Early Childhood Development



These program options prepare students for employment in a variety of early care and education settings. Courses meet Minnesota Department of Human Services educational requirements for assistant teachers and teachers in licensed childcare and preschool settings, before/after-school programs, as a family childcare program provider as well as paraprofessional/aides/assistant teacher requirements in Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) in school districts. Students learn about child growth and development, positive child guidance, working with diverse families and professionals, nutrition, health and safety, cultural sensitivity and anti-bias education practices, and strategies for developing curriculum that promotes learning in young children with differing needs. 

All ECD program options require the successful completion of a Minnesota Criminal Background Study.



Students completing this AS or AAS will be able to: 

  • Employ skills in the areas of child safety, health and nutrition; 
  • Explore the physical, social, emotional, language, cognitive, and creative development of young children from birth through age eight; 
  • Identify and implement guidance and management techniques to accommodate the developmental characteristics of young children, birth through age eight;  
  • Apply content knowledge to design and implement meaningful curriculum; 
  • Observe, document, and assess to support children and families;  
  • Demonstrate professional knowledge and leadership skills in order to access community, family and staff resources and systems that impact children’s, families’ and staff’s lives; 
  • Distinguish between a variety of early childhood curriculum models and apply this knowledge and skill to develop and implement early childhood curriculum and strategies that promote learning in diverse early care and education settings; and 
  • Successfully complete a field-experience in a variety of settings. 



Additional Information

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care professionals increase their education, compensation and commitment to the field. More information about the T.E.A.C.H. MINNESOTA Grant. 

State law requires background studies for certain people who provide direct contact services or have access to vulnerable adults and children. The background study determines whether a person has a disqualifying characteristic, which could prevent the person from being in certain jobs or positions. Learn more at MN Department of Human Services.

Child Care Aware of Minnesota is a network of organizations, funded by the Department of Human Services, from across the state dedicated to assisting families, early childhood professionals and the community with child care information, grants, services, and training. The mission of Child Care Aware of Minnesota is to promote high-quality, affordable, and accessible child care for all Minnesota families. 

Although many early childhood educators and providers have not completed college degrees, most have several years of relevant experience and many hours of non-credit-based training. This experiential learning often addresses components found in college courses.

The promising news is that sometimes this learning-through-experience can be counted towards college credit. Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is an opportunity to recognize the current skill and knowledge level of early childhood educators, improve child care quality, and meet expectations of Parent Aware. Pine Technical and Community College has opportunities for you to earn college credit. Your knowledge and skills might be gained through experiences such as working in the field of early childhood or family education, military training, early childhood industry training, internships and/or volunteering.

Learn more about Credit for Prior Learning by visiting the web page.

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