Harper College


Program Overview

The 60 credit-hour curriculum is designed to provide students with the requisite skills and theoretical knowledge to work in a variety of facilities for young children as a director for half-day and full-day early childhood centers.

Upon completion of courses for the specialized area of director, demonstration of proof of First Aid/CPR certification and verification of 1200 hours of management experience, students need to complete an IL Gateways application to qualify for the Illinois Director Credential Level 1.

This sequenced degree plan is one of two options that students may pursue to earn the Early Childhood Education Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. While there are multiple specializations, this particular degree can be awarded only once.

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course

Program Requirements

F = Fall only course, S = Spring only course, U = Summer only course


Number Course Title Credits Category
ECE 101 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides an overview of early childhood care and education, including the basic values, structure, organization and programming. Examination of the student’s personal qualities in relationship to expectations of the field. Directed observation in a variety of programs and settings. Six (6) hours of observation required. (NOTE: The program’s health requirements must be completed prior to observation.)

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ECE 102 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides a study of human development from conception through adolescence. Includes research methods and developmental theories. Address all major areas of development (physical, social, emotional and cognitive, language, and aesthetic) and the interaction among these areas. Also examines current research and major developmental theoretical points of view, including those of Piaget, Erikson, Vygotsky, Skinner, Gardner and others. Explores child development in the context of gender, family, culture, socio-economics, race, ethnicity, religion, and society. Emphasis is on the implication for early childhood professional practice. IAI ECE 912

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ECE 115 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides an overview of principles involved in planning, implementing and evaluating developmentally appropriate curriculum. Includes lesson plans, emerging curriculum, scheduling, room arrangement, materials and equipment; individual, small and large group activities; short and long term goals; and teacher’s roles and responsibilities in curriculum development. Three (3) hours of observation required.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in ECE 102 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ENG 101 3 AAS General Education

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 096 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options: english-placement-grid.php ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

Mathematics1 3 AAS General Education


Number Course Title Credits Category
ECE 226 3 Program Requirement

Description: Understand concepts of appropriate assessment, expected educational outcomes, the teacher's responsibility in assessment and how young children develop and learn. Students will understand how appropriate assessments can measure and evaluate child growth and development and how the use of assessment tools can influence decisions in early childhood education with an emphasis on appropriate guidance techniques and strategies. Four (4) hours of observation are required.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in ECE 102 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ECE 250 3 Program Requirement

Description: Focuses on personal health of the individual, including nutrition and health and safety issues, with emphasis on meeting health needs for children in group settings. A healthy lifestyle, preventive health and community health are examined. One (1) hour of observation is required.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ECE 252 3 Program Requirement

Description: Concentrates on teacher's role in working with children within the context of family and community. Stresses effective communication, diversity, professionalism and social policy. Includes an in-depth study of community resources. Two (2) hours of observation are required. IAI ECE 915

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

MGT 205 3 Program Requirement

Description: Investigates leadership styles and the influences of leadership styles within organizations from start-ups to global corporations. Explores the empirical science and evidence of leadership styles, motivation, communication, conflict resolution, negotiations, creativity and innovation. Examines leadership styles as they relate to culture, diversity and globalization. Evaluates the performance of successful leaders.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

SPE 101 3 AAS General Education

Description: Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024


Number Course Title Credits Category
ECE 253  F   3 Program Requirement

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the fall term.

Provides guidelines for the establishment and operation of a child development center. Emphasizes the director's role in programming, school policies, budgeting, record keeping, licensing, municipal codes, insurance, staff development, evaluation procedures, parent communication and community resources.

