Early Childhood Education


“I wouldn't have been prepared to take on this new role had I not taken courses at Extension.”
Danni Pascuma, Alumna, Early Childhood Education Certificate Program

Want to work with children?
There’s rarely a dull moment in the pre-K classroom. Whether you’re a teacher, an administrator, or a parent of a young learner, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest approaches to child development. Our Early Childhood Education certificate provides a strong foundation in child growth and development, literacy, and age-appropriate teaching strategies. Pick up skills course by course or declare candidacy for the certificate to add a UC credential to your resume.

Work Toward Your Child Development Permit
If your goal is to complete the Title V requirements for Child Development permits, our program fulfills the qualifications for teaching in private daycare centers.

No Experience Necessary
New to the classroom? Our courses provide a great launch pad for aspiring teachers who want to gain skills before spending time in the classroom.

The Profession
“I definitely recommend to anyone who wants to work with kids to start with ECE courses.”
Vidhya Natarajan, Alumna, Early Childhood Education Certificate Program

What’s More Important than Educating the Next Generation? There will always be a demand for qualified educators. Preschool teachers, aides, and teaching assistants play pivotal roles in helping infants and young children develop critical skills. Our Early Childhood Education certificate will prepare you to provide the best possible care to your young learners, from instilling positive guidance and discipline to introducing a love for math and art.

Market Relevance
“Investments in pre-kindergarten education have among the highest payoffs of any government policy.” The Wall Street Journal

Job Prospects
Employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow 7% from 2014 to 2024. Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics


Program Objectives

The Early Childhood Education program prepares educators to teach and supervise infants, toddlers, and young children. Our courses also correspond to requirements for the California Child Development permit. As a graduate of the certificate program, you’ll have the skills to:

•  Develop age-appropriate curriculum for the ECE classroom
•  Understand social, emotional, physical and cognitive development from prenatal stages through middle childhood
•  Promote oral language abilities through active use of books, poetry, dramatic play and group discussion
•  Decode healthcare policies and procedures in the child-care setting
•  Communicate with and develop effective relationships with parents

At UCSC Extension, courses are developed by program chairs and faculty according to the rigorous University of California standards and designed to meet the economic needs of each industry. Our instructors represent the best of both worlds.

Program Chairs
, B.A., Multi-Subject Teaching Credential, has more than 23 years of experience working with children from infants to preschool-age students, and in K-6 classrooms. Ms. Le has worked in public and private school settings, and examined a variety of learning programs such as Challenger, Montessori, High Scope, college-run preschools at De Anza, San Jose State University, and Stanford.  She has supervised K-6 afterschool programs, where she developed lesson plans and curriculum to meet the needs of diverse populations and students with special needs. Ms. Le has extensive experience mentoring emerging teachers in the SJSU and Stanford student-teacher programs, as well as beginning teachers completing their two year BTSA programs. Ms. Le’s expertise is in identifying the needs of her students, both children and adults, and helping them to reach their full potential.


Program Format

UCSC Extension’s Early Childhood Education courses are offered at UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Campus, a beautiful facility located on the corner of Scott and Bowers in Santa Clara. Many of our courses are also available as blended courses, which offer both online and in-person sessions, and others are 100% online. Choose courses according to your interest or declare candidacy in the certificate for a more comprehensive overview of the field.

Early Childhood Education Courses

Total: 35 units

Required: 9 courses, 32 units

Electives: 3 units

To complete the certificate, you must complete a minimum of 35 units; all 9 required courses and at least 3 units of elective credit.

Required Courses:

  • ECE 1: Development in Early Childhood, 4 units
  • ECE 2: Introduction to Teaching Young Children, 3 units
  • ECE 3: Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Programs, 4 units
  • ECE 4: The Young Child in the Family and Community, 4 units
  • ECE 5: Positive Guidance and Discipline for the Young Child, 3 units
  • ECE 6: Culture and Diversity in the Early Childhood Classroom, 3 units
  • ECE 7: Practicum in Early Childhood Education, 5 units
  • ECE 8: Child Health, Safety and Nutrition, 3 units
  • ECE 9: Language and Literacy for the Young Child, 3 units


  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the Classroom, 3 units
  • ECE: Brain Development in Early Childhood, 1 unit
  • ECE: CPR and First Aid
  • ECE: Creative Arts for the Young Child (Preschool Through Grade 3), 3units
  • ECE: Infant/Toddler Growth and Development, 2 units
  • ECE: Principles of Infant/Toddler Caregiving, 2 units
  • ECE: Managing Behaviors That Are Challenging, 2 units
  • Math Development in Young Children, 2 units
  • Science Play: Inquiry-Based Learning Made Easy, 1 unit


Want to learn more about our curriculum in person? Join us for a free Info Session to learn more about our courses, faculty, and program requirements. Learn more on our Events page.


