Early Childhood Education

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“What inspires me most is watching the students transform a learning activity into an exciting adventure for the children.”

-- Bonnie Noonan, Program Head

Program Overview

Becoming an early childhood educator takes an equal amount of heart, knowledge, and skill.  As a child care provider or preschool teacher, you have the responsibility for educating and nurturing young children from birth to age eight in a variety of early childhood settings.  At the College of Western Idaho you will have the opportunity to develop your teaching skills right on campus in our own college Preschool Laboratory.  Additional practical experience in community early childhood facilities expands career opportunities during college and after graduation.

The program curriculum covers a range of topics related to child development and teaching practice.  Not only will you learn how to teach young children but you will also learn to how to create safe and healthy learning environments, effectively partner with parents in their child’s care, and develop professional policies to guide center and classroom procedures.

What will you learn to do?

  • Understand the growth and developmental stages of young children
  • Develop and deliver age appropriate curriculum in literacy, math, science, social studies, art and music
  • Provide quality care and education for young children from birth to age eight
  • Set up and maintain a healthy, safe learning environment
  • Incorporate good nutrition into meals, snacks and food experiences
  • Guide and foster positive social and emotional development of children in groups
  • Partner with parents in their child’s education
  • Learn to include children with diverse backgrounds as well as special needs into classrooms
  • Supervise and administer all aspects of an early childhood program
  • Become a professional and advocate for young children and their families 

What kind of degree(s) can you earn?

What else should you know?

Students can start the program fall, spring or summer semester.  Classes are offered during the day and evening as well as online.  Students can take classes on a part-time or full-time schedule.  This program involves classroom instruction as well as practical experience in our Preschool Laboratory or in early childhood facilities throughout the Treasure Valley.  Students may use their own early childhood classroom to complete some practicums with children if the program meets certain requirements.

The Early Childhood Education, Associate of Applied Science degree transfers toward a Bachelor of Applied Science degree at Boise State University.


Prospective and new Early Childhood Education majors should contact Program Chair, Bonnie Noonan, bonnienoonan@cwidaho.cc or 208.562.3108, to schedule a meeting.  At the meeting students will learn about the program requirements (see list below), discuss career goals, transfer opportunities, and begin the advising process.  Practicum courses require instructor permission for registration and an initial meeting with the Program Chair.

Contact / Email

Additional requirements upon enrollment include:

  • Proof of Criminal History Background check with fingerprinting
  • Current Pediatric CPR and First Aid training certificate
  • Proof of negative Tuberculosis test
  • High school graduate or hold a GED

The Program Chair will provide information to assist students in meeting the requirements.

Instructor Info

Program Chair:
Bonnie Noonan

Jean Britton

Sherri Lauer

Career Info

What kind of career can you expect?

Graduates work in child care centers, preschools, and Head Start programs as both assistant and lead teachers.  Additionally, graduates begin their own business by starting family child care homes or child care centers and preschools.  Career opportunities outside of teaching include becoming family educators and advocates, child life assistants, public school assistant teachers, and developmental techs in developmental disabilities agencies.

Work environments are busy and high energy with an emphasis on interaction between children and adults. The personal fulfillment of helping young children and their families is a tremendous benefit to professionals in this field.

What skills and traits would be helpful in this field?

  • A desire to serve others
  • Enjoyment and appreciation of young children
  • Ability to work collaboratively with other adults
  • Patience, energy and enthusiasm
  • Creativity and flexibility
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Desire to learn and reflect on own personal growth

CDA Courses

The Early Childhood Education program provides the courses to meet the educational component of the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential of the Council for Professional Recognition.  The program provides courses on a regular basis to meet the requirements for the Preschool, Infant/Toddler, and Family Child Care CDA.  The program will upon special request provide the coursework for the Home Visitor CDA.

These courses meet the CDA 120 hours of the education:

  • ECED 100 Foundations of Early Childhood Education, 2 credits
  • ECED 105 Teaching Young Children I, 4 credits
  • ECED 183 Professional Development, 1 credit

Additionally, CDA students take ECED 199 CDA Seminar for supervision and support to complete the Professional Portfolio and Family Questionnaires.  Students who are awarded a CDA using college coursework for the educational component and decide to continue in the Early Childhood Education program may be eligible to challenge ECED 106 Teaching Young Children II.

If you are interested in learning more about the CDA coursework at CWI, contact Program Chair, Bonnie Noonan, bonnienoonan@cwidaho.cc or 208.562.3108.  Please do not contact the One Stop about the CDA because it is not a CWI degree but a national credential from the Council for Professional Recognition.

To learn more about the types of CDA credentials and steps to achieving the credential, visit www.cdacouncil.org.

Preschool Lab

The Early Childhood Education Preschool is located in the Nampa Campus Multipurpose Building in Nampa.  The mission of the Preschool Laboratory is to provide a model environment to train college students in Early Childhood Education, while providing a quality preschool experience for preschool-aged children.

2014-2015 Academic Year Preschool Sessions

Monday & Wednesday mornings 9:30 to 11:45 a.m., $225 per semester

Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday afternoons 12:45 to 3:00 p.m., $330 per semester

Children are enrolled for the academic year (two semesters) in the session.

Enrollment Priorities and Procedures

Children must be three by September 1, 2014 to attend Preschool. Priority in enrollment is given to currently enrolled children, children of CWI students, faculty, and staff. Children from the Nampa community are welcome as space allows.

Families who have submitted registration forms will be notified of enrollment decisions mid-April.

Registration Form

Registration Form

Registration Forms can be printed and mailed, or completed, saved, and emailed to:

College of Western Idaho
Bonnie Noonan, Program Chair
MS 1300
P.O. Box 3010
Nampa, ID 83653

For more information about the Preschool contact Bonnie Noonan at 208.562.3108 or email bonnienoonan@cwidaho.cc.

Preschool Brochure