2020-2021 Catalog

Early Childhood Education P-3

  • Associate of Arts Degree (A.A.) (99 credits)
  • Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.) (99 in A.S. + 92 in B.S. = 191 credits total)

Program Description

The function of the Early Childhood Education: P-3 Program is to prepare and graduate teacher candidates who demonstrate professional competencies in teaching Preschool to Grade 3 students. This program was developed to meet the critical need for Highly Qualified Teachers who are licensed to teach in the early grades (age 3 to grade 3). The program’s design and framework are built upon the standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards for teacher preparation, and the Montana Professional Preparation Program Standards (PEPPS, 2015). Key features of the program include an emphasis on culturally responsive education and multiple opportunities for practicum experiences in which teacher candidates participate in observing, teaching, and reflecting upon these experiences with young students. Graduates will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the content required for teaching early grades, as well as a strong foundation in child development and family/community engagement.

Career Opportunities

Candidates who graduate with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education: P-3, are qualified to teach as paraprofessionals in public school districts and in early childhood programs, including Head Start, childcare centers, and family childcare homes. A.A. graduates often continue in their program to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in ECE: P-3. Completion of this degree with the successful completion of the licensure process for teaching P-3, qualifies one to teach in Pre-K to Grade 3 classrooms. See the Education Division Student Handbook for a detailed description of program and licensure requirements. Graduation with a bachelor degree in ECE: P-3 is not a guarantee of licensure. This program is accredited by the Montana Board of Public Education.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science degree, candidates will demonstrate the skills, dispositions and knowledge in relationship to the following principles (based on the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards):

Standard #1: Learner Development.

The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.

Standard #2: Learning Differences.

The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.

Standard #3: Learning Environments.

The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation.

Standard #4: Content Knowledge.

The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.

Standard #5: Application of Content.

The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.

Standard #6: Assessment.

The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.

Standard #7: Planning for Instruction.

The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.

Standard #8: Instructional Strategies.

The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.

Standard #9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice.

The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.

Standard #10: Leadership and Collaboration.

The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.


Students must submit to a multiple-level background check for this program.

Students must receive a "C" or better in all required education methods course while maintaining a 3.0 GPA in these courses and an overall GPA of 2.75 or higher to graduate from this program.