Early Care and Education

Associate in Applied Science (AAS)
Certificate of Proficiency (CP)


The Early Care and Education program offers students a variety of degree options and pathways of study. Students will investigate leading theories of child development and methodologies for curriculum planning and assessment. Through class lectures, observation studies, field work with mentor teachers, service learning, and opportunities for discussion with award winning faculty, students will engage with the best practices designed for the study of early education.

The Early Care and Education profession offers opportunities for teaching and working in a wide range of programs and agencies that serve young children and their families. For students who are interested in early care and education, St. Louis Community College will prepare you to work with young children from infancy through age eight in a variety of settings such as preschool, day care, before and after school care, teacher assistant in an elementary school, or for management positions such as a program director.

Students who complete the highly recognized and desired AAS degree at St. Louis Community College will be able to find employment immediately upon graduation.

Early Care and Education

Early Care and Education


Job Resources

Gainful Employment Data – (CP)
Florissant Valley
Renee Mayse
Program Coordinator
Phone: 314-513-4574
E-mail: rmmayse@stlcc.edu

Amy Freshwater, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Program Coordinator
Phone: 314-984-7678
E-mail: afreshwater@stlcc.edu


Child and Family Development (AAS) 63 Credits

Career General Education
ENG 101 College Composition I 3
MTH 108 Elementary Applied Mathematics (or higher) 3
COM 101 Oral Communication I 3
XXX xxx Missouri State Requirement 3
XXX xxx Social Science Elective 3
PSI 101 Physical Science 3
Program Requirements
CFD 101 Foundations of Child and Family Development 3
CFD 102 Child Growth and Development 3
CFD 103 Physical Development: Health, Safety and Well-Being 3
CFD 104 Creative Development: Art Experiences in Early Childhood 3
CFD 105 Professional Development Seminar I 1
CFD 106 Cognitive Development: Language and Literacy in Early Childhood 3
CFD 203 Professional Development Seminar II 1
CFD 108 Principles of Curriculum Design: Infants, Toddlers and Two-Year-Olds 3
CFD 109 Supervised Student Teaching Practicum: Infants, Toddlers and Two Year Olds 3
CFD 107 Family/Community Support and Engagement 3
CFD 201 Social and Emotional Development: Guidance and Discipline 3
CFD 202 Cognitive Development: Math, Science, and Engineering for Young Children 3
CFD 204 Principles of Curriculum Design: Preschool 3
CFD 205 Supervised Student Teaching Practicum: Preschool 3
CFD 206 Children With Special Abilities and Needs 3
CFD 207 Supporting Cultural Awareness and Diversity 3
CFD 208 Professional Development Seminar III 1
Total Credit Hours 63

Early Care and Education (CP) 30 Credits

Program Total: 30 credits
I. Courses 24 credits
ECE:101 Introduction to Early Care and Education 3
ECE:104 Principles of Early Care and
ECE:105 Child Development Laboratory 3
ECE:200 Guiding Young Children 3
ECE:127 Family and Teacher Interactions 3
ECE:124 Child Nutrition, Health and Safety 3
ECE:125 Child Growth and Development I 3
ENG:101 College Composition 3
II. Electives  6 credits
Select two courses from the following:
ECE:102 Creative Experiences in Early Care
and Education
ECE:103 Language and Literacy in Early
Care and Education
ECE:107 Early Care and Special Education 3
ECE:108 Infant, Toddler, and Two-year
Old Children
ECE:201 Math and Science in Early Care
and Education
ECE:202 Movement and Music in Early
Care and Education
ECE:204 Management of Early Care and
Education Settings
ECE:208 Before and After School Care 3


National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. NAEYC is committed to becoming an increasingly high performing and inclusive organization. Founded in 1926, NAEYC is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children with nearly 100,000 members, a national network of over 300 local, state, and regional affiliates, and a growing global alliance of like-minded organizations.

The Council for Professional Recognition

The Council works to improve the professional status of early childhood workers and helps to meet the growing need for qualified child care staff.

Rivers Bend Association for the Education of Young Children (RBAEYC)

Rivers Bend AEYC is a premier professional organization that represents 27 counties along the eastern side of Missouri. We promote excellence in early childhood programs and systems through education, professional development and advocacy. Rivers Bend values best practices, diversity, leadership development, lifelong learning and community building.

Association for the Education of Young Children-Missouri (AEYC-MO)

AEYC-MO works to improve the well-being of all young children by focusing on quality educational and developmental services for children from birth through age 8. Their mission is to foster excellence in early childhood systems and programs through advocacy, education, and professional development. A state affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, they work closely with four regional chapters and small, local community groups.

Children’s Defense Fund

This is a national Advocacy group for American children, particularly poor and minority children and those with disabilities. Issues and programs include: Head Start, Healthy Start, Leave No Child Behind….

Project Construct

Project Construct is an approach to teaching in the preschool, primary, and elementary grades that is based on what is currently known about learning. The project, begun by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MDESE) in 1986, incorporates theory-based curricula that are linked to state and national curriculum frameworks and standards.