The rough cost of the Early Childhood Education certificate is estimated at $5,200.



No application is required to enroll in our courses or certificate programs. Information about our open enrollment process can be found on our Enrollment page. If you have any questions about our programs, please contact the UCSC Extension Outreach office by phone at 408-861-3860, or by email at extensionprogram@ucsc.edu.

From the schedule below, click on a course title to see sections available for enrollment. You may view the full course schedule, or enroll in the course, by clicking the respective button. The course type offerings (classroom, online, blended) are guidelines and subject to change. A blended (hybrid) course has both classroom and online components.

Declaring Candidacy

If you intend to pursue a certificate, declaring candidacy establishes program requirements early in your studies, so any subsequent curriculum changes do not affect your progress. It does not limit what courses you can take; and it helps you structure your professional development program for maximum benefit to you. Go the declare candidacy page to establish your requirements for this program. Certificate program requirements must be completed within three years of declaring candidacy.

Course Schedule

1. Required Courses
2. Elective Courses
3. Required Certificate Review
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
Offering Code Offering Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
O-CE0411 Early Childhood Education Certificate Completion Review Online Online Online Online


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By the end of her one-day “Human Resource Management, Introduction” course, Priya Raman had decided that she wanted to be a corporate trainer. Though she had worked in HR in India before relocating to California, Raman wanted to gain a strong...

Department: Business and Management


When Nabeha Khan moved to the U.S. from Pakistan, she had already completed a master’s in business administration and was busy raising young children. Hungry for work opportunities in Silicon Valley, she discovered UCSC Extension’s Human Resource Management...

Department: Business and Management
dana torres


When Dana Torres started taking Environmental Health and Safety courses at UCSC Extension, she was surprised and excited to learn skills that she could take back to work the very next day.

“Whenever I took a class, something...

Department: EHS


When Mark Chang first noticed UCSC Extension’s brochure for Database and Data Analytics, he said it was “love at first sight.” He had recently completed his master’s in finance and was looking for a way to stand out in a competitive field. He...

Department: Engineering


Angela Alcantara-Cruz is an early childhood educator with a unique backstory. After graduating from UCSC with a degree in sociology, she earned a master’s in organizational development and led a successful 20-year career in business operations in the...

Department: Education


When Shelley Odell graduated from college, she realized that she had developed a strong scientific foundation, but like many recent grads, she wasn’t sure how to apply this knowledge to her job. Shortly after landing her first position, her...

Department: EHS


Meghna Patel worked as a human resources professional for a Canadian company for many years before deciding it was time for a shift in career. Though she had been trained as an engineer, after 10 years in recruitment she had not had the opportunity to...

Department: Engineering


When Poc Hsu enrolled in UCSC Extension’s Computer Programming certificate program, he didn’t realize that he would soon be applying his programming skills to benefit his fellow students. While he was planning his course schedule, he developed an application...

Department: Engineering
ravi kalluri



RAVI KALLURI, M.S.E.E. from Stanford, M.B.A., PMP® and Certified Scrum Master, has more than 15 years of experience leading complex software development projects. He has four years of experience teaching project management.

Department: Business and Management


Between her undergraduate, graduate degree and now her professional certificates, Sudha Shankar has pursued her education in three different continents. She graduated with a bachelor’s in electrical and electronics engineering at a premier institution in...

Department: Business and Management, Engineering


Matthew Laws had been working in environmental compliance at a company in Northern California for five years when he decided to enroll in the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) program in early 2011.

“I was looking in my murky crystal ball,...

Department: Biosciences


When Manya Jain moved from India to California with her husband, she had already worked as a financial data analyst with a few projects in process optimization for six years. Her daughter was only six months old, so she decided to research creative ways to...

Department: Business and Management, Engineering


Eduardo Lozada came to the United States from Bolivia with the goal of completing a business and technology certificate in less than a year. He had already completed a B.S. in business and had dreams of founding a start-up in his home country,...

Department: Business and Management


As a former sociologist who specialized in quantitative analysis, Oana Fechete knows a thing or two about interpreting and analyzing data. She earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology in Romania, where she worked in qualitative and...

Department: Business and Management, Engineering, International Program


Within a year of completing her certificate in Internet Programming and Development, Supriya Premkumar has already launched a series of successful mobile apps. When she first enrolled, she was completely new to programming, having studied mechanical...

Department: Technology


When Alejandro Jimenez completed his degree in engineering, he sensed that his education was just beginning. A native of Colombia, Jimenez wanted to find a graduate-level program that offered specialized training in embedded systems. Not only...

Department: Engineering