The Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education is for individuals who work in childcare facilities as managers, educators and caregivers. This degree in Early Childhood Education provides advanced courses in management, curriculum development and child behavior. It is designed to meet the mandatory competencies for the Birth through Pre-Kindergarten Teaching Credential required by Act 187, passed by the Arkansas Legislature during the 2009 session. This degree will allow graduates to apply for the Birth through Pre-Kindergarten Teaching Credential from the Division of Early Care and Education in the Department of Human Services. It will allow graduates to be the lead teachers in a non-public school early childhood classroom or in a Head Start classroom as they continue to pursue a Bachelor’s degree from another institution of higher education. Students will also be qualified to serve as a paraprofessional in a public school pre-kindergarten classroom. It will NOT allow graduates to be lead teachers in a public school pre-kindergarten classroom. The Certificate of Proficiency allows students to meet the requirements to apply for the Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) issued by the CDA Council in Washington, DC. Students must earn a grade of “C” or better in all courses taken to satisfy the AAS degree in Early Childhood Development. All students are required to have current cleared maltreatment background check, a criminal background check, and a negative TB skin test.
Associate of Science in Education
This degree option includes all of the general education courses required for the Associate of Arts degree plus additional courses from education. This degree option is intended to accommodate students interested in transferring their coursework into a baccalaureate program in Teacher Education. Students who meet the graduation requirements of the ASE degree and who apply to one of these institutions may be granted admission to the Teacher Education program as juniors without loss of credits earned at SouthArk.
The degree plan consists of the General Education Core and up to nineteen credits in Education courses. Students should select the university they wish to attend to complete the baccalaureate degree and then enroll in the courses that are specified for that particular university. Students wishing to transfer need to meet with the SouthArk Education Program Director for additional information. Students taking the AS in Education degree program may also be eligible for a Certificate of General Studies by adding as an elective course CSCI 1003 Computer and Information Processing.
Dismissal from the Program
The faculty and director reserve the right to dismiss any student for just cause. Just cause may be defined as excessive absenteeism, inability to pass required courses (core or program specific), unsatisfactory progress in practicum performance, moral and ethical misbehavior, poor interpersonal skills, and insubordination. Insubordinate behaviors include but are not limited to the following: showing disrespect to the instructor and other students and refusing to comply with the instructor’s directions and policies as outlined in the course syllabus. Students making unsatisfactory progress in any of the areas mentioned above will be subject to a Three-Step Dismissal Process: the first offense results in an oral warning, the second offense a written warning, and the third offense in removal from the program. The offenses occurring in any ECE or EDUC course throughout the students’ time at SouthArk are cumulative.
Unsatisfactory progress is communicated through guidance and intervention forms, warning letters, and academic probation. Conferences can be scheduled as requested.
Admission and Acceptance
The growing field of early childhood education needs additional well-trained professionals to educate and care for children and to support their families in a multitude of settings. Early childhood education professionals may be employed in public and private centers, special needs centers, and Head Start and ABC programs. Under a director’s supervision, the childcare worker provides infants primary care giving while relating to families in a supportive manner. For toddlers and older children, the childcare worker plans and provides a developmentally appropriate curriculum to support independent and group learning. Activities are designed to foster children’s self-esteem, expand their social and problem-solving skills, and engage them in inquisitive thinking while offering security and comfort. The objective of this program is to provide a career ladder for students, beginning with the Certificate of Proficiency, a twelve-credit-hour course of study designed to provide core training in early childhood education and prepare individuals for the Child Development Associate Credential (CDA); progressing to a 27-credit-hour Technical Certificate in Early Childhood Education for students who wish a more in-depth program of study; and culminating in the Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education for students who need a thorough background in the field with the status of a two-year degree for credentialing purposes. Students must make a “C” or better in all ECE classes and maintain a 2.5 GPA in order to remain in the program.
Ark Birth to Pre-K Credential Cohort
ECTC courses have been developed to include core competencies for the Birth through Prekindergarten Teaching Credential as mandated by AR law 187 passed in March, 2009. The competencies were developed by a statewide early childhood cohort and approved by the Division of Early Care and Education of the Department of Human Services. This cohort consisted of Early Childhood representatives from other two-year and four-year colleges in the state. A NOCTI exam is required for this credential.