Early Childhood Development - Program Overviews

Special Application Requirements

While there are no special application requirements for students beyond those required by the college for admissions, students must pass a Criminal Offense Records Investigation before being placed in community settings or practicum sites. Those students with concerns about the CORI requirements should see the college CORI officer for further information.

Competencies for the Early Childhood Program

Once completing the Associate of Science Program in Early Childhood Development at Bunker Hill Community College, the graduate will show competency in the following areas:

  1. Child development and learning. The student will use knowledge of child development and relationships with children and families to understand children as individuals and plan for their unique development by organizing environments which facilitate each child’s physical, intellectual, linguistic, cognitive, creative, social, and emotional growth and learning.
  2. Curriculum development and implementation. Based on an understanding of how children learn, the student will design and implement developmentally appropriate learning experiences using a variety of methods and materials to promote each child’s development, social cooperation, and meaningful learning.
  3. Family and community partnerships. The student will work with parents, families, and community leaders to support growth and development of children by engaging each child in meaningful learning experiences in early care and education programs, at home with families, and within the community.
  4. Assessment and evaluation of children. The student will observe children in their care, and by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of various assessment methods, be able to analyze and synthesize information about children so as to improve their own work with children, parents, families, and communities.
  5. Professionalism and experiences with "best practices".  The student will analyze, evaluate, and strengthen his/her work with children by reflecting upon effective practices, collaborating with other professionals in the field, including a faculty member who serves as a supervisor for this experience, and actually experiencing and practicing the work of a teacher with young children.

View the Student Outcome Assessment Plan for Early Childhood Development Program

Special Certifications

The Department’s curriculum follows the standards set down by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for two-year college programs granting degrees in Early Childhood Education. The Departments syllabi, coursework, and student outcomes assessment program have been developed in concert with NAEYC recommendations and standards. Additionally, the Department has met and exceeded the requirements set down by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC) for certification as a Teacher, Lead Teacher, and Director I or Director II in Early Childhood Programs. For further information regarding these requirements, contact the Department Chair and Coordinator of Early Childhood Development Program.

Program Success

Program success is judged throughout the program by looking at student’s work and learning in a number of ways. Students are expected to learn in four different learning modes. These include:

Levels of Learning within the Coursework Taught

The course competencies involve four differing levels of learning and involvement on the part of the student. These levels are outlined below.

Level I: Introductory and Knowledge-Base Formation
The student at this level of coursework will begin to develop a knowledge-base of information around the subject area and consider his/her prior learning about children and early care and education as a means of beginning to construct a personal and professional knowledge-base for professional practice. Specific knowledge-based content areas will be delineated for each course to assure the same level of learning for all students.

Level II: Observation
The student will take the knowledge gained at Level I and apply this knowledge at a deeper level by observing children and/or early care and education programs so as to understand the “real” world meaning of theories and concepts when applied to child growth, development and behavior in working programs. This level implies that Level I has begun prior to observation occurring and analysis of observed information being attempted. Specific observations will be required in each course to assure this level of learning.

Level III: Demonstrated Application of Knowledge Gained
The student will apply the knowledge-base gained and the observations completed and be able to apply this knowledge to demonstrate that the theories, concepts, and skill development expected in the course are in fact understood and able to be applied to practice. Specific assignments will be developed for each course to assure this level of learning.

Level IV: Practice and Demonstration of Competency
The student will be required to apply the knowledge gained, the understanding from observations, and learning from applied assignments to the practicum experience which will culminate in a portfolio assessment of “best practice” using the incorporation of the program’s competencies into the practice experience. All four levels are implied in this demonstration of competency and specific learning experiences will be built into the practicum experience to assure this level of learning.

Practicum Sites/Information

Students are engaged in learning in a practicum site during their final two semesters of their A.S. degree program. During these semesters, students build a portfolio of assignments to prove competency in the program. There are two ways that these placements occur.

  1. Students may be assigned a placement site in the community in which they work 150 hours per semester (300 total), usually unpaid, in an early childhood classroom in a licensed child care program. The Department maintains relationships with many child care programs in the community and will help the student find an appropriate and suitable placement to do this work. 
  2. If a student is already working in a placement site that may be acceptable to the department, he/she may use this employment site as the placement site. The same portfolio requirements are required of all students, regardless of status of site. 

View the Student Guide to the Early Childhood Practicum Experience

Rubrics of Outcomes Measurement

(see additional file for this measure of student competency)

Life Learning Credits Through Prior Learning Assessment Program

Students may be eligible for credit through the Prior Learning Assessment Program if they have completed work in the following areas:

  • Family Development Credentialing Program (applicable to Early Childhood and Human Services Programs)
  • Child Development Associate Credentialing (applicable to Early Childhood Program)
  • BEST Youth Development Training Program (applicable to Human Services Program and Early Childhood Programs)
  • Community Outreach Education Credential (applicable to Human Services Program)
  • National Association for Family Child Care Accreditation (applicable to Early Childhood and Human Services Program)
  • Early Childhood Development Institute (applicable to Early Childhood Program)
  • Human Services Employment Ladder Program (HELP)-Morgan Memorial Goodwill Agency (applicable to Human Services Program


Additional national or community training programs may count toward prior learning credit. However, work experience alone will not count toward prior learning credit through the Department. For further information, contact the Department Chair or the Director of the PLAP program at 617-228-2350.

Specialty Options

Specialty courses are offered for those who are working with infants and toddlers and seek certification as an ECE Teacher or Lead Teacher in Infant Toddler Classrooms.  ECE 108-Infant Toddler Development and Curriculum meets the DEEC requirements for these specialty needs.  See syllabus information for more detail about this course. 

Specialty courses are offered for those who are working as directors and supervisors in early childhood program and seek certification for Director I or Director II positions. ECE 113-Child Care Administration and ECE 115—Supervision in ECE meet the DEEC requirements for these specialty needs. See syllabi information for more detail about these courses. 


Students may transfer credits into the program according to the college’s requirements for transfer.  These courses may be from either two or four year colleges.  See the Admissions office for specific information about transfer.


The program meets the requirements for Teacher, Lead Teacher, and Director Certification by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. 

The department is working on requirements which will allow formal accreditation for the program through the college program accreditation program sponsored by NAEYC in the future. 

Job Outlooks

Early Childhood Development Associate in Science Degree Program
Career Outlook: Graduates of this program qualify for employment in a variety of settings, including day care centers, preschools, head start programs, family home care, social service organizations, and day camps. Students also may transfer to four-year colleges or universities in elementary education, human services work with families and children, or special needs childcare. Graduates of this program qualify as teachers and/or lead teachers in the state of Massachusetts. For more information on minimal requirements for employment, contact the department chairperson.

Early Childhood Development Certificate Program
Career Outlook: Graduates of this program qualify as teacher’s aides in the State of Massachusetts. For more information on minimal requirements for employment, contact the department chairperson.