Since 1995, the Early Childhood Education program at ATCC has been preparing early childhood professionals to respond to the individual needs of children and their families. The courses are designed to allow the student to work up the career ladder in the childhood education employment areas of center-based settings, Head Start programs, and preschools. Through E-LECT (E-Learning for Early Childhood Teachers), online, credit-based Early Childhood Education courses are available as alternative options to the traditional classroom setting.
Beginning in the first semester, students will engage in lab experiences in a number of early childhood settings in the community. They will develop skills by working with early childhood professionals through observations, internships, and practicums. Involvement in community events and organizations will also be part of the learning process.
Students considering the Early Childhood Education program should have a strong interest in children from infant through age eight. High school courses in child development, family relations, psychology, and nutrition are beneficial. Due to a Minnesota legislative mandate, accepted students must have a clear criminal background check prior to any lab experience. Students without a clear criminal background check are ineligible to participate in classroom labs, practicums, and internships. Therefore they are ineligible for graduation.