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Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

Mission and Goals

The mission of the Early Childhood Education program at Pellissippi State is to develop knowledgeable professionals who will have a positive impact on the lives of young children and their families.  Students of our program will be equipped with the tools to implement developmentally appropriate practices, build and maintain family and community relationships, use assessment strategies to support young children and their families while using effective teaching methods and growing as a professional.

The aims of the program are:

  1. Provide required coursework for the Child Development Associate and other state credentials. (CDA Course requirementsTennessee Early Childhood Program Administrator Credential)
  2. Provide required coursework for a technical certificate in Early Childhood Education. (Certificate requirements)
  3. Prepare individuals to be caregivers, assistant teachers, teachers, and administrators in a variety of settings including center-based child care, family child care, and after school care. (Associate of Applied Science Degree requirements)
  4. Prepare students for transfer to 4-year colleges and universities to earn a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, Child Development and Family Studies, or Teacher Licensure PreK-3rd grade. (Associate of Arts/Associate of Science Degree requirements;  PreK-3 Associate of Science in Teaching TN Transfer Pathway degree requirements)
  5. Provide professional development for early childhood professionals.

Funding for both tuition and textbooks may be available to students through TECTA (Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance) for qualified candidates who are currently working in the child care field.  For more information call the TECTA office at 865-481-2034.


The Early Childhood Education (A.A.S.) degree at Pellissippi State Community College is accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Early Childhood Higher Education Programs of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The current accreditation term runs from 2022-2029.

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CDA Course Requirements

The CDA is often a first step into the Applied Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education. The CDA is a national credential that incorporates educational requirements and work experience. Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) helps provide funding and support for students going through the CDA process. They have chosen the following four classes to meet the educational requirements:

ECED 1310  Introduction to Early Childhood Education
ECED 2310  Safe, Healthy Learning Environments
ECED 2315  Early Childhood Curriculum
ECED 2340  Family Dynamics and Community Involvement

For more information about the CDA credential, see the Council for Professional Recognition.

Funding for tuition and textbooks may be available to students through TECTA.

Field Work

Field work experience is a required component in all Early Childhood Education courses. Field work activities and the time involved to complete each of these activities vary by course and assignment. The percentage of the grade comprised by these activities also vary by course. In practicum courses, the whole course and grade is designed around the field work experience. 

All students enrolled in an ECEd course, regardless of degree major, must meet the requirements for field work as outlined in the Field Work Handbook. This also includes successfully passing a background check.

Contact Us

Dr. Hope Denny
ECED Program Coordinator

Cindy Sauer
Teacher Education Advisor

Natural and Behavioral Sciences