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

DESE is the administration arm of the State Board of Education. It is a service agency that works with educators, legislators, government agencies and citizens to maintain a strong public education system. From early childhood to adult education services.

Parents As Teachers

Parents As Teachers program provides parents with child development knowledge and parenting support. Their mission is to provide the information, support and encouragement parents need.

Child Day Care Association

CDCA provides leadership and innovation by promoting high quality child care. CDCA offers programs to support child nutrition, special needs (Missouri’s First Steps), and also serves as a resource and referral agency for child care.


1. What is the difference between an assistant teacher and a lead teacher?
A lead teacher usually has a degree in early care and education and is responsible for the overall planning and implementation of the curriculum for the program. The assistant teacher works directly with the lead teacher in executing curriculum plans, assists in supervising and teaching young children, and organizing the environment. Requirements for lead and assistant teachers vary from program to program.

2. What kind of jobs will be available after I complete my AAS degree?
Students completing the AAS degree will find immediate employment as a teacher in a child care setting or preschool. They can also find employment as an instructional aide in elementary school settings (60 college credit hours), or possibly as a parent educator in a Parents As Teachers Program.

3. What types of transfer agreements are available after I complete the AAS degree?
The AAS degree is not designed for transferring to a university program, however, many students decide to continue study at a university. Currently, we have transfer agreements with Child Development departments at Southeast Missouri State University and Central Methodist College. We do have separate agreements with many local universities in the St. Louis area. An academic advisor can discuss these possibilities.

4. Are there Web-based courses?
Yes, we currently have web-based courses that can lead to the completion of the certificate program in Early Care and Education (24 credit hours), and we are developing additional courses toward the completion of the AAS degree.

5. What is a CDA?
A CDA is a national credential that offers entry level coursework in early care and education. The college provides the coursework, but students have to apply to the Council for Professional Recognition to complete the process. The 3 courses students can take at St. Louis Community College are ECE 101 Intro to Early Care and Education, ECE 124 Child Nutrition, Health and Safety, and ECE 125 Child Growth and Development 1.

More information on CDA is available

The CDA credential is a nationally recognized certificate offered through the Council for Professional Recognition in Washington D.C. Credentials are offered in the areas of center-based preschool, Center-based infant/toddler, and Family Child Care. The CDA credential is an entry-level credential that can fit directly into the certificate or either Associate degrees in Early Care and Education. Meramec offers 3 college courses (ECE 101, 124, 125) that complete the formal education requirement of the credential.

Obtaining the CDA credential you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Hold a high school diploma
  • Have 480 hours of experience working with children within the past five years
  • Have 120 clock hours of formal child care education in specific areas within the past five years.

Students who are considering a CDA should contact the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition.

Meramec can also provide a field trainer who will provide assistance in developing the Professional Resource file, completing the application forms, and conducting a comprehensive observation at your work site.

Other requirements

  • *A professional Resource file is a collection of reference materials related to the candidates work.
  • *Parent Opinion Questionnaires are distributed by the candidate to the parents at the work site and returned in a sealed envelope.
  • *CDA Assessment Observation is a lengthy four-hour observation of the candidate at the work site.

*Verification visit is conducted by a Council representative. This visit also includes a written examination and an oral interview to evaluate the candidate’s skill and knowledge of good early care practices.

6. I already have a four-year-degree but work in a preschool that requires an early childhood credential. What are my options?
Your 4-year degree is very valuable. You have several options. You can work toward a Master’s degree in child development or early childhood. Or, you may choose to complete the CDA process. The certificate in ECE (eight classes) is another option. Seeking the council of an academic advisor or the program director would be a good idea.

7. Is there scholarship money available?
Yes, there is scholarship money. Students can apply for a T.E.A.C.H scholarship. A CDA scholarship may also be available. The financial aid office on campus can offer more suggestions.

8. I am interested in starting my own day care center, or day care home. How do I go about doing this?
The Department of Health located in St. Louis can provide you with specific guidelines for facility and staffing requirements. They can provide you with a detailed booklet. Having coursework in early care and education would be helpful, and necessary for persons serving as a program director. Courses in small business operations may also be helpful.

9. What is the difference between an AAS degree in Early Care and Education and an AAT degree in Teacher Education?
An AAS degree in Early Care and Education prepares students to work with children in preschool and day care facilities. An AAT degree in Teacher Education is a degree that allows a student to transfer into a university that offers a state certified teaching certificate to teach in elementary schools, junior high or high schools.

10. Is there a specific sequence of courses that I should take?
It is a very good idea to take ECE 101, 124, and 125 and other electives of choice in the first semester. Second-semester students can then be on track to take ECE 104 and 105 to complete their certificate studies, or to continue toward the AAS degree.

11. Can I do my Lab and Practicum studies at my work site?
Each campus has specific requirements for Lab and Practicum studies.  Contact the campus program coordinator.


The Early Care and Education program is offered at our Florissant Valley, Forest Park and Meramec campuses. Students may take general education classes toward this degree at any of our four campuses, our five education centers, and online.

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