The Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education is embedded in the philosophy that children’s experiences during the early years are formative and influence the direction and quality of their adult outcomes. Young children must, therefore, be provided with experiences that are developmentally appropriate and which foster holistic development and promote positive attitudes and dispositions to life and learning.
The programme is intended to ensure that potential early childhood teachers acquire the knowledge and skills to be sensitive and competent practitioners, capable of creating appropriate and effective learning environments that are culturally grounded, healthy, respectful, supportive, and appropriately challenging for all young children.
The programme provides knowledge and understanding of holistic child development in the early years; the theoretical foundations of early childhood education; contemporary trends in early childhood curriculum practice that appropriately integrate the use of technology; the critical importance of home-school partnership; key theories and perspectives of child development and socialization, teaching, learning, and assessment, with particular emphasis on constructivist and developmentally appropriate approaches and strategies for the early childhood level.
The Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education provides an intermediate level academic qualification that bridges the gap between vocational qualifications and the Bachelor of Education. The Associate Degree in Early Childhood aims to:
- Provide students with sound foundational knowledge in general education and in specialized early childhood development studies that support their further advancement into diverse pathways of practice in the early childhood profession.
- Enable access to persons with non-traditional qualifications to pursue studies that lead to an internationally and regionally recognized terminal qualification.
- Place a strong emphasis on skills, competencies, and practice in the curse of studies.
The Associate Degree programme will be suitable for:
- Individuals who are already working in the early childhood field and require formal qualifications.
- School leavers with CSEC/CXC qualification who would like to work with young children.
- Normal Matriculation
Four (4) CXC/CSEC subjects at the General Proficiency Grades I, II and III (effective June 1998) or their equivalent. This should normally include English AEnglish A must be obtained at General Proficiency Grade I, II, or III (effective 1998).
- Students seeking entry to the Early Childhood Associate Degree Programme may use the NCTVET Level II qualification in Early Childhood as one of the four subjects required for matriculation.
- For the purpose of equivalence, GCE ‘O’ Level at Grade A–C; SSC National Assessment Levels 4 and 5; City and Guilds and ULCI General 2; Passes in first-year level Technical courses and RSA Stage 2.
- Mature Entry
Candidates 30 years and over seeking admission into the programme and who do not have the academic qualifications set out in (a) above but who have completed at least five years of teaching in one or more recognized early childhood institutions may be able to seek entry under the mature entry clause but must establish clear evidence of their competence in the field. Colleges desiring to admit students under this clause should have applicants undergo the following processes:
- Submission of a portfolio which documents competence/accomplishments in the following ways:
- A portfolio with representative sampling of work (where applicable) over a period of three years immediately preceding application.
- Written 500 word account of life history and a vision of his/her role in education.
- Documentation to substantiate certificates/awards obtained in the informal setting, e.g. on-the-job courses.
- Recommendations from professional educator(s) and person(s) who have supervised him/her on his/her area of competence.
- Certification to demonstrate that the candidate has obtained at least 2 subjects through a formal examination system. CSEC English (or its equivalent) is mandatory.
- Undergo an entrance examination to assess candidates learning potential which should include basic proficiency in Numeracy and English Language.
Programme Duration and Credits
- The full time Associate Degree in Early Childhood is spread over five semesters (excluding summer semesters).
- The part time Associate Degree in Early Childhood is spread over six semesters (including two summer semesters).
- The programme has a total of 70 credits
In addition students will complete three compulsory non–credit courses:
- Foundation Concepts in Mathematics 1 (if student has not passed CSEC Mathematics)
- Personal and Character Development
- Paediatric First Aid (offered by Jamaica Red Cross)