North Seattle Community College

Early Childhood Education



Every course we create and activity we assign is intended to better the lives of children.

As Jordan Kennedy wrote mid-quarter of his first quarter in the ECE program at North:
"I have not been upset or frustrated with children one time, since I began classes at North.
Talk about getting your money's worth..."


Since 1969 we have been refining our Early Childhood Education Program to challenge people to become authentic, skillful, effective teachers of very young children. Rather than offer just a few overview classes, we have cooperatively constructed an integrated series of learning experiences that are unrivaled by any program we know.

A Glance at Our Program

Our educational mission is to improve the quality of the early childhood learning environments in our community. We want more great places for children to grow into self-confident, socially adept young people. We do that through each and every course, improving the effectiveness of those adults to facilitate learning in young children.

We want competence, not just knowledge, and we want to build that competence by modeling the way we want teachers to teach young children. Classes here are exploratory, experiential, and student-centered, so the children our graduates teach have schools and care that is exploratory, experiential, and student-centered. In every class we teach we endeavor to create a democratic, cooperative learning community.

We attempt to carry on the traditions brought to us by the democratic education ideas of John Dewey and by the social mediation theories of Lev Vygotsky. Their descriptions about the social community of students and the leadership of teachers, more than any single early childhood model, best describe how our program teaches our students to teach young children.

We endeavor to combine the laughing excitement of playful learning (Bev Bos), with the openess and unconditional positive regard for everyone (Carl Rogers), in problem focused, real-world/adult-centered activities (Malcolm Knowles), using the power of collaborative, measurable, performance analysis (Robert Mager), aimed at life-long transformative change (Jack Mezirow), grounded in a broadly based conception of assessment through documentation (Judy Harris Helm) and pedagogical narration (Kei Tua o te Pae), and use the project approach (Sylvia Chard).

Reflection Informs Practice

Student responses to our classes can give you an indication how North's classes address performance, how one is actually changed and making visible changes in the lives of children. As Melissa Dillehay wrote, "I know that any Early Childhood class I take here is going to be deep and eye-opening, and I haven't been disappointed yet. Education is key, and I think that more people in this profession should be taking these classes!" What makes those kinds of powerful learning experiences possible has been the 35 years of faculty collaboration in performance-based teacher preparation.

If you want to really learn how to help others grow, this is the place. Don't overlook us because we are "only" a community college--that status means we are accessible, relatively inexpensive, and directly responsive to our clients. Significant advantages, we think.

You Will Make a Difference for Children

We promise a learning experience that transforms. Each person changes remarkably from each and every class. The investment people make in these courses results in fuller, richer, more effective lives for themselves and for the lives of the children they touch, on and on, into the future.

We have solicited comments about our program from students who have graduated from it and have been working as leaders in Early Childhood Education locally. We have had an increasing number of International Students coming to North Seattle because of the quality of our program. Click the "students "link or the pictures at the top of the page to see what they have to say.

The descriptions of the courses are on the main college web pages. As you can see there, we offer a wide variety of courses addressing the needs of children from birth to five years old. What you can find at North Seattle Community College is an emphasis upon practical teaching methods. Rather than teach about education as if education were itself something to study, most of our courses require the students to undertake experiences where they can discover the essential understandings, practice the methods that work effectively for children, and check to see that they actually are doing them well.

Associate of Applied Sciences Degree (AAS) in Early Childhood Education

We offer a 90 quarter-credit professional/technical degree in teaching young children. Attending full time, students can complete the program in two years, but since most of our students are working, they take less than a full course load. Eventually, at the end, students receive an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree in Early Childhood Education. This degree is the big one, the degree that carries with it the recognition that you are someone who can lead other staff in creating great schools for our youngest learners. Most employers in the Seattle area actively seek to hire ECE graduates from North Seattle Community College, because they know they can do it well.

We like offering an AAS degree professional/technical degree because our mission is to directly influence the quality of the education experience that young children have in our community. We want to help those who care for children get better and better each year. Many students enter our program having already earned BA degrees, some with Masters degrees. They have chosen to enroll in our courses, because they know from talking to people in the community that at North Seattle Community College one can really become the teacher they have dreamed of being.



Our Certificates

We offer two certificates in Early Childhood Education.

The Assistant Certificate is earned by completing the four, 2-credit, modules of CCE 160 Connecting to Children. These are challenges teachers complete while working with young children in schools, home, center or nanny care. Module D1 explores being positive. Module D2 explores being playful. Module D3 explores being informative. Module D4 explores helping children start new things, do them with others, and complete them. The Assistant Certificate proves you know how to interact effectively with children. (8 credits)

The Certificate in Early Childhood Education is earned by completing the curriculum courses that cover music, art, math, PE, reading and play activities, plus one elective course in addition to the CCE 160 D Modules. The Certificate in ECE proves you can present engaging learning activities for young children. (32 credits)


For more information about enrolling in classes at North Seattle Community College



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