Prerequisite: Completion of 15 credit hours including ECE 102 and ECE 115 with grades of C or better, or consent of program coordinator.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 219 3 Program Requirement

Description: Presents the historical, philosophical and legal foundations of special education as well as an overview of the diverse characteristics of individuals with exceptional cognitive, physical, social and emotional needs, including, but not limited to, children identified as learning disabled. Covers identification, intervention strategies, cross-categorical methods of instruction and programs to meet their needs, including, but not limited to, assistive technologies, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), behavioral interventions, and Universal Design. Studies applicable state and federal laws and requirements, including Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), Individual Education Plan (IEP), Response to Intervention (RTI) and inclusive programming. This course addresses the coursework identified in the Illinois Administrative Code 25, Section 25:25 for professional educator licensure. There is a mandatory fifteen (15) hour clinical component in this course; therefore, the student must pass a criminal background check for successful completion of this course. IAI ECE 913

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 220 + 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides an introduction to diversity issues in schools and society today. Examines how schooling is shaped by the social contexts in which it occurs, particularly in multicultural and global contexts. Includes examination of both social and global perspectives.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

EDU 250  F   3 Program Requirement

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the fall term.

Introduces educators to the knowledge and skills required to demonstrate their proficiency in the current technology standards. The course focuses on both knowledge and performance, and includes hands-on technology activities.

Prerequisite: Keyboarding, basic skill word processing, spreadsheet, and database programs, or consent of instructor.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

PSY 101 + 3 AAS General Education

Description: Investigates human and animal behavior with emphasis on the scientific nature of contemporary and classic psychological investigation. Emphasizes psychological theories, principles, and research applications. Introduces the divisions of the American Psychological Association. References biological processes, sensation, perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, mental disorders, intelligence, aptitude, personality, development, daily life and everyday problems. IAI S6 900

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024


Number Course Title Credits Category
AAS General Education elective2 3 AAS General Education
ECE 254  S   1 Program Requirement

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Explores personal experiences within the work environment, impact of sex-roles, organizational polices and professional standards. Emphasizes team building and the development of effective interpersonal communication skills.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ECE 293  S   3 Program Requirement

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Emphasizes the practical application of early childhood education principles and theories in a supervisory capacity, while working with a director, staff, parents, and young children. The student will be supervised by a qualified director for 300 documented hours as mandated by the State of Illinois Director Credentials.

Prerequisite: ECE 253, MGT 205 and MKT 245 AND consent of coordinator.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

ECE elective3 3 Program Requirement
FSM 114 2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces safe food handling practices and discusses the standardized procedures involved in the procurement, storage, preparation, holding, and service of safe food. Prepares students for the State of Illinois-approved Food Service Sanitation Manager’s Certification test.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

MKT 245 3 Program Requirement

Description: Focuses on marketing activities that will cover product planning, pricing strategies and promotional efforts including advertising, selling and sales promotions and distribution channel effectiveness.

Class Schedule:  Spring 2024

1 - The mathematics requirement for this degree (MTH 065) can be met with Math Competency. See Math Competency options for information. Students who utilize Math Competency to meet the mathematics requirement must complete an additional three credit-hour AAS General Education elective. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

+ - This course meets the World Culture and Diversity graduation requirement.

2 - See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

3 - ECE elective: Any ECE course.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • HGD5: Integrates research, developmental theories, and observational data to make decisions about evidence-based practice supporting children's learning and development.
  • HSW6: Collaborates with diverse families and community organizations to support children's healthy development and learning.
  • IRE4: Designs learning environments and activities supportive of diverse, healthy development and learning.
  • OA5: Evaluates and selects appropriate strategies for collecting, recording, measuring, disseminating, and utilizing observation, screening, and assessment data which are responsive to the strengths and challenges of individual children and reflective of family goals and priorities.
  • CPD6: Selects appropriate content, aligned with relevant standards.
  • FCR6: Selects and implements culturally and linguistically appropriate procedures designed to gather information about children and families, including child and family strengths, priorities, concerns, and needs, and collaboratively integrates this information into child, family, and program goals.
  • PPD5: Engages in reflection and the design of a professional development plan with the goal of improving professional practice and fostering professional growth.
Last Updated: 11/13/23