BA Early Childhood Education Domains of Study

Areas of Study Within the
B.A. in Early Childhood Education Degree

The content of the WGU Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education derives from research on effective instruction as well as national and state standards. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable teachers to work sensitively and perform effectively in diverse early childhood environments including preK-3 classrooms, child care settings, etc. The program content and training processes are consistent with the accountability intent of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The degree program is focused on the preparation of highly qualified teachers. As described in the federal legislation, a highly qualified teacher is one who not only possesses full state certification, but also has solid content knowledge of the subject(s) he or she teaches. The hallmarks of our program include: (a) appropriate and rigorous subject-matter preparation, (b) scientifically-based pedagogical course preparation, and (c) clinical field experiences in which teacher candidates are supervised by trained coaches.

The following section includes the larger domains of knowledge, which are then followed by the subject-specific subdomains of knowledge.

Early Childhood Education Domain

The Early Childhood Education domain focuses on the developmental, social, cultural, and academic knowledge and skills that will qualify you as an early childhood professional competent to work in a variety of early childhood settings and classrooms. All competencies in this domain are derived from accepted research in the field of early childhood education. As you are engaged in the learning opportunities of early childhood education, you will also participate in preclinical experiences (PCE) that will give you experience with all ages of children from infancy through the early elementary years.

Early childhood assessments will include a variety of objective exams, scored assignments, projects, essays, case studies, research papers, in-class performance tasks/observations/ evaluations, and various portfolio projects all designed to help you develop and demonstrate competency as an early childhood professional.

Many of the texts listed in the following subdomains will be used in other areas as well as during field experiences. It is advised that students retain access to all learning resources until after graduation.

Professional Practice in Early Childhood Education
Content relates to family and community characteristics, relationships, advocacy, ethics, and practitioners’ reflection.

Development and Learning in Early Childhood
Focuses on theories of learning and development in early childhood including atypical development, prenatal/infant/toddler development, and learning environments.

Supporting Young Children through Observation and Assessment
Content focuses on developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, ethical, responsible, and effective observation and assessment practices in early childhood.

Contexts of Learning
Content includes competencies related to establishing and managing a classroom environment relationships, interactions, incidental teaching, social interaction, characteristics, needs, interests, environments, routines, play and challenging behavior within early childhood settings.

Teaching and Learning: Literacy
Content addresses the curriculum and methods needed to effectively create learning environments and teach young children in early childhood and early elementary settings in the areas of language and literacy.

Teaching and Learning: Early Childhood Math and Science
Content addresses the curriculum and methods needed to effectively teach young children in early childhood and early elementary settings in the areas of developmentally appropriate mathematics and science.

Teaching and Learning: ECE: The Arts, Movement, Health, and Social Science
Content addresses the curriculum and methods needed to effectively teach young children in early childhood and early elementary settings through the arts, movement, health, and social science.

Preclinical Experiences
Early field experiences in which the candidate will observe and participate in the instructional activities in various early childhood settings including infant/toddler environments; preschools, childcare, or kindergarten classes; and first, second, or third grade classrooms.

Foundations Domain

The Foundations domain focuses on basic subject matter knowledge that is typically required for baccalaureate level study.

Focuses on application of grammatical standards, reading skills, basic numeracy and calculation skills, basic algebra skills, basic geometry principles, and basic data and probability skills.

General Education Domain

The general education domain focuses on basic subject matter knowledge that is typically included in baccalaureate level programs. Evaluation of your previous college transcripts may clear assessment requirements for some areas of the liberal arts domain, which could shorten your program of study by removing assessments. To waive or clear a subdomain, the transcript must show that you have taken equivalent classes in the subdomain content areas and passed those classes with a C grade or higher at an accredited institution of higher education.

Language and Communication
Content focuses on collegiate reading skills, basic information retrieval skills, writing skills, and speaking and writing skills.

Health and Fitness
Content focuses on the importance and foundations of good health and physical fitness, particularly for children and adolescents.

Literature, Arts, and the Humanities
Content focuses on content, concepts, terminology, methodology, models, and issues within and across the disciplines of the humanities.

Content focuses on the procedures and criteria for analysis, methods of study, theories and interpretation of texts, and discourse in literature.

Quantitative Literacy
Content includes numeracy, algebraic concept, geometry, measurement, statistics and probability, mathematical reasoning, and mathematical problem solving.

U.S. Government and Constitution
Content includes major themes in world history and United States history; basic economic concepts; and the nature and development of American government.

General Education Social Sciences
Content includes social science theory and method; human development and behavior; modern economic, social, and political institutions; and geography and human cultures.

Collegiate Level Reasoning and Problem Solving
Content includes problem identification and clarification, planning and information gathering, identifying assumptions and values, analysis and interpretation of information and data, reaching well-founded conclusions, and identifying the role of critical thinking in the disciplines and professions.

Survey in U.S. and World History
Content includes major themes in world history and United States history; basic economic concepts; and the nature and development of American government.

Natural Science
Content focuses on scientific concepts and inquiry as well as key concepts across and within disciplines of natural science.

Effective Teaching Practices Domain

The Effective Teaching Practices domain deals with knowledge and skills related to how to teach. All competencies in this domain are derived from research. While you are engaged in the learning opportunities of Effective Teaching Practices, you will also participate in preclinical experiences (PCE) that now go beyond the FOT video cases to actual teaching experiences in real classroom situations. You will apply for, and be given approval, by the Field Experiences Office to do your preclinical experiences in a school. PCE takes place prior to your actual demonstration teaching (DT) (student teaching) and will require you to spend time in a school completing various required tasks. While you are completing your Effective Teaching Practices domain, you will be assigned a placement specialist who will work to place you in an appropriate classroom for your demonstration teaching as you approach that point.

As you continue your work in this domain, you must pay careful attention to the cohort requirements and deadlines pertaining to your specified demonstration teaching entry date. Your final acceptance into your desired DT cohort will be approved only when you have met all the requirements. Your mentor and the Field Experiences Office will help you through this process. An additional fee is required prior to beginning demonstration teaching (the fee, except for the DT application fee, can be covered through the use of financial aid proceeds). This fee covers the cost of in-classroom clinical supervision. You may not transfer credits or prior years of teaching experience from other institutions to meet requirements of the Effective Teaching Practices domain.

Instructional Strategies and Approaches
Content refers to curriculum design and evaluation; lesson planning and materials development; and adapting instruction, accommodating diverse learners, and using technology to facilitate learning. Additional content deals with empirically based methods of teaching, both general case (e.g., learning strategies) and content specific (e.g., reading methods).

Instructional Presentation and Follow-Up
Content relates explicitly to teaching skills and information to children.

Comprehensive Exam
The comprehensive exam will assess the student’s knowledge of the subdomains listed above. The student may participate in a comprehensive review session with a mentor and peers to prepare for the assessment.

Demonstration Teaching Domain

The Demonstration Teaching Domain deals with the competencies a prospective teacher must demonstrate when teaching. Before you begin Demonstration Teaching, you must complete a number of requirements. These include a background check, standardized content examinations, and a dispositions inventory. Also, you must have completed all the above academic requirements before beginning Demonstration Teaching.

Demonstration Teaching is a full-time, in-classroom supervised experience required of all teacher candidates. The Demonstration Teaching phase of a teacher candidate’s program includes a series of classroom performance observations designed to gather data about your actual performance skills. A WGU clinical supervisor (an experienced educator who lives and works near your teaching location) will observe you on multiple occasions—at least six observations are required—and evaluate you in accordance with published checklists and observation rubrics. In addition, where authorized, principals may provide one or more independent observations of WGU candidates. The clinical supervisors submit the results to WGU for review and recording. During your time in Demonstration Teaching, you will participate in a weekly cohort session via conference call. Your cohort is led by a facilitator and is comprised of a group of students teaching at about the same grade level. Your cohort facilitator will guide and support you through the Demonstration Teaching processes.