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Shape Bright Futures With an Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Are you ready to help young children start on a path to lifelong success? Gain the confidence you need to create and deliver meaningful early learning experiences with our BS in Early Childhood Studies – Tempo Competency-Based Learning™ program.

As the Educator of Educators®, Walden proudly offers an online program grounded in the most current best practices of the early childhood field. Learn how to foster resilience and social-emotional growth so that you can support every child in whatever setting and role you choose.

A bachelor’s in early childhood education is a non-licensure degree that prepares students to launch or advance their career in the early childhood field.

Gain a Holistic Perspective

Explore the role of play and creativity in childhood development as well as the impact of trauma and mental health challenges.

Experience Quality Curriculum

Coursework in our program is aligned with NAEYC standards and developed with input from subject matter experts.

Work With a Dedicated Coach

Partner with an engaged, experienced, and caring academic coach from the beginning of your learning experience through graduation.

Program Savings

Tempo Competency-Based Learning™: Receive up to a $3,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on May 3, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Tempo Competency-Based Learning™

Tempo Competency-Based LearningTempo Competency-Based Learning is an alternative way to earn your Walden degree. It’s different from our standard course-based learning because you can work at a pace that makes sense for you, and progress once you’ve shown you understand a subject. With Tempo Learning®, you have the flexibility of online learning, plus the ability to personalize and control the length, cost, and pacing of your program.


The BS in Early Childhood Studies online program is delivered through Tempo Competency-Based Learning™. This means that rather than progressing toward your degree course by course, you move through the program by completing competencies.

Competencies are skills, knowledge, and abilities that students use to demonstrate their progress. For each degree, a series of competencies that students need to be successful in their careers is identified. By completing all the competencies within a degree program, students demonstrate that they have acquired skills and knowledge specifically identified by leaders in their field and are able to apply them immediately in the workplace.

Mastery of competencies is proven through a variety of assessments.

The BS in Early Childhood Studies program competencies are grouped within areas of expertise.

Areas of Expertise and Competency

Course Code Title Credits

Health and Safety for Young Children [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

Keeping children safe and promoting their healthy development—physically and emotionally—is both a privilege and responsibility of every early childhood professional. In this course, educators' time is well spent learning principles of healthy nutrition; factors that support physical and mental health; developmentally appropriate strategies to promote physical activity; guidelines and procedures to ensure children's safety; and ways to promote wellness in children and families.

(5 cr.)

Becoming an Early Childhood Professional [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

Early childhood professionals are grounded in the historical and pedagogical foundation that built a field committed to fostering positive outcomes for young children and families. In this course educators explore the evolution of the field through theories and practitioners. They will also delve into the role, responsibilities, roles, ethics, resources, and current issues and trends that not only inform professional growth but also offer critical perspectives to inform their identities as early childhood professionals.

(5 cr.)

Early Childhood Development [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

A baby brightens when she hears a loving voice. A toddler takes a deep breath as he risks jumping into a pile of leaves. A preschooler writes her first word: me. How does development happen and what makes each child similar and unique? Content included in this course can increase educators'  knowledge of the milestones, unique qualities, and influencing factors that help determine who young children are and how caring adults can foster their healthy development and learning.

(5 cr.)

Children With Exceptionalities [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

How can educators support the healthy development of every child? What do educators need to know to better understand what it means to have an exceptionality (or disability) at a very early age? This course offers insights into the legal and procedural requirements for supporting young children and their families; underscores the importance of early intervention; and explains the characteristics of children and services integral to fostering healthy development and learning.

(5 cr.)

Child, Family, and Community Relationships [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

Early childhood professionals know that children are deeply connected to their families in dynamic relationships that influence development and learning. With this awareness is mind, it becomes essential to develop and maintain supportive and caring relationships with significant adults in children's lives. The competencies in this course involve educators in thinking about theories essential to understanding child, family, and community relationships and strategies for fostering caring, respectful relationships with families and communities that promote children's healthy development and learning.

(5 cr.)

Culturally Responsive Practice [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

How does culture influence actions, relationships, preferences, language, customs, and even values and beliefs? Why is it vital that early childhood professionals understand the ramifications of bias and stereotyping on children's identity development? As an early childhood professional, educators can use the information in these competencies to analyze how current policy issues impact diverse populations of children and families in early childhood settings; apply principles of culturally responsive curriculum to promote children's healthy development and learning; recommend culturally responsible practices to promote meaningful relationships with families; and apply strategies to promote access, equity, and positive social change for young children, families, and the early childhood field.

(5 cr.)

Social-Emotional Development and Positive Guidance [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

Early childhood professionals understand how deeply social-emotional development influences children during childhood and for the rest of their lives. In this course early childhood professionals delve into the unique characteristics of the social emotional developmental continuum, explore how to build responsive relationships that foster healthy social-emotional development, immerse themselves in positive guidance strategies to help children become independent and fair problem solvers as members of positive classroom communities, and study how to truly support young children as they practice, learn, and grow to be strong and healthy in their relationships with themselves and with others.

(5 cr.)

Effective Practices for Quality Programs Serving Young Children [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

If education professionals were asked to define quality as it pertains to practices and programs serving young children and families, what would they say? This course provides essential information about how the principles of developmentally appropriate practice, early childhood program standards, pedagogical and organizational models, and effective teaching and leadership practices inform quality programs and family partnerships.

(5 cr.)

