, students must earn a "C" or higher in all courses with an ECED alpha

Associate in Science:

  • Program Prerequisites: Placement in ENG 100
  • Other Requirements: To obtain an AS-IT or AS-PS, students must earn a "C" or higher in all courses with an ECED alpha, and demonstrate proficiency at the ENG 100 and Math 100 levels or higher

Degrees That Can Be Earned

  • Associate in Science (AS)
  • Certificate of Competence (CC)
  • Certificate of Achievement (CA)

Cost of Textbooks/Supplies

  • Tuition based on total credits taken.
  • Books/supplies approximately $500.

Upon successful completion of the ECED program, students will be able to:

  • Use knowledge of child development and of individual children to create healthy, challenging learning environments and experiences.
  • Build respectful partnerships with children, families and their communities.
  • Observe, document and assess all children's development and learning in partnership with families.
  • Build positive relationships and guide all children through supportive interactions.
  • Use content knowledge and appropriate pedagogy to create/design, implement and assess learning experiences.
  • Use reflective practice to demonstrate professionalism.

Our program technical standards have been developed to help students understand the minimum essential mental, physical, and behavioral skills necessary for participation in and completion of all core aspects of our curriculum.

Thinking Skills


Apply concepts from child development research and best practices in the field to work effectively with children and their families.


  • Do simple research using library and Internet resources.
  • Solve interpersonal problems with and between children.
  • Make decisions about program environment and curriculum.
  • Resolve issues involving childcare staff and families.

Sensory/Observation Skills


Assess children's behavior and environment for care and safety.


  • Observe children at a distance and close at hand.
  • Perceive children's verbal and nonverbal cues and respond appropriately.
  • Scan environment and facilities for safety purposes.

Motor Skills


Possess sufficient physical strength, flexibility, and dexterity to perform education and care routines for children.


  • Manipulate materials and equipment such as scissors, puzzles, computers, and CD players.
  • Provide safe and nurturing contact to promote healthy development.
  • Safely lift and transport children during care routines such as diapering or feeding.
  • Interact with children at varying heights.
  • Evacuate children in cases of emergency.

Communication Skills


Communicate effectively to gather and convey information and guidance.


  • Share information with children, family members, and colleagues through notes, meetings, and phone calls, etc.
  • Understand and respond to information received from children, family members, and colleagues through notes, newsletters, portfolios, written reports, meetings, and phone calls, etc.
  • Communicate clearly with groups of children during indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Write clearly with and for children.

Behavioral Skills


Behave appropriately and safely in a childcare environment.


  • Demonstrate maturity and sensitivity in dealing with children and adults.
  • Exercise good judgement to respond promptly and responsibly to children's needs.
  • Work cooperatively with partners and groups.
  • Use appropriate interpersonal skills.
  • Follow safety procedures.

Environmental Tolerance


Function safely in a childcare lab and playground.


  • Work for prolonged periods amidst: Dirt, dust, and odors, Residue from cleaning products