Early Literacy [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

From the meaningful relationships that build when sharing stories to the empowering feeling of writing a first word, early literacy is an adventure and an accomplishment. It is essential that early childhood professionals understand developmentally appropriate ways to foster early literacy and literacy learning for children from birth through third  grade. In this course, educators also can become proficient at evaluating children's literature and analyzing issues and strategies related to the appropriate use of technology to promote literacy learning in young children.

(5 cr.)

Observation, Assessment, and Planning [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

Developing meaningful learning experiences requires understanding children's specific strengths and challenges. What kinds of assessment methods and strategies will help educators learn this vital information? What do educators need to know about communicating and collaborating with families and other stakeholders to promote meaningful assessment practices? Through the course content, educators can ground themselves in the wisdom and practicality of developmentally appropriate assessment for young children.

(5 cr.)

Play, Creativity, and the Arts [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

Play, creative expression, and the arts offer children opportunities to learn about who they are—to express and explore their individuality and to flourish together. The competencies in this course allow educators to explore the value and practice of fostering play, creativity, and the creative arts with children preschool through third grade. Educators also analyze the role child-centered learning and teaching play in fostering children's creative thinking and creative involvement in the arts.

(5 cr.)

Effective Practices for Infants and Toddlers [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

A caregiver gazes deeply and warmly into the eyes of an infant as she continues to intentionally foster their attachment. How do responsive, respectful relationships like these begin? How do they grow? And how do they support young children's growth and development? In this course, educators explore how early childhood professionals can foster healthy development and learning in infant and toddlers through relationships, play, routines, transitions, and supportive environments. Educators also take part in field experience, developing a meaningful experience for infants or toddlers and working with young children and their teacher to make this experience come alive with learning for all.

(5 cr.)

Meaningful Learning Experiences [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

How do early childhood teachers nurture children's curiosity, interests, and wonder, while providing them with opportunities to actively engage with ideas, content areas, and each other? In this course, educators get to know the context—children, families, community—of the classroom where they are completing their field experience. As well, educators ground themselves in the standards, strands, and themes that underpin key content areas that children are learning about all the time. And then, educators collaborate with their host teacher to design, implement, and evaluate a unit of study that effectively integrates content areas to provide opportunities for children to engage in meaningful learning experiences.

(10 cr.)

Learning and Teaching in Inclusive Early Childhood Settings [Tempo Learning®-Specific Course]

How can an early childhood professional help to ensure that every child thrives in the early childhood setting? In this course, educators delve into the foundation of high-quality early childhood inclusion programs. As well as studying practical strategies for working with children and partnering with families and other professionals, educators also apply evidence-based advocacy approaches to support high-quality inclusive programming in early care and education settings.

(5 cr.)

Tuition and Fees

Progress at Your Pace. Control Your Cost.

Walden’s Tempo Learning® programs follow a subscription-based pricing format. Students are billed a flat-rate for each 3-month subscription term. All pricing is represented in U.S. dollars and is subject to change.

Program Subscription Period Tuition Subscription Period Technology Fee Subscription Period Time Frame
BS in Early Childhood Studies $1,500 $75 3-month subscription period

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for this program. Our financial aid advisors can help you identify funding opportunities to help you pay for your education.


Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

Find Ways to Save

Program Savings

Tempo Competency-Based Learning™: Receive up to a $3,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on May 3, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

Admission is considered for adult students who hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applicants must also meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are 21 years of age or older.
  • You are less than 21 years of age with 12 quarter credit hours.
  • You are an active member of the military or a veteran with documentation of service.

More information for international applicants.

Advance Teaching and Learning for Young Children

In Walden’s online bachelor’s in early childhood education program, you’ll deepen your understanding of children’s development through engaging courses, case studies, and hands-on field experiences. Explore how partnerships with families, culturally responsive practice, and respect for each child’s worth can empower you to change lives. Our program’s curriculum is aligned with standards set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Meet Your Academic Team

  • Stacy Ness

    Stacy Ness

    Program Director

    As program director in the School of Education and Professional Licensure, Dr. Ness oversees the special education, elementary education, early childhood studies, and principal preparation programs. She has also been an academic coordinator, course instructor, and lead university supervisor at Walden.

  • Michele Lucia

    Core Faculty

    Dr. Lucia has a diverse professional background that includes time spent as a childcare center director, educational consultant, and Montessori teacher. She has taught students of all ages, both in person and online, and has published and presented on a number of topics related to early childhood education.

Learning Outcomes - BS in Early Childhood Studies

As a graduate of this online bachelor’s in early childhood education program, you will be able to:

  • Promote environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for all children (birth–8).
  • Apply knowledge of child development to support positive outcomes for all children.
  • Develop respectful and responsive partnerships with families and communities to support the healthy development and learning of young children.  
  • Differentiate practices to support a socially, culturally, and linguistically diverse population of young children and families, including those with exceptionalities.
  • Apply reflective, collaborative, and critical perspectives to professional practice that promote advocacy and social change. 

Career Outlook

Early learning experiences play a critical role in helping children succeed in school—and in life. Earning your online bachelor’s in early childhood education can help you make a profound and positive impact for your young students. Combine your passion and work experience with your new knowledge as you strive to create meaningful change in your learning program and organization.

A BS in Early Childhood Studies degree can prepare you to pursue career options such as:1

  • Lead preschool teacher
  • Early Head Start teacher
  • Childcare specialist
  • Day camp director

A BS in Early Childhood Studies degree can prepare you to work in settings such as:

  • Preschools
  • Schools
  • Childcare centers
  • Camps

